The Workplace Relations Commission is not yet the "world-class" service that was envisaged when it was established one year ago, according to its new Director General Oonagh Buckley.

Addressing an employment law conference to mark the first anniversary of the WRC establishment, Ms Buckley acknowledged that the amalgamation of five employment rights bodies into two had not proceeded as smoothly as hoped.

The comments come after a survey by the Employment Law Association of Ireland revealed that there is a high level of dissatisfaction with the operation of the WRC.

Ms Buckley noted that the WRC system had gone live in 2015 with a merged IT system which had not been fully tested - resulting is difficulties in processing claims.

She cited problems facing service users including occasions where parties were not notified of hearings, linked or multiple cases sometimes not scheduled together, correspondence being sent to "old addressed", representatives being double-booked for hearings, the adjudicator not arriving at a hearing where the parties were ready to go, and inconsistencies in hearing procedures.

Ms Buckley said that while she was concerned about these issues, which she was working to resolve, she was happy that there was less dissatisfaction among service users with the outcomes of adjudications.

She defended progress made to date in reducing delays in hearings, and pledged that further improvements would be seen over the coming year.

Ms Buckley told the conference that in its first year the WRC had had a "baptism of fire" - with 14,000 specific complaints.

During that period, around 2,600 hearings have taken place.

She said complainants had received a hearing on average between 12 and 16 weeks from lodging a complaint, with a decision around eight weeks later - which she described as a singular improvement on the previous system.

She pledged to further reduce the waiting time for the delivery of a decision by the end of this year.

Ms Buckley said the WRC has also reduced the number of "inherited" complaints by two thirds.

She said processing such a volume of cases was challenging within specific resource allocations.

She also told the conference that to date this year, some 3,400 inspections had been completed by the WRC inspection service, with some 1,300 employers found to be in breach of employment law.

This resulted in almost €1 million in wages being recovered for workers.

She said that the WRC had also issued 15 new Fixed Payment notices - effectively fines - to employers.

She said the WRC's aim was to achieve a culture of compliance with employment law.

She noted that much of the work of the WRC Conciliation service involved the preservation of jobs - and cited its work in resolving the Dublin Bus dispute.

She said the organisation's Early Resolution Service had been involved in 1,100 cases with potential agreements reached were accepted in half of those cases.