Belfast Telegraph

Plan to replace employment bodies

The state's five employment rights bodies are to be replaced with a new structure under Government proposals.

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton has published a consultation paper on the plan with a deadline of September 16 for submissions.

Mr Bruton said the state's current employment rights bodies have grown up in a haphazard manner and claimed they were not fit for purpose.

"Workers seeking to enforce their rights face waiting times of up to 80 weeks, more than 35 different forms, six different websites, and generally bewildering complexity," said the minister.

"Abuses go undetected; yet compliant employers too often find themselves embroiled in costly and time-consuming hearings. And the whole thing costs too much for the taxpayer.

"An effective system would see more grievances resolved in the workplace. Most workers and trade unions do not want to rely on employment law to vindicate their rights, and high standards in the workplace can be a source of competitive advantage for businesses."

Under the plans, the five employment rights bodies - the Labour Relations Commission, the Equality Tribunal, the National Employment Rights Authority, the Employment Appeals Tribunal and the Labour Court - will be replaced with a new structure.

The plans envisage that all related cases would be taken at the same hearing, while services will be better streamlined to ensure greater efficiency and savings.

Mr Bruton said the Government was serious about improving public services for taxpayers and reducing costs.

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