Labour Relations Commission (LRC)
The Industrial Relations Act 1990 provided for the establishment of the Labour Relations Commission in 1991. Its purpose is to promote the development and improvement of Irish Industrial relations Policies, Procedures and Practices through the provision of appropriate services to Employers, Trade Unions and Employees. It would also try to resolve disputes before going to the Labour Court in order to re-establish the Labour Court as a court of last resort.
Specifically these services are:
- An Industrial Relations Conciliation Service. This service is used to resolve disputes between parties using an external professional mediator. The conciliation service is free and all Employers and Employees can use it. More than 80% of all cases referred are resolved at this level. Where no settlement is reached, the parties can, and usually do refer the dispute to the Labour Court.
- A Rights Commissioner Service: The Rights Commissioner Service is an independent service of the LRC. These commissioners investigate disputes, grievances and claims made mostly by individuals or small groups of workers. They are appointed by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Rights commissioner hearings are formal whereby each side fully presents its case with all relevant information and may provide written submissions. The commissioner issues his/her findings as either decisions or non-binding recommendations depending on the legislation involved. A party may appeal against a Rights Commissioner decision either to the Labour Court or Employment Appeals Tribunal, depending on the relevant legislation.
- Advisory Service: the purpose of this service is to help Employers, Employees and Trade Unions build and maintain positive working relationships. It is made up of people who are independent, impartial and experienced in Industrial Relations Practice and Theory. It works in non-dispute situations. It audits existing practices and procedures and produces a confidential report with findings and recommendations to help improve the operations of the organisation. The service may also help with some implementation where necessary.