The Conciliation Service of the Labour Court is a useful forum for debate and discussion on an issue where parties enter it in good faith with the aim of achieving an agreed way forward.
The following outlines the procedure which is followed.
On arrival each party is allocated their own room. The Conciliation Officer may meet individual parties first and then suggest a joint session to start – the party who referred the matter to Conciliation will start with setting out their case – this only lasts a few minutes and is not legalistic. The next step is for other parties to respond.
Afterwards, parties will revert back to their separate rooms. The Conciliation Officer will visit each of the rooms seeking and fishing for movement and attempts at resolution.
Note: The Conciliation Officer will not engage in argument or legal discussion and will walk away from the process in this arises; if any party wants to go this way they will need to take it to another fora.
If people are moving towards reaching agreement there may be a joint session again or at the end but if not, this session will be very unlikely to happen.
Each party may need time to revert to their various stakeholders or advisers i.e. Board, other employees, legal team etc. Each party may take time to reflect on the situation.
If a resolution is not reached by both parties the matter may be referred to the Labour Court for a hearing – this can be at the initiation of the parties. The Conciliation Officer may conclude there is no other option left but to refer to the Labour Court.
The Conciliation Officer will take a mediation approach in dealing with each and all of the parties at all times.