16 December, 2021
The Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, today launched the third Strategy Statement of the Workplace Relations Commission ‘Meeting Stakeholder Expectations in a Changing World of Work’.
Over the Strategy Statement period 2019-2022, while its fundamental purpose and the services it provided remain unchanged, the WRC has dealt with broad operational and structural challenges and has been required to respond agilely to what has proved a sometimes challenging economic, social and statutory environment.
Through the Strategy Statement 2022-2024 ‘Meeting Stakeholder Expectations in a Changing World of Work’ the WRC will maintain and build on its strong foundations but will continue to innovate, refine and reshape its services, identify and shape good practice.
Minister for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD said:
“The WRC plays a vital role in Irish society and the economy in general and this role has been particularly important over the course of the pandemic. How and where people work has changed over the past 20 months and working from home has become the norm for many.
Remote, blended and flexible working arrangements will form a much bigger part of life in the years ahead alongside our more traditional and established working practices. In any instance, the expectation of stakeholders and users is that the WRC can be depended upon to meet their needs for timely, consistent, robust and independent services. This Strategy lays out the targets and objectives which the WRC will deliver on over the period to 2024 to meet these needs.”
Among the targets and objectives set by the strategy, covering the years 2022-2024, are:
- WRC will provide an appropriate mix of remote and on-premises working in line with broader Government policy that supports the optimal delivery of services.
- Devise and implement an ICT Strategy that is informed by the changing demand and technological support environment including the development of self-service and automation.
- Communicate to the development of knowledge and debate on the changing nature of the world of work.
- Work with stakeholders and parties to develop and implement best practice generally.
Speaking on the Strategy, Dr David Begg, Chairperson of the Board of the WRC said:
"In an era of radical uncertainty, it is appropriate that the Statement of Strategy has a focus on resilience and continuity, continuous improvement and assisting adaptability in order to meet our own objective of providing a world class service to our stakeholders."
Mr Liam Kelly, WRC Director General, commented:
“The pandemic not only has had a profound effect on people’s lives but the short to medium-term impact on the world of work is apparent and has already prompted policy and business responses. The WRC adjudication, mediation and conciliation work is predominantly provided remotely. The WRC is currently scheduling significantly more Adjudication hearings, mainly remotely, than before the pandemic — currently about 30% to 40% more hearings are being scheduled than pre-pandemic.
The Strategy identifies the ability to deliver services efficiently and effectively very much depends on the WRC utilising to the full the opportunities provided by technological advances but, at the same time, the WRC will focus on the outcomes for parties and their service expectations are of primary concern.”
For further information contact: Press Office, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Tel: +353 1 631 2200 or Press.Office@enterprise.gov.ie
Note for Editors:
The Strategy Statement is available at the following link: https://www.workplacerelations.ie/wrc/en/news-media/workplace_relations_notices/minister-launches-workplace-relations-commission-strategy-statement-2022-2024.html
Workplace Relations Commission (WRC):
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was established in October 2015 under the Workplace Relations Act 2015. It is the body to which all industrial relations disputes and all disputes and complaints about employment laws are referred.
The main functions of the WRC are to:
- Promote and maintain good workplace relations
- Promote and encourage compliance with the relevant laws
- Provide guidance around compliance with Codes of Practice
- Conduct reviews and monitor developments around workplace relations
- Conduct or commission relevant research and report the findings to Joint Labour Committees and Joint Industrial Councils
- Advise the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment in relation to the application of, and compliance with, relevant legislation
- Provide information to the public in relation to employment laws other than the Employment Equality Act (information about this Act is provided by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission).
Within this framework, the WRC’s core services include the provision of pre-adjudication mediation, mediation, conciliation, facilitation and advisory services, adjudication on complaints and disputes, the monitoring of employment conditions to ensure compliance with, and where necessary enforcement of, employment rights legislation and the provision of information.
The WRC may also advise on any matter relating to workplace relations to employers, their representative bodies and to employees, trade unions or other representative bodies of employees.