top of page
  • Ed

Platinum Plated Mediation

So many songs about gold none about platinum, however we start with mediation news regarding the mining of the precious metal in South Africa.

Mediation is being sought by employers to deal with the biggest mining union in SA who have declared strike action over pay.

Anglo American Platinum Limited and Sibanye Gold Limited have said they want to try internal resolution first (always a good idea) but if that doesn’t work they will be able to turn to the country’s Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) president Joseph Mathunjwa has confirmed that “AMCU declared a dispute, which is normal during wage negotiations”

Two years ago the union demanded an increase of 47% and in the end negotiated a settlement at just over 12% - that’s negotiation theory in action start high but be prepared to settle for a reasonable sum! It’s also evidence of why in many mediations I highlight that a first offer is often nothing like the figure a party is willing to accept.

Sibanye spokesperson James Wellsted said that whilst AMCU had declared the action “we continue to engage with them and the other unions and hope to reach a mutual agreement that is fair but sustainable”

Both employers want to avoid a repeat of the sustained action from two years ago which has left Sibanye particularly exposed to losses by a slow down in production.

From mining mineral wealth to the wealth of knowledge.

Do you remember the Baton Rouge library dispute? The library’s cantilever construction failed and so emergency work had to be done to make sure the building didn’t collapse onto visiting bibliophiles.

The issue with the construction company was resolved by mediation last year and now, I’m pleased to say, that as a result the library (costing $19.2 million) will be opening, only a little bit later than anticipated.

Spencer Watss, director of the library says “They’re just trying to get all the work coordinated and get it finished…They’re taking great care to ensure everything is in good order.” By “good order” read “not collapsing”

Mark Armstrong for the parish said “We believe there may be a short delay of a couple of weeks for the substantial completion date as we are doing our due diligence to review all aspects of the final construction…If there are any additional costs associated with this work, we will pursue recovering that through litigation.”

We presume he means mediation given the result of the last mediation.

The recent devastation in the Bahamas can’t failed to have touched most people (commander of cheese perhaps not so much) but in terms of mediation when it comes to looking at resolving issues Hurricane Harvey is still having an impact.

Lloyd’s Underwriters and Insurer QBE are looking to mediate claims arising from the damage of hurricane Harvey (August/September 2017).

The claims themselves are in excess of $1 million and involves arguments over jurisdiction as well as valuation of claims.

In complicated cases where jurisdiction (authority of the court to determine the outcome) and financial settlements are intertwined it makes sense to sue mediation as this allows all parties to come to a agreement that any settlement is across the board and excludes any other (arguably duplicate) claims being brought in another court.

No doubt the insurers in that case had well drafted mediation clauses but if you don’t take some advice about those clause you can come a cropper!

In this case the repeated efforts of the claimant to metaphorically drag the defendant to mediation wasn’t enough to say that the defendant had refused mediation, nor for the 30 day time limit imposed by their mediation clause to star running. The 30 days limit was only applicable to the mediation once it began not to the selection of a mediator, so the Defendant’s delay did not constitute a breach of the pre-litigation mediation clause.

The wording of any clause requiring mediation before litigation needs to be carefully considered and if such a clause is a debar from bringing litigation it absolutely cannot be open to the kind of abusive tactic that the Defendant here employed. (Sor Tech., LLC v. MWR Life, LLC, 2019 WL 4060350 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 28, 2019))

The judge in handing down the decision said “Because the Parties had yet to refer the matter to a mediator, the thirty-day clock never began to tick. Plaintiff does not point to any other provision in the Agreement that would require the mediation to start within a specific time. The Court therefore will not impose a time limit the Parties never agreed upon in their contract”

Northwest Mediation offers help in drafting mediation into contracts for all sorts of businesses from construction to Information Technology suppliers as well as for employers for inclusion in employment handbooks and employment contracts.

As we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, timeously, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor.

By having a deep and meaningful discussions with parties the mediator elicits what the true “red-lines” are and where there is the potential for compromise, it is with this structured period of reflection that the parties are then able to reach an accord.

The flexible nature of mediation and the possible outcomes make it an ideal way to resolve disputes in an ever changing world and the open nature of discussions in mediation whilst remaining confidential allows all sides to engage fully in the process and understand the needs of all involved allowing parties to reach a conclusion which both sides can live with and move on.

There are so many situations which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public (and some lawyers) will go to avoid referral.

Whether you need a mediator to help out with a construction matter in the Northwest, or council’s plans in Cheshire, a civil mediator in London, a commercial mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Liverpool, a neighbourhood mediation in Stockport, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.

Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes, civil mediation or inheritance, wills and probate arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance wills probate mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation

8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page