Six Ways to Settle Employee Disputes without Tribunals

Alternate dispute resolution methods (ADR) are methods that involve resolving of disputes without a legal binding on the acting parties. The alternate dispute resolution methods are an effective technique to maintain healthy relationships with the employees and tend to save the organizations and the employees while avoiding going to the tribunals for dispute resolutions. These methods are more advantageous and cost effective in comparison to the standard dispute resolution through tribunals that may involve greater time and cost for both parties.

The various techniques and methods that may be used in employment relations so that tribunals can be avoided are listed below:

1.    Negotiation

Negotiation is one of the most effective methods of resolution for legal disputes. Many negotiation proceedings tend to fail as there may be lack of trust between the employers and the employees or employees unions. In every negotiation that takes place between the employer and employee, there are issues of cooperation and competition. The competitive part of the negotiation involves compensation and benefits for the employees and it is the tendency of the employer to decrease the number and that of the employee to increase this number. The employers does not want to be over-competitive as there is a fear of losing an ideal candidate and the employee too cannot be over-competitive as he may lose the job. The main catch in the process of any negotiation is the closing of the negotiation deal. One of the negotiating party makes an offer that is accepted or rejected or even further negotiated upon until an agreement is reached.

2.    Internal Procedures such as Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures

Formal grievance procedures exist in work places that handle grievances and disciplinary actions or dismissals. It is unlikely that the formal procedures shall be able to run successfully in the case of small organizations where there are no formal trade unions. According to new disciplinary procedures for organizations, the disciplinary procedure consists of three main steps-1) submission of matter in writing, 2) right of the employees to attend formal meetings and 3) right of appeal to the employees. The right of the employees to file appeals is an important mechanism of addressing grievances of the employees in organizations. The employees are free to file appeals against any disciplinary actions by the employers and can use these appeals as an effective dispute resolution measure.

3.    Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining is a mechanism to provide peaceful and amicable dispute resolution between the employees and the employers on the issues related to economic rewards, work processes and application of collective bargaining agreements. The process of collective bargaining has been successful in resolving some of the most complex conflicts between management and the employees in history. The organizations are now renewing and opening the collective bargaining agreements between the management and the employees to ensure the continuity of trust and confidence in the dispute resolution process.

4.    Conciliation and Mediation Techniques

Conciliation is an effective technique of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that is mainly designed to reduce litigation. The process involves the third parties in order to reach the settlement. If both parties agree to a settlement that is proposed by a third party such as ACAS, the dispute is resolved. In case either of the parties fail to agree to the settlement or refuse to participate, the conciliation procedure comes to an end. 

Mediation is a dispute resolution technique that is influenced by the intervention of third party that is neutral in nature and offers solution to the disputes that may be acceptable to both the parties. The participation of the parties in the mediation process is voluntary however it may have a legal binding on the parties involved in employment.

5.    Arbitration

In case when an unfair dismissal matter has not been addressed or discontinued after conciliation, that matter automatically proceeds to arbitration. The arbitration process involves a formal conference or hearing. These are also used by organizations and employees for dispute resolution process.

6.    Partnership Agreements

Partnership agreements allows firms to be in contact directly with the employees that have met limited success. The partnership agreements are an effective method to deliver mutual benefit to the employers and the employees. A long lasting relationship between the employer and employee parties is often seen in the case of production firms and outsourcing firms where the organizations are interested in seeking long term partnership agreements with the employees for smooth operations and better conflict management. The partnership agreements between the forms and the employees help the organizations in better employee relations management and contribute a great deal towards the maintenance of long term and positive relationships between employees and management.

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