145. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of cases from his Department before the conciliation and arbitration scheme; the number of years these cases have been before the scheme for hearing, by number and by year; the reason these cases have not been heard; the timeframe for these cases to be heard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13881/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018)
Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Defence (Amendment) Act 1990 and Defence Force Regulations S6 provided for the establishment of representative associations for members of the Permanent Defence Force. The associations that have since been established are RACO (for commissioned officers) and PDFORRA (for enlisted personnel).
The scheme of Conciliation and Arbitration (C&A) for members of the Permanent Defence Force provides a formal mechanism for the determination of claims and proposals from the Permanent Defence Force Representative Associations relating to remuneration and conditions of service.
Having regard to commitments made under pay agreements, members of the Permanent Defence Force can make representations in relation to their pay and conditions of service through their representative bodies, PDFORRA and RACO. Where agreement is not reached it is open to both official and representative sides to refer the matter to an adjudicator or an arbitration Board to settle the matter.
Six meetings of Conciliation Council are held with each Representative Association each year, normally held at intervals no greater than once every two months. There are also a number of sub-committees, established to discuss and progress certain matters such as pay and allowances, induction, etc.
Officials from my Department continue to work with the Representative Associations in a positive and collaborative process within the CandA Scheme to resolve issues. There is also ongoing engagement on a regular basis between the Official side and the Representative side on a range of items which are processed through CandA.
Matters dealt with under the C&A Scheme are confidential in nature and therefore it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.