Workplace Relations Commission recovers €1.8m in unpaid wages

The Workplace Relations Commission recovered €1.8m in unpaid wages for workers last year — an 8% increase on a year earlier.

The WRC’s annual report for 2017, published yesterday, shows that, overall, the adjudication body received 14,000 complaints.

The biggest cause of complaint was pay (27%), followed by unfair dismissal (14%), working time (13%), discrimination/equality (11%), and trade/industrial relations disputes (11%).

Of the total, 7,300 were adjudication complaints, a 6% increase on 2016. That led to 4,370 adjudication hearings (up 24%) and 2,247 adjudication decisions (up 82%).

The WRC said 92% of adjudication complaints were processed within six months where submissions were received in a timely manner, and there were no requests for postponements. It added that it held 2,234 conciliation and “dispute facilitation” meetings, with twice as many held face-to-face as in 2016.

The adjudication body carried out 4,750 inspections of companies employing 99,000 workers, and resulting in 125 prosecutions.

It was as a result of those inspections that the €1.8m was recovered. That is the highest amount recovered since the WRC was formed, in 2015, and brings the total recovered to €3.8m.

Pat Breen, Minister for Trade, Employment, and Business, welcomed the progress made, in terms of service delivery: “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 six 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.

He also welcomed the €1.8m that was recovered: “The economy is doing well and we are heading towards full employment and that is to be welcomed,” he said.

“But we must ensure that those in work are paid what they are due and the WRC has a key role in this regard.”

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