Conciliation and mediation skills

DOLE Regional Staff Trained on Enhanced Conciliation and Mediation Skills in Laguna

Results of the training programme included adjusted performance targets for participating Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) personnel handling cases under the Single Entry Approach (SeNA), with their new performance targets reflecting the need to focus on quality and fair settlements.

Recognizing the importance of capable frontline personnel involved in conciliation and mediation, in upholding workers’ rights and industrial peace, the International Labour Organization (ILO) together with DOLE, conducted two batches of trainings on Enhanced Skills Training on Conciliation and Mediation. The series of trainings also provided an opportunity to also share on the ground experiences and good practices in dispute settlement. This series of trainings were conducted with funding support from the ILO-Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) Partnership Programme on Promoting the Right to Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining.

The SeNA is DOLE’s banner programme ensuring that all complaints first go through a 30-day mandatory conciliation and mediation period to exhaust possible means towards a fair settlement, before they are referred for arbitration.

The trainings targeted 80 selected Single Entry Approach Desk Officers (SEADOs) from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The Luzon batch was conducted last 29-31 July 2015 at El Cielito Hotel in Los Banos, Laguna. SEADOs as per DOLE Department Order 107 Series of 2010, on the Single Entry Approach (SeNA), are DOLE personnel in all offices, bureaus and attached agencies of the Department who are designated to assess, evaluate, counsel and provide basic conciliation and mediation services before the filing of a labour dispute or cases.
Some of the recommendations which participating SEADOs put forward on the implementing rules and regulations of the Mandatory Conciliation and Mediation Law include:

• Extending the mandatory period for conciliation and mediation, to allow for quality and fair settlements at the SeNA level.

• Major complaints under the SeNA should be used to prioritize specific enterprises or industries for labour inspection. There should also be synergy between the labour inspection system and follow up of implementation of settlements thru the SeNA process.

• Regular training and consultation of SEADOs to capacitate them in facilitating fair and quality settlements.

• Online portal where SEADOs can get information and guidance on how to handle different kinds of complaints, and to distinguish nuances in cases which should be exempt under the proposed implementing rules and regulations of the Mandatory Conciliation Law. These exemptions include those which are the subject of notices of strikes and lockouts, exemptions on the payment of wage increases, issues involving overseas employment, and those involving occupational safety and health issues.

Participating SEADOs expressed appreciation for the training, and the opportunity it gave them to be consulted on how the SeNA programme can be further improved. The recommendations will be integrated into the proposed implementing rules and regulations of the Mandatory and Conciliation Law which will be presented by DOLE for the National Industrial Peace Council’s (NTIPC) endorsement within the year.