Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bruton Delivers on Employment Rights and Industrial Relations Reform


Mr. Richard Bruton, T.D. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation announced today [Friday] that as part of his overall plans to reform and consolidate the five existing employment rights institutions into two simplified and streamlined bodies, significant progress has been achieved to date. New initiatives, which have been delivered on time, include the introduction of a single complaint form, a single point of contact and a new website.
An interim Website (www.workplacerelations.ie) will provide information on employment, equality and industrial relations legislation and associated public services.
  • A Single Complaint Form for all first instance individual complaints and referals to the Rights Commissioner Service, the Employment Appeals Tribunal, National Employment Rights Authority, the Equality Tribunal and the Labour Court. This new form will replace 30 existing complaint forms that currently accommodate over 80 specific complaint types.
  • A Single Point of Contact, to be called the Workplace Relations Customer Services of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, will have the responsibility for:
    • information provision in relation to employment, equality and
      industrial relations rights and obligations
    • the receipt and registration of all first instance complaints currently referred to the five workplace relations bodies
    • dealing with enquiries concerning the status of complaints and associated procedures and processes
Minister Bruton said: “This is an important step in the delivery of a world-class workplace relations service that is simpler, faster and cheaper.
“My plan will streamline the existing structures, procedures and mechanisms. My overall objective is to encourage early resolution of disputes, the vindication of employee rights and minimisation of the costs for employees, employers and Government, in terms of money, time and workplace productivity.
“A range of further structural and procedural reforms are planned for 2012. These will include the establishment of a Workplace Relations Early Resolution Service, the objective of which will be to seek resolution of complaints as an alternative to a formal adjudication hearing or an inspection. Work is currently underway on the design and implementation of a Pilot Early Resolution Service to commence in the first quarter of 2012.
“I am more determined than ever to proceed to a two tier structure i.e. a single Workplace Relations Commission of first instance and a separate appeals body. This will mean effecting changes to bring about the ultimate merger of the existing five institutions into two. In parallel with the ambitious administrative reforms which are being delivered, my Department is developing the legislative proposals necessary to establish the new structure on a statutory footing.
“I would also like to recognise the leadership and commitment of the current heads of the institutions (and their Boards, where such exist) to effect meaningful change in this area” Minister Bruton concluded.

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