When should I consider a mediation meeting
Often by the time people contact Department of Labour mediation services they are distressed, angry, no longer listening to each other, and unable to see any resolution beyond a continuing dispute or permanent breakdown in the relationship.
The most common trigger for considering a mediation meeting is the feeling by an employer, employee or union that they have made all the progress they can by dealing directly with the other party.
If you are in that position, there are some questions worth asking yourself:
- Have I made my problem clear to the other person?
- How important is the outstanding disagreement to me?
- What would make me feel that the matter is resolved?
- Is resolution worth pursuing, or is it diverting my energies from other important activities?
- Have I really looked at this from the other person’s perspective and tried to reach an agreement?
It’s worth talking the matter over with someone outside the issue to check your view of the situation. This does not have to be an employment relations advisor, although unions and employer organisations are likely to have seen similar issues before and can give assistance. Talking the matter over with a mediator can also help you identify the various ways other people have successfully dealt with similar circumstances.
If you do decide to seek mediation you can contact the Department by calling the Contact Centre, 0800 20 90 20. An Information officer will listen to your request and discuss an appropriate action. The Information officer will refer the matter to an area office so mediation can be arranged.
A mediator may contact you and the other party to discuss the problem and see if there is a way of resolving it without attending a mediation meeting. If it is agreed that a mediation meeting is the best way forward and a meeting date has been arranged, both parties will be advised in writing of the time and venue. Examples of possible venues include the workplace, a marae, a local community venue or the Department of Labour office. It is important that it is a venue where both parties feel comfortable and confidentiality can be maintained.
You are not required to prepare a written submission for the meeting, but you should think through the facts of your case and make some notes for your own use.
If you have any special needs at the mediation, such as a translator, it is important that you raise these issues when the mediation is being arranged.