There has been much talk in the media about the oil refinery strikes happening across the UK and, this week, a mediation service was called in to help with the negotiations. In strike action, the employers and employee representatives (often a staff union) negotiate to reach a mutually satisfactory conclusion. However, with emotions often running high, it can be difficult to work through the discussions and reach that conclusion. That is where mediation is particularly useful.
A mediator is a neutral third party who sits in on the negotiations and is there to help facilitate the discussion. They do not take sides or offer advice and mediation is often quicker, cheaper and easier than going through court proceedings.
In cases such as this strike, where speed is of the essence, mediation can be very useful. However, mediation doesn’t just have to be used in extreme cases like these oil refinery strikes. It can also be particularly useful in family or neighbour issues as well as business matters. Mediation in recent years has gained popularity and is being used more and more frequently.