Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Richard Bruton has said the country’s employment rights bodies must be streamlined and merged to deliver better efficiency and value for money.

Speaking at an employment law conference in UCD, Mr Bruton said the current system of enforcing rights cost €21m a year and was far too complex.

It involved 30 pieces of legislation, five redress or enforcement bodies, 35 different forms and six different websites, he said.

Mr Bruton claimed it could take 80 weeks for a claimant to have a grievance heard and he called for the creation of a single body with two dimensions to deal with complaints in the future.

The first dimension would involve a body to deal with workplace grievances and disputes when they were initially lodged, he said, while a second body would deal with appeals.

Mr Bruton said this would help free up resources to pursue maverick employers - but was unable to say how much money the reforms would save, or how many jobs would be cut.

He said the new system would vindicate workers' rights more efficiently - which would be in the interests of taxpayers, workers and employers.