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Mind the Gap
– Workplace Mediation

With the end of furlough in the UK comes the possible onset of redundancy, grievance, unfair treatment, reluctance to travel on public transport, reluctance to be work for health concerns and so on. One can sense a storm brewing. All mediators will surely believe that we are perfectly poised to help those with workplace disputes stay in control of their disputes, arrive at sensible outcomes, doing this in good time and at a very reasonable cost compared to tribunals or the courts.

You might equally think with many people in a lot of pain now, this is the moment for mediation to really seize its chance and become the chosen form of workplace dispute resolution.

I’m getting quite a few enquiries via the Civil Mediation Council’s (CMC) website, so far so good you think (and thank you by the way to CMC). People are finding out about mediation and mediators, probably mainly through Google searches of small claims courts and the like. But that’s where we run into a problem in my opinion. Participants like what they read about mediation, they are right up for it, but do they truly understand it? Not only is the other potential participant blissfully unaware that the dispute is starting to formalise, they’ve also probably no idea about mediation itself. I’ve been asked a number of times to contact the other participant and get them onboard with mediation. I worry that we are being seen as debt collectors with a twist, the twist being the skill to mediate their dispute once all the ducks are in a row.

There’s a few gaps to be filled for mediation to become truly mainstream – education and knowledge of it, access to it andreceive genuine professional advice to use it, putting their clients’ interests ahead of fee income. The last one needs an ethical swing from where we are currently. Now is the time for us all to step up with mediation and help those that have enough on their plate already.


Robert Gerrard

Accredited Mediator Registered with CMC for workplace, civil & commercial mediation.