€50 fee for dismissal appeal 'an injustice'
WORKERS who believe they have been unfairly sacked will have to pay a €50 fee for a hearing at a new employment rights body under government plans.
Members of the Employment Appeals Tribunal yesterday described the plans to introduce a charge for workers who fight for their rights at State mediation bodies as "unjust".
They said it was particularly unfair if a worker had been dismissed or made redundant "when they most likely will be in straitened circumstances".
The group, chaired by retired SIPTU official Noel Dowling, was also critical of other aspects of the government plans to revamp the state's industrial-relations machinery.
It said unfair dismissal cases should continue to be held in public, and not in private as proposed. They said this was because public hearings were an incentive to the parties to settle their cases before hearings to avoid "washing dirty linen in public".
From the end of this year, two super-dispute bodies will replace the current five bodies.
A Workplace Relations Commission will replace services offered by the Employment Appeals Tribunal, the Equality Tribunal, National Employment Rights Authority and Labour Relations Commission.
The Labour Court will hear all employment appeals, including those currently heard by the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
A document outlining the plans drawn up by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, said the introduction of a fee for making a complaint is being considered.
It said this was because providing workplace relations services has "considerable cost implications" for the State, in the region of €20m a year.
Legislation to set up the new bodies will be brought in later this year.