The Labour Court has published its Annual Report for 2015Posted in : ROI on 31 August 2016
In his foreword, Chairman Kevin Duffy said, "The most important event affecting the court during the year under review was undoubtedly the passing into law of the Workplace Relations Act 2015, which was commenced by Ministerial Order on 1st October 2015.
This Act will result in profound change in the Court’s caseload and in the profile of cases with which it deals. That will arise from the designation of the Court as the sole appellate tribunal in all equality and employment rights cases dealt with at first instance by Adjudication Officers of the Workplace Relations Commission."
Undoubtedly, future annual reports will move further away from the Court's mission statement, “To find a basis for real and substantial agreement through the provision of fast, fair, informal and inexpensive arrangements for the adjudication and resolution of industrial disputes”, to include appeals on more individual employment-related disputes, although that will be balanced by the enactment of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 which also commenced in October 2015. Either way, the workload of the Labour Court is certain to increase in number and expand in scope as the years progress.
Some key points:
- The average timescale for hearings in Dublin is 13 weeks from the date of referral. Outside Dublin it is currently 16 weeks from date of referral.
- The Court operates to a target of issuing recommendations in Industrial Relations cases within three weeks of the hearing and within 6 weeks in employment rights cases.
- Having regard to the expanded jurisdiction conferred on the Court by the Workplace Relations Act 2015 the number of cases that it is likely to receive in 2016 will, at least, double the number received in 2015.
- It is estimated that in 2016 and beyond up to 75% of cases will involve appeals from the decision of an Adjudication Officer under various other employment rights enactments, with 25% of cases involving the investigation of trade disputes.
- The industrial relations environment in Ireland remained relatively stable in 2015. There were six disputes involving work stoppages during the year involving nine firms and 37,760 workers.
In 2015, the Labour Court:
- Received 810 referrals
- Held 613 hearings
- Issued 518 Recommendations / Determinations / Decisions / Orders
- Investigated 110 cases that were settled prior to or at a hearing
- Registered 1 Collective Agreement under the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997
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