Wednesday, 21 November 2018
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Representative Organisations
94. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to recommend that the Defence Forces representative associations have access to the industrial relations machinery of the State, including the WRC and Labour Court; his views on whether such access will assist with the crisis in staff retention and numbers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48394/18]
The Conciliation and Arbitration (C&A) Scheme for members of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) provides an established mechanism for the PDF representative associations, that is PDFORRA (the representative association for enlisted personnel) and RACO (the representative association for commissioned officers) to engage with the Official side. Having regard to commitments made under public service pay agreements, members of the PDF can make representations in relation to their pay and conditions through their representative associations.
The C&A scheme, since its inception in the early 1990’s has provided the framework to progress many successful negotiated agreements between Defence management and the PDF Representative Associations. In light of the many changes in the industrial relations landscape in the intervening period, I initiated a fundamental review of the scheme, earlier this year.
The report of the review of the scheme was published on 2 October 2018.
The report contains a number of recommendations aimed at improving the efficiency of the scheme. It did not include a recommendation relating to providing the PDF representative associations with access to the WRC and Labour Court.
The parties to the scheme are currently considering the process for implementing the recommendations in the report.
The report recommends that the revised scheme should be reviewed after a three year period. I believe that the opportunity should be afforded to the parties to implement the recommendations and evaluate the operation the scheme again after that time.