The conciliation and arbitration scheme for members of the Permanent Defence Force, PDF, provides an established mechanism for the two PDF representative associations to engage with the official side. The associations in question are the Representative Association for Commissioned Officers, RACO, and the representative association for enlisted personnel, which is known as PDFORRA. In line with commitments under the public service pay agreements, members of the PDF can make representations on pay and conditions through their representative associations.
The conciliation and arbitration scheme, since its inception in the early 1990s, has provided the framework on which progress has been made on many successful agreements that have been negotiated between Defence Forces management and the PDF representative associations. In light of the many changes in the industrial relations landscape in the intervening period, I decided to initiate an independent review of the scheme, on foot of which a report was published on 2 October 2018.
The report of the review contains a number of recommendations aimed at improving the efficiency of the scheme. The appointment of an independent chairperson of the conciliation council is one of the recommendations in the review of the current scheme.
All parties to the scheme, including the PDF representative associations, are collaborating to develop the terms of a revised conciliation and arbitration scheme that incorporates the recommendations in the Barry review. Steady progress is being made. A small number of issues that require agreement are outstanding, but I expect them to be finalised shortly. This will allow for the implementation of the terms of the revised scheme, including the appointment of an independent chairperson.