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The Employment Relations Tribunal

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions
(1)
What is the procedure when there is a labour dispute?
  A labour dispute may be reported by or on behalf of any party to the dispute, to the President of the Commission for Conciliation and Mediation after meaningful negotiations have taken place between the parties and a stage of deadlock has been reached.  The Commission may, where no agreement is reached between the parties in the case of a labour dispute reported by an individual worker, with the consent of the worker refer the labour dispute to the Tribunal for arbitration.  
 
(2) Is it possible for a party to a labour dispute to appear before the Tribunal without the assistance of a legal representative?
 
It is possible but not advisable specially in complex cases where points in law may be raised.
 
(3) Can a trade union appear or lodge a case before the Tribunal just like an individual worker?
  The Employment Relations Act 2008 provides instances where applications can only be made by trade unions (example for recognition) and instances where applications can be made by either a trade union or an individual worker, for instance, in the case of a joint referral of a dispute by both parties for voluntary arbitration.  However, in the case of labour disputes reported to the Commission for Conciliation and Mediation, the matter can ultimately be referred to the Tribunal only in cases of disputes reported by an individual worker.
 
(4)
Can parties question the interpretation of specific parts of an Award?
  Yes and they are generally advised to consult their legal adviser.
 
(5)   Can parties apply for the variation of specific Awards?
 
An Award which is in force may be varied through negotiation between the parties when there is a change in circumstances.  If one of the parties refuses a variation, the Tribunal may on hearing the parties vary the Award if it is satisfied that there has been, since the making of the Award, a change in circumstances which justifies such a variation.  It is apposite to note that under the old law, an Award was valid for two years whereas now there is no such timeframe for the validity of an Award.