Workplace Relations would like to place a cookie on your computer to help us make this website better. To find out more about cookies and how we use them, please see our privacy statement.
What You Should Know
Adoptive, Carer's & Other Leave
Annual Leave & Public Holidays
Coming to Work in Ireland
Employment of Children and Young Persons
Ending the Employment Relationship
Part-time and Fixed-term Workers
Protection of Whistleblowers
Statutory Employment Records
Terms of Employment
Transfer of Undertakings
Wages and Methods of Payments
Zero Hours Working
Good Workplace Relations
Codes of Practice
Voluntary Dispute Resolution (Enhanced Code)
Dispute Procedures including in Essential Services
Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures
Employee Involvement in the Workplace
Code of Practice on Victimisation
Code of Practice to Address Bullying in the Workplace
Code of Practice on Access to Part-time Work
Code of Practice on Compensatory Rest Periods
Code of Practice on Sunday Working in the Retail Trade
Code of Practice for Protecting Persons Employed in Other People's Homes
Duties and Responsibilities of Employee Representatives
Code of Practice on Protected Disclosures
Employment Equality Act 1998 (Code of Practice) (Harassment) Order 2012
Complaints & Disputes
Refer a Dispute/Make a Complaint
Fixed Payment Notice
Enforcement of Decisions or Determinations
Decisions & Determinations
Publications & Forms
Employment Appeals Tribunal Diary
Employment Agency List and Forms
Workplace Relations Forms
Information Guides & Booklets
Other Language Publications
Consultation Responses 2011
Workplace Relations Services
Information and Customer Services
Frequently Asked Questions
Making a Complaint
National Minimum Wage
Employing Children and Young Persons
Employment Equality and Equal Status
About the Reform Programme
Reform of the State's Workplace Relations Structures
Workplace Relations provides information on industrial relations & rights and obligations under Irish employment and equality legislation
Select an option from the dropdown list and press GO
Select an option from the dropdown list and then press GO
Add to Binder allows you to add Workplace Relations content to your personal binder for viewing or printing later.
To access your binder, click the Binder link at the top of the page.
What is Conciliation?
Conciliation is a voluntary process in which a professional facilitator assists employers and employees to resolve disputes when their own unassisted efforts have not succeeded. The process can be described as a facilitated search for agreement between disputing parties.
How does it work?
The Workplace Relations Commission assigns a conciliator, known as an Industrial Relations Officer (IRO), who acts as an independent, impartial chairperson in discussions and negotiations between the negotiating teams that represent the employer and the employees. The task of the IRO is to assist them in their efforts to reach a mutually acceptable settlement to their dispute..
Who can use the service?
The service is available to all employees and employers except those specifically excluded by law, namely: the army, police and prison services. However, even in the case of such excluded employments the service is made available on an ad hoc basis where both sides request assistance. To use the service employees need not be trade union members, nor do employers have to belong to a representative body.
What types of dispute can be referred to conciliation?
Typical examples of the types of issue dealt with in the conciliation process include claims for improvements in pay or conditions of employment, disciplinary cases, grading issues, disputes arising from proposed changes to the way work is done, company restructuring etc.
What happens in conciliation?
Conciliation involves a series of meetings that usually take place on the same day, categorised as a conciliation conference. The process starts with the IRO chairing a joint meeting of the parties, i.e. the employee(s) and the employer and/or their representatives.
The IRO then meets separately with each party's representative. The joint meeting enables the IRO to hear the views of each party to the dispute and to clarify any issues of historical fact relating to the issue in dispute. The separate meeting with each party enables the IRO to explore the possibility for agreement on proposals to resolve the issue in dispute.
The IRO treats as confidential all information received during the course of conciliation. S/he will not divulge this information to any other party unless expressly permitted to do so.
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 Workplace Relations Commission does not believe that the nature of the process requires legal representation of either party at conciliation meetings.
Who is the Conciliator?
The conciliator - Industrial Relations Officer (IRO) - is an officer of the Workplace Relations Commission. All IROs come from an independent public service background. They are trained and experienced experts in mediation and conciliation techniques..
Who controls the conciliation process?
The employer and employee representatives retain control during the conciliation process. The Workplace Relations Commission never imposes an outcome on them. Settlement of a dispute is an outcome that the parties themselves voluntarily decide. Likewise, where the parties do not resolve their dispute at conciliation, that is also their decision.
How do I begin a conciliation process?
The process of conciliation begins when one or both disputing parties writes to the Workplace Relations Commission requesting assistance in resolving their industrial relations dispute. The Commission responds positively to such requests and contacts both parties in order to confirm that they wish to attend at conciliation. Arrangements for conciliation meetings are finalised only when both parties confirm their willingness to participate in the process.
Participation is entirely voluntary.
What information should I give to the WRC when requesting conciliation?
You help the WRC to speedily process your request when you include the following information in your application for assistance:
How do I prepare for conciliation?
Before attending a conference it is vital that each participant has a full understanding, as set out above, of the concept of conciliation and the procedure which is normally followed during the conference.
It should at all times be borne in mind that ownership of the dispute lies with the parties themselves and indeed settlement of a dispute is an outcome that the parties themselves voluntarily decide. It is therefore important that full preparation has taken place prior to the conciliation conference. To assist, consideration should be given to the following points:
How much does it cost?
Conciliation is a public service and is free to users. In certain cases where the parties are located some distance away from Dublin, they may be asked to provide a venue for meetings. If the parties are unable to do so, the Commission will always provide a venue.
Do I have to travel to Dublin for conciliation?
Conciliation is provided on a country-wide basis. The Commission makes every effort to arrange meetings at a location close to the parties.
What outcomes can I expect from conciliation?
There are two possible outcomes to the conciliation process - resolution of the dispute, or continuing disagreement.
A settlement occurs either when the parties themselves reach a mutually acceptable agreement in conciliation or where they accept a proposal for settlement that the IRO has put to them. The IRO will, usually, only make a proposal when s/he is satisfied that the negotiating teams will recommend its acceptance. The IRO does not impose a proposal on the parties. The IRO may also adjourn the proceedings to allow the parties consider their positions.
Where the process ends in continuing disagreement the parties have the option of referring the dispute to the Labour Court for recommendation. The IRO will not refer an issue in dispute to the Labour Court unless the parties wish it - they remain in control of the process.
What happens to an unresolved case that is referred to the Labour Court?
The Labour Court will, with the agreement of the parties, convene a hearing where both parties can outline their case. In most instances the Court will then issue a recommendation to both parties outlining a means on which the issue can be resolved. Further details of Labour Court procedures are available on this website.
Where do I apply for conciliation?
All requests for assistance and inquiries, in writing, should be directed to:
Conciliation ServiceWorkplace Relations CommissionTom Johnson HouseHaddington RoadDublin 4
Email:firstname.lastname@example.orgTelephone: + 353 1 6136700Fax: + 353 1 6136701
Conciliation is a voluntary process in which the parties to a dispute agree to avail of a ...
Form to be used for referring matters to the Conciliation Service
Registered Address: Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, O'Brien Road, Carlow