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Ireland – Employment and labour reforms announced

07 October 2013

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, last week announced the publication of the Report of the Labour Court’s ‘Review of the Joint Labour Committee (JLC) system’. The Report recommends that the overall number of JLCs be reduced and that the scope of others be amended to take into account the changing circumstances of the sectors within which those JLCs operate.

Minister Bruton advised that he accepted the recommendations contained in the Report and set out the legal steps necessary for their implementation.  

He said: “At the conclusion of this process there will be eight JLCs, and this will drop to seven when the necessary legislation is passed – leaving slightly over half the number that operated at the beginning of the reform process, which I pursued on coming to Office. This latest development sits squarely within the context of the change required to improve Ireland's competitiveness by enhancing wage flexibility while also ensuring protection for vulnerable workers”.

“This report is detailed, comprehensive and complex and required careful examination. It represents the most comprehensive review of the Committees themselves since they were first established over 60 years ago. I would like to thank the Court for its work in this regard,” Minister Bruton concluded. 

The Minister also announced last week a number of further initiatives as part of the continued implementation of his overall plans to reform the workplace relations institutions and structures,

  • A new Website, which replaces the interim website and the websites of the five Workplace Relations Bodies, will provide a single source of information on employment, equality and industrial relations legislation and associated public services.
  • The Single Complaint E-Form will now be valid for 130 complaint types. This form is being made available as an e-form, thus allowing electronic submission and receipt.
  • The Determinations Database will provide a single, website-hosted and fully-searchable resource for users, practitioners and stakeholders for over 30,000 determinations/decisions issued to date by the Labour Court, Equality Tribunal and EAT and will replace three separate databases currently in use.
  • The Evaluation of the Pilot Early Resolution Service (ERS) for workplace relations complaints, which service commenced operations in May 2012, has been completed. The evaluation concludes that the ERS has demonstrated the potential for a speedy and cost effective alternative to formal adjudication insofar as complaints resolution is concerned.

Minister Bruton said: “Reform of the State’s employment rights and industrial relations bodies has two principal goals: to deliver a better service for employers and employees, and to deliver savings for the taxpayer, businesses and workers. To date, we have made substantial progress and have delivered real improvements for users of the service.”

“The initiatives we are announcing today complement and underpin the reforms which have already been implemented or are underway to deliver a world-class workplace relations service that is simpler, faster and cheaper. I am particularly pleased that the momentum is continuing, in advance of the enabling legislation, on the rationalisation of services and the introduction of new technology,” he concluded.  

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