The role of the Citizens information Service (CIS) in resolving workplace disputes was explored during a recent seminar in the Hilton Hotel in Kilmainham, Dublin.
Connie Gerety, Development Manager Longford CIS, attended the event which was organised by the Advocacy Support Workers (ASW) Programme with the support of the Social Policy team of the Citizens information Board (CIB).
The aim of the seminar was to provide high level information and training and to explore and clarify the theoretical, practical and social policy elements that arise.
Angela Black, CEO of the CIB, explained that the National infrastructure to support the employment rights agenda has recently changed for the better.
“The new Workplace Relations Commission represents a step forward for lay advocacy and less formal access to employment rights. It has reduced and simplified the number of employment rights fora, streamlined timeframes and introduced the single online complaint form. These have all contributed to the creation of a more accessible and user friendly system,” said Ms Black.
Employment Law cases formed 20% of all advocacy cases handled by the CIS nationally in 2015.
Geralyn McGarry, Social Policy Manager, CIB outlined the type of feedback received from CISs: "Employment rights issues feature consistently in social policy feedback from frontline information services as do issues relating to low wage employment and interaction with social welfare income supports. Employment protection issues for migrants are also a recurring theme.”
Other keynote speakers at the seminar, including Alan Haugh BL (Deputy Chair of the Labour Court), Hugh Lonsdale (Mediator with the Workplace Relations Commission - WRC) and Sarah O’Mahoney BL, demonstrated how the changes brought in by the Workplace Relations Act 2015 work in reality.