A flood of unsubstantiated claims made to the Labour Relations Commission and other dispute resolution bodies in recent months has prompted suspicions of an organised “claim culture”, according to local Fianna Fáil TD and former minister for labour affairs, Frank Fahey.
Deputy Fahey says there is “concern” at official level about this emerging trend. He has written to the chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Willie Penrose TD asking him to invite the chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey to come before the committee to discuss the issue.
“Month after month the number of people contacting the Labour Relations Commission and other dispute resolution bodies is rocketing,” says Deputy Fahey. “It is understandable given the recent volatility of the labour market that there would be an increase. But it has been brought to my attention that there are strong suspicions about an emerging trend.
“The number of unsubstantiated claims being made has increased considerably and they are adding to the already increased workload of staff at the different bodies. It appears that the majority of these claims are being made by people who have moved to Ireland to work in recent years,” he alleged.
“There should be consequences for people who make vexatious claims and I will be making a proposal to that effect to my colleague, the Minister for Labour Affairs, Dara Calleary TD.”
Deputy Fahey is calling for regulation of the bodies which accept labour relation claims. “Currently a complaint can be made to a number of agencies in a ‘shopping around’ style process. There should be clearer lines of demarcation as to which body deals with what types of complaints so that overlapping of work is avoided.
“We have come a long way in the area of employment rights in recent years. The National Rights Employment Authority has made great strides in particular and it is essential that workers’ rights are protected and vindicated. However, it is also important that the system is not open to abuse