We offer conciliation services to help parties involved in a workplace dispute to come to a legally binding resolution without needing to go through a tribunal. We offer both individual conciliation and collective conciliation, for example where an issue affects a number of employees. There is no charge for using the Agency's conciliation services.
The number and extent of individual employment rights have increased dramatically. This has led to a greater number of claims being lodged with the Industrial Tribunal where workers and employees allege that their employment rights have been breached. It makes good business sense to resolve disputes in the workplace at the earliest opportunity.
Collective Conciliation is facilitated or assisted negotiation where an Agency conciliator helps employers and employees (normally via trade unions) to try to reach mutually acceptable settlements of their collective disputes.
If someone has lodged a claim to the tribunal about their employment rights a copy is sent to the Labour Relations Agency.
We have a legal duty to offer Conciliation in most cases when someone has a complaint about their employment rights even if no claim has been made to the Tribunal service.
You can use the Labour Relations Agency Arbitration Scheme to resolve an employment–related dispute (a “claim”) instead of going to a tribunal.
The best way to prevent relationship problems is to have policies and procedures that are fair, constructive and clear and there should be constructive communication to address issues as quickly as possible. We can help you to check if your policies and procedures are in line with best practice.
However, where relationships have been damaged by events in the workplace, the Labour Relations Agency can provide impartial and confidential mediation, conciliation or arbitration support to help resolve the situation.
Those who have submitted a tribunal claim will also be offered access to the Labour Relations Agency’s Arbitration Scheme which offers a quick, non–legalistic, less formal, confidential and more cost effective alternative to a tribunal hearing.
When there is an issue in the workplace, employers and employees have a number of options and steps they can take to resolve it, ranging from informal conversations to formal processes and procedures.
An independent mediator can sometimes help resolve grievance or disciplinary issues. There is no charge for using the Labour Relations Agency's mediation service.
Problems can arise in any workplace. Below are some examples, though not an exhaustive list. Employers, employees and their representatives may find it helpful to refer to the Labour Relations Agency's codes of practice, sample letters, flowcharts and guides. Our service is confidential and all our resources are free of charge to anyone working to prevent or resolve a workplace issue in Northern Ireland.