The Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations is conducting a three day mediation training in association with the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) for professional development of its senior officers and for the first time will train representatives from religious organizations to acquire mediation skills for effective resolution of conflicts and disputes in their communities.
The training which includes professional development and training of potential mediators started today until November 12 at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Suva with 15 participants from the Ministry and nine from key religious organizations in Fiji.
The Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Hon. Jioji Konrote said the Ministry is on the verge of completing all its labour reforms and has been continuously building capacity and enhancing professional skills within the Ministry for effective implementation of these reforms.
“Disputes and conflicts are not affixed to employment only but also exist in social settings such as communities or groups. The Mediation processes are unique in its features as it embraces principles of inclusiveness where both parties come to an agreement based on their own terms and decisions, enabling them to acquire amicable resolution to their cases,” Mr Konrote said.
“Therefore, this training will assist the Religious Organizations to resolve conflicts and disputes in their respective communities and social settings more effectively.”
Mr Konrote added that after the training, participants will be fully conversant with the structured mediation process based on best international practice of Interest Based Model (IBM) that is adopted by Ministry’s current Mediation Service.
The training is being conducted by two experts from SMC, a leading and professional International Training Institution and a subsidiary of the Singapore Academy of Law.
The resource personnel include George Lim, a practicing lawyer and board member of the SMC and Singapore International Mediation Institute and Ivy Le, who is an instructor and has in-depth knowledge and extensive practicing experience in mediation both locally and at international level.
The training involves hands-on and experiential learning, with combination of theory and practical application of mediation process through simulation exercises.
Mr Konrote highlighted that the Mediation Service has had progressive employment grievance settlement ratings since its inception in 2008 and now stands at 83 per cent case settlement. He added that the successful resolution of cases has had significant effects on employment relationships.
“Fiji has not experienced any strikes since the inception of the Mediation Service. The immediate intervention of mediators in potential strikes has salvaged this country from huge economic meltdowns and has increased investor confidence,” Mr Konrote said.
“This is mainly attributed to the quality and high level of training provided by the SMC using contemporary techniques and transferring skills to the Ministry’s professional mediators.”
“This result far exceeds the 75 per cent rating, which is the international standard of dispute resolution in the Asian Pacific region,” Mr Konrote said.
The SMC has played a crucial role in facilitating quality training for the Ministry’s existing mediators and had been instrumental in uplifting the mediator’s professional profile and qualification to international recognition as Accredited Mediators in 2008 and thereafter as Associate Mediators in 2010.
The Minister acknowledged the assistance and contribution provided by Mr George Lim in terms of providing quality and professional mediation training to the mediators.