Committee To Look At New Ways To Resolve Workplace Disputes

Session: 2008/2009

Date: 14 January 2009

Reference: E&L02/08/09

Complex procedures to resolve workplace disputes can escalate into expensive legal action. That’s what the Assembly’s Committee for Employment and Learning has heard from the Labour Relations Agency .

At its weekly meeting, held today at Stranmillis College, the Committee took evidence from the LRA and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Chairperson of the Committee, Sue Ramsey MLA said, “This is an issue that touches all workers. We want to see the best system put in place that will be fair for workers and employers alike. The current system of dispute resolution in the workplace is under review and we are looking at ways in which it can be improved.

“It is of concern to the Committee that the current system is often not appropriate for the majority of local businesses which are small and often do not have access to professional human resources advice.

“As well as taking evidence from interested parties, the Committee is working in partnership with the Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey, to examine the options for a new, more user friendly system that will perhaps allow resolution of disputes at an earlier stage.”

As well as giving evidence to the Committee, the Labour Relations Agency also articulated a possible way forward.

ENDS

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