Inspections by the Workplace Relations Commission led to 125 prosecutions and the recovery of €1.8 million in unpaid wages last year, according to its annual report for 2017.

Last year, the WRC received 14,000 specific complaints.

Adjudication hearings were up 24%, and almost 2,500 adjudication decisions were issued, which was up 82% on 2016.

92% of adjudication complaints were processed in less than six months, provided submissions were received in a timely manner, and there were no requests for postponements.

27% of complaints related to pay, 14% involved unfair dismissal, and 13% had to do with working time.

Discrimination and equality accounted for 11% of complaints, as did trade disputes, or industrial relations issues, while 8% related to terms and conditions of employment.

In 2017, 4,750 inspections were carried out and the €1.8 million in unpaid wages recovered for workers was 8% up on the previous year. 

The conciliation and dispute resolution service resolved 84% of collective disputes referred to it.

Minister of State for Trade, Employment Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen said he was heartened that the number of WRC hearings had increased by over a quarter on 2016.

He noted that while prior to the establishment of the WRC it could take two years to secure an outcome to a case, that has fallen to less than six months, provided submissions are received in a timely manner and no postponements are sought.

WRC Director General Oonagh Buckley said the organisation had experienced tough challenges over recent years as they sought to introduce new ways of working, and at a time when the growth in employment had driven an increased demand for their services.

She acknowledged that there were areas where the WRC needed to work harder.