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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2013

Collective mediation

Collective mediation is similar to collective arbitration in that it helps to resolve disputes between groups of employees (usually represented by their union) and employers.

We offer collective mediation where conciliation has failed and those involved don't wish to move to arbitration but remain committed to resolving the issues without recourse to law. Our mediators, like our arbitrators, are drawn from our independent panel.  They offer the parties recommendations designed to settle the dispute. Although these recommendations are not binding, parties are expected to seriously consider them as a basis for resolving the dispute.

Collective mediation is a completely voluntary process, so both sides must agree to take part. The mediator's terms of reference are agreed by the parties beforehand so that everyone knows what it is that the mediator is being asked to do. The process itself operates in a very similar fashion to collective arbitration, except that the mediator is likely to play a much more active part in the search for solutions than would be the case in an arbitration, and that the outcome takes the form of recommendations instead of an award.