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Workers face €50 fee to take case against employer

WORKERS who take a case against their employer face paying a €50 fee, in a major revamp of the State's industrial relations service, writes Anne-Marie Walsh.

The introduction of a charge has been tabled in a new blueprint document that outlines plans for a "world-class" workplace relations system.

From the end of this year, two super-dispute bodies will replace the current five, in an attempt to cut out red tape and long delays for hearings.

But the new document says a fee could be imposed for making a complaint. It said this was because workplace relations services have "considerable cost implications" for the State, in the region of €20m a year.

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It said the fee might be higher if the dispute rolled on, or complaint forms were submitted in paper form. In contrast, a lower charge or no fee may apply to complaints submitted online, while fees may not be charged at all if the dispute is resolved early.

In addition, the new document proposes that senior appointments to the Labour Court will be by public appointment in future, rather than a ministerial appointment from ICTU or IBEC.

The current system caused controversy two years ago when it was revealed that former Tanaiste Mary Coughlan planned to give former SIPTU Vice-President Brendan Hayes the post of deputy chairman instead of going through the public appointments system.

"Future appointments will be made in a more transparent manner," says the Department of Jobs document.

Irish Independent