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ELA report on ADR and Employment Dispute cites Antony Sendall’s views on the comparative lack of use

In ELA’s latest report on ADR and Employment Disputes it highlights the view by Acas on the comparative lack of use of workplace mediation outside the public sector. Our own Antony Sendall, an established commentator and champion of the benefits of workplace mediation, is quoted “..there has (as yet) been too little attention paid to this powerful tool in the private sector.” 

In a recent blog for “Mediation Rescue”, Antony Sendall, provides his own assessment on the reasons for this disparity saying that the reasons behind what is holding back the use of mediation are deep-seated. The ELA reports on his views:

  • The main factor he attributes as historical dependence upon grievance and disciplinary procedures combined with “an inherent distrust of what might appear to be radical change”, the use of such procedures being seen as “the default first step”. These are “heavily dependent on fact-finding and attribution of fault/blame which frequently leads to the escalation of conflict rather than its resolution”.
  • Mediation is “perceived as either a last resort before litigation or at least a process that does not become relevant until the conflict has fully crystallised.” This results from the fact that mediation is best known for its role in resolving current litigation whereas the whole point of workplace resolution is to nip the issue in the bud before it becomes polarised and to restore the employment relationship.
  • Some perceive mediation as a soft option – “two parties locked in a room with a hippy” whereas the reality is very different.
  • Finally he echoes our comments above that employees and unions can be suspicious of workplace mediation if it is seen as a process “owned and run by the employer” with some preferring either to let their members have their “day in court” or using more formal (and familiar) procedures.

To read the full ELA report CLICK HERE

To read Antony Sendall’s blog for “Mediation Rescue” CLICK HERE

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