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ERA mediation services proving effective

ERA mediation services proving effective

Mediation services are clearly one of the Employment Relations Act’s biggest achievements, Labour Minister Margaret Wilson said today at the launch of a best practice booklet on employment relations.

‘Using Mediation Services Effectively’, which has been produced by the Employment Relations Service, outlines how the mediation process works and what is involved for the parties.

“Mediation offers an opportunity for early assistance with any employment relationship problem where the parties cannot resolve the problem themselves,” Margaret Wilson said. “It is free, simple, effective and fair.”

“I am pleased to see from the two-year report on the ERA, released today, that mediation assistance is increasingly becoming the first port of call for employment relationship problems, particularly where it is acknowledged that an initial problem might escalate into a personal grievance, permanently souring the relationship.”

Margaret Wilson said mediators have been involved in the whole raft of employment relationship problems, including those occurring between employees or issues arising during collective bargaining.

“Involvement in bargaining is often issue specific, and once that particular issue is resolved the parties will continue negotiations and reach a settlement without further need of assistance.”

From 2 October 2000 to 30 September 2002, the Department of Labour received or reopened 15,336 requests for mediation assistance. Three quarters of these mediation applications were completed in six weeks.

A variety of methods are used to help in resolving employment relationship problems, not just formal mediated meetings, Margaret Wilson said.

‘Using Mediation Services Effectively’ is available free by calling the Employment Relations Infoline on 0800 800 863. A copy of the Department of Labour’s two-year monitoring report on the Employment Relations Act is available at http://www.beehive.govt.nz/wilson.era2

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