Conciliation/Mediation of labour disputes

Conciliation/Mediation of labour disputes

Conciliation/Mediation of labour disputes

1 June–10 July 2020
The course is available in English
Introduction to the course

With recent changes in the global labour market affecting traditional dispute-resolution methods, there is growing recognition of the value of effective consensus-based methods for settling disputes. In this context, conciliation/mediation plays an important role, enabling employers, employees and their representative organizations, including trade unions, to agree on solutions to common problems at different levels in the workplace. Agreements reached through conciliation/mediation usually benefit all parties involved. With the intention of strengthening the position of conciliators/mediators within the bargaining process, while fostering the application of core ILO principles and standards, this course aims to develop and improve the competencies of conciliators/ mediators, and provide certification of their skills.

Who attends this course?
  • Staff from labour disputes agencies.
  • Staff from Ministries of Labour involved in dispute prevention and resolution.
  • Employers’ and Workers’ representatives.
  • Industrial relations experts and practitioners.
  • Labour law lawyers.

Please note that the number of participants is limited to 18.

Objectives

The objective of the course is to assess and certify the competencies of those involved in conciliation/mediation of labour disputes and therefore contribute to an increased recognition of their role and functions. Please note that this course does not grant accreditation and does not imply any right to employment with a dispute resolution body.

More information

The recent changes in the global labour market have affected traditional labour dispute resolution methods. The place of adversarial rights-based processes such as labour tribunals or arbitration is not in dispute, but alongside this is a growing recognition of the value of effective consensus-based dispute resolution methods including conciliation and mediation.

Nowadays, conciliation/mediation plays an important role in the way in which employers, employees and their representative organisations, including trade unions, find agreed solutions to common problems in the workplace, enterprise and different levels.

An agreement reached through conciliation/mediation has usually benefits for all parties involved. First of all, it creates an opportunity for disputing parties to find a mutually beneficial solution to a dispute when negotiation has failed. Secondly, the intervention of an independent conciliator/mediator often helps parties reduce the extent of their differences. The outcome of a successful labour conciliation/mediation is a new equilibrium that resolves the prevailing dispute and establishes the foundations of a more co-operative relationship. Finally, it is well known that when parties have agreed the terms of the resolution to a dispute instead of having a decision imposed upon them by a third party, they are much more likely to comply with that outcome. Enforceability is therefore much less of a problem.

Furthermore, an effective dispute managing system promoting consensus-based initiatives reduces both the cost and the time associated with traditional methods of dispute resolution whether it be through tribunals, arbitration or the use of strikes and lockouts. An effective conciliation/mediation system therefore enhances social peace while lightening the burden of work for labour tribunals. Tribunal systems are then able to allocate their resources to a smaller number of proceedings, thus raising the quality of their activities without diminishing access to justice for employers and employees.

In some systems conciliation/mediation is mandatory while in others it is voluntary. There are also situations where statutory and private conciliation/mediation services coexist. Whatever the scenario, it is crucial that conciliators/mediators inspire confidence in both parties to a dispute if they are to help them achieve an effective agreement. Such experts need to be trained in conflict management and negotiation processes, as well as in the process of conciliation/mediation.

With the intention of strengthen the position of conciliators/mediators within the bargaining process while fostering the application of core ILO principles and standards, the ILO and the ITCILO have designed a course which aims to develop and improve, as well as certify the competencies of conciliators/mediators.

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