€188,600 in unpaid agri wages recovered in 2018

A total of €188,597 in unpaid wages was recovered from the agricultural sector for agri employees by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in 2018, according to the authority’s annual report.

The inspections covered 6,312 employees in the industry over the course of the year, according to the report.

Last year, the WRC’s Inspection and Enforcement Service investigated some 106 cases in the sector, finding 46 of these to be in breach of regulations – a rate of 43%.

On a related note, in 2018 the WRC carried out a focused campaign in the equine industry to bring about greater compliance with employment legislation in what has been identified as a ‘high-risk’ sector.

The campaign featured a targeted and coordinated approach to inspections, engagement with representative organisations and an awareness-raising programme (including website content, bespoke training and presentations).

45 inspections were conducted specifically on the equine sector, with 38 breaches in regulation found – a breach percentage of 84% – leading to the recovery of €73,469 in unpaid wages.

949 equine workers were covered in the inspections.

Last year, the WRC recovered over €3 million in unpaid wages for employees over the year, an increase of 75% on 2017.

Pat Breen, Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market, and Data Protection, welcomed the Annual Report by the WRC of its progress in terms of service delivery and output in 2018.

“Last year was a very successful year for the WRC. In terms of the Adjudication Service the number of hearings has increased by 20% over the period while there has also been a significant increase in the overall number of face-to-face mediations conducted in the year, more than doubling on the 2017 outturn.

“In addition, there was a 20% increase in the inspections concluded by the WRC in 2018,” Minister Breen said.