- The Labour Policy Council’s Section Meeting on the Labour Relations Commissions (LRCs) Reform today announced a report on measures to promote the swiftness of examinations of LRCs. LRCs have been criticised for many years for delay in examining cases and a high rate for their orders to be withdrawn at the stage of judicial examinations. The current judicial reform process gives an opportunity to address such long-standing criticism and makes possible the reform of LRCs, although partially.
- Concrete measures include: 1) to introduce the planned examination system, 2) to issue an order by the meeting of public-interest commissioners without a consensus of labour and employer sides to produce evidence and to subpoena witness, 3) to restrict production of new evidence in a suit following a withdrawal of LRCs' order, and 4) to introduce full-time public-interest commissioners, to establish subcommittee system, and to improve training programmes for Commissions’ staff.
- These measures are aimed at strengthening the structure of LRCs that are now to be considered as quasi-judicial institutions. To this end, oaths by witnesses and exclusion of a public-interest commissioner by a legal reason or an objection of the person concerned would be introduced. LRCs have not only judgement but also coordination functions; the latter of which is the most important. In this context, Rengo is concerned about the introduction of oaths and exclusion, which would make LRCs more court- and civil suit-like.
Furthermore, it would be made possible that an objection, or even an administrative litigation, to the order for producing evidence or the subpoena issued by a local LRC be submitted to the Central LRC. Although being a procedure to be taken by a quasi-judicial institution, this would go against the promotion of the swiftness. An attention should be paid to the implementation of the objection procedure to avoid further delay of examinations.
- Remaining problems to be solved include the "substantial evidence rule" in the judicial examination of an LRC order, and the omission of a lower court’ examination so that the examination of an order issued by both local and Central LRCs would start at the level of a high court. Proposed changes do not complete overall reform of LRCs as a reliable dispute panel. Rengo will remain vigilant over further reform processes of LRCs.