Ministry mediates on 1220 grievance cases

THE mediation services received 1220 employment grievance cases this year compared with 839 last year.

Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jone Usamate revealed this in his opening address during a mediation training by the Singapore Mediation Centre on Strategic Conflict Management for Professionals (Module 1) in Suva yesterday.

Mr Usamate said from November last year, the mediation team achieved a high resolution rate of 84.97 per cent for the first quarter of the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

“Unlike other mediation centres within the Asia-Pacific region, mediation service in Fiji is absolutely free as part of Government’s social obligation to the workers and employers of our country. Informal mediation by our mediators has also been a very powerful tool in diffusing contemplated strikes in Fiji,” he said.

He said the ministry was also focusing on training its staff.

“In Fiji, mediation benefits are enormous as workers are empowered to engage in mediation as an individual and mitigate his or her grievance in a professional setting with the employer and the mediator as a facilitator.

“We have in place a training program for the professional development of our ministry staff and for the first time have included participants from other government ministries to strengthen the capacity base for mediators in the civil service.”

Mr Usamate said the ministry was looking at expanding the capacity base of mediators given the success of the concept in Fiji’s employment environment.

The mediation training ends on Thursday.

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