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Workplace Relations Commission publishes 2017 Annual Report

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) today published its second full year annual report.

Speaking at the publication, Mr. Pat Breen T.D., Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market, and Data Protection welcomed the progress made in terms of service delivery over the period. “I am very heartened to note that in terms of the Adjudication Service the number of hearings has increased by a quarter on 2016 and that, in cases where submissions are received in a timely manner and no postponements sought, then, in most instances, complainants can expect to have their case dealt with in less than 6 months. This is a tremendous achievement and represents real progress from what existed prior to the setting up of the WRC where waits of two years were not uncommon”.

Minister Breen also highlighted the fact that just under €2m in unpaid wages were recovered for employees over the year. “The economy is doing well and we are heading towards full employment and that is to be welcomed. But we must ensure that those in work are paid what they are due and the WRC has a key role in this regard”.

Wrapping up, the Minister praised the WRC for the work it has done in assisting industrial relations stability across the economy in a time of recovery. “In any time of change, whether it is positive or negative, people will always try to maximise their bargaining strength. The WRC has helped to make sure that those conversations are held amicably and without resort to action, and where it does occur, to get the parties back in the room and talking again”.

Ms. Oonagh Buckley, Director General of the WRC, thanked the Minister and the Department for the support received over the period. “The WRC has experienced tough challenges over the past couple of years as we have introduced new ways of working– both externally with our stakeholders and internally with our staff - at a time when the growth in employment has driven an increase in demand for our services. The support of the Minister and Department has been critical in the success achieved to date”.

Ms. Buckley added “late last year we commissioned an extensive survey of the users of all our services and the feedback received shows that we are very much on the right track and that satisfaction and confidence rates for our services are very high. However, they also showed areas where we need to work harder and that is our focus for this year”.



Workplace Relations Commission

The Workplace Relations Commission was established on 1 October 2015.

The main functions of the WRC are to:

  • Promote the improvement of workplace relations, and the maintenance of good workplace relations,
  • Promote and encourage compliance with relevant employment legislation,
  • Provide guidance in relation to compliance with Codes of Practice,
  • Conduct reviews of, and monitor developments, in workplace relations generally,
  • Conduct or commission relevant research and provide advice, information and the findings of research to Joint Labour Committees and Joint Industrial Councils,
  • Advise the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in relation to the application of, and compliance with, relevant legislation, and to
  • Provide information to the public in relation to employment legislation (other than the Employment Equality Act).

 With a wide workforce of almost 200 staff with different specialisms and with offices in Dublin, Carlow, Shannon, Cork and Sligo, and operational bases for hearing meetings in many other counties, the WRC mission is to

  • deliver a quality customer service throughout Ireland, which is
  • speedy, user-friendly, independent, effective, impartial and cost-effective,
  • provides variable means of dispute resolution, redress and effective enforcement, and
  • improves workplace relations generally,

all of which are delivered fee free.  

Key Performance Metrics for 2017

WRC Activity 2017

14,001 Specific Complaints Received

7,300 Adjudication Complaint Files Received (Up 6%)

4,370 Adjudication Hearings (Up 24%) and 2,247 Adjudication Decisions Issued (Up 82%)

92% Of Adjudication Complaints Processed in less than 6 months[1]

Type of Complaint Of the specific complaints received:

  • 27% related to Pay issues,
  • 14% related to Unfair Dismissal,
  • 13% related to Working Time,
  • 11% related to Discrimination/Equality,
  • 11% related to Trade Disputes/IR issues,
  • 8% related to Terms and Conditions of Employment

4,750 Inspections Concluded

Employees Covered by Inspections 99,000 (Up 24,000)

Unpaid Wages Recovered €1.8m (Up 8%)

1.65m Web Views (Up 8%)

Legacy Adjudication Complaints Reduced to 295 “On Hands”

2,234 Conciliation and Dispute Facilitations Meetings Held

84% of Collective Disputes Resolved

Face to Face Mediations doubled on 2016

52,001 queries to Infoline dealt with

[1] Where submissions received in timely manner and no requests for postponements received and granted

WRC Activity Time Series: 1 October 2015 – 31 December 2017