The Conciliation and Arbitration (C&A) Scheme for members of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) provides an established mechanism for the PDF representative associations to engage with the Official side.
There is ongoing regular engagement between Department officials and the Representative side on a range of items which are processed through the C&A scheme. The EU Working Time Directive has been the subject of discussions at Conciliation Council many times and has been referenced in Conciliation Council Reports.
The government has committed to bringing the Defence Forces within the scope of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 having regard to the specifics of the EU Working Time Directive. The implementation of this for the Defence Forces is a matter which is being pursued by the Representative Associations through the C&A scheme. As matters dealt with under the C&A Scheme are confidential in nature it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.
Department of Defence and Defence Forces officials also met with representatives from PDFORRA and RACO on 23rd July 2018. The meeting discussed the establishment of a sub-committee of the Conciliation & Arbitration (C&A) Council to examine these matters. Terms of reference for this sub-committee are under consideration.
Work is also underway to progress the legislative changes required with the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection in conjunction with the Department of Justice & Equality. An internal Defence Forces Working Group is also further considering issues and will report on its findings shortly.
Further consultation with the Defence Forces Representative Associations will be undertaken as the current work evolves.