The purpose and mission of the Workplace Relations Commission’s conciliation service is to provide an impartial, fast and effective conciliation service operating to a uniformly high standard in both the public and private sectors.
Conciliation is a voluntary process in which the parties to a dispute agree to avail of a neutral and impartial third party to assist them in resolving their industrial relations differences. The Workplace Relations Commission provides a conciliation service by making available Industrial Relations Officers of the Commission to chair ‘conciliation conferences’. These officers are sometimes referred to as ‘IROs’ or as ‘Conciliation Officers’. Conciliation conferences are basically an extension of the process of direct negotiations, with an independent chairperson present to steer the discussions and explore possible avenues of settlement in a non-prejudicial fashion. Participation in the conciliation process is voluntary, and so too are the outcomes. Solutions are reached only by consensus, whether by negotiation and agreements facilitated between the parties themselves, or by the parties agreeing to settlement terms proposed by the Conciliation Officer.
The Industrial Relations Officer treats as confidential all information received during the course of conciliation.
The conciliation process is informal and non-legalistic in its practice. The parties are free to represent themselves or be represented by trade unions or by employer organisations. The Commission does not believe that the nature of the process requires legal representation of either party at conciliation meetings.
All requests for assistance and inquires may be referred in writing and should be directed to the Director of Conciliation, Workplace Relations Commission, Workplace Mediation and Early Resolution Services and or by contacting the Workplace Relations Commission’s Conciliation Services or by using the online Conciliation Referral Form (see link below).