Sinn Fein spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, Employment, and Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has voiced her concern that the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) will be closed for the duration of the Level 3 lockdown in Dublin, and has called for additional health and safety measures to be put in place to ensure this essential service remains open.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“The news that the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) will be closed for the duration of the Level 3 lockdown in Dublin will cause difficulties for many workers who are waiting months to have their cases heard.
“Last year the average time for cases to reach hearing at the WRC was 17 weeks in industrial relations cases, and 26 weeks in employment rights cases.
“Complete cessation of on-site work at the WRC will result in cases being even further drawn out, especially when we factor the lockdown earlier in the year into the equation.
“The Courts and Labour Court have remained open, so perhaps there is a blueprint there for how the WRC can operate in a safe and secure manner which protects those working there, as well as those attending hearings.
“If there is a need for additional health and safety measures to be put in place to ensure this essential service remains open, then those measures need to be delivered by the state.
“Furthermore, as we learn to live with Covid19, the government needs to provide for remote hearings for the WRC.
“Level 3 of the lockdown will affect different sectors in different ways, but it imperative that we do all we can to ensure the health and safety of workers in essential services, such as the WRC, are protected and that we do all we can, including looking at new ways of working, to keep them operational.”