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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Frustrations eased by mediation

With the continued backlog of cases mediation is even more so now than ever the best choice to find a resolution for your dispute. Get your dispute resolved now while you can’t go anywhere you can really concentrate on what’s important and what deserves your time and energy.


Northwest Mediation continues to use Zoom, Skype and FaceTime as well as the phone and emails to resolve disputes should we add we also do live in person mediation too! So please do not feel that you cannot contact us if you would like to mediate but wish to do so remotely.


This week’s theme is frustration, I always like to reflect a little of how I am in these blogs, it gives me somewhere to start and is basically free therapy! So frustrated and let down this week by a car mechanic, more frustrated as I’d had good service previously but after a problem came up that was potentially caused by the initial work done by the mechanic I’ve been dodged and blocked when asking for them to come back and fix it. It’s how lots of people come into mediation, they had a good business relationship or a marriage that fell apart because they were let down or found they could not trust someone they had placed faith in. It’s frustrating and annoying (especially when there are delays to getting your car – or divorce – sorted out).


Fortunately mediation is quicker than the court process so (unlike waiting for an appointment at your local Name Brand Car dealership) you can get the ball rolling pretty quickly.


I’m always talking about listening in mediation, in this case it’s very relevant as the CEO of military earplugs manufacturer 3M, Michael Roman, has been told by a Florida court to attend mediation as the 260,000 claims against the manufacturer have reached a critical point of negotiation.


Judge Rogers has said that whilst progress has been good he wants to board of 3M to be fully involved and aware of the stage at which talks have arrived.


The case is complicated by 3M’s subsidiary manufacturer, Aearo Technologies LLC going into bankruptcy and the claimants mainly having focused on stopping those proceedings previously on the grounds that it is just 3M trying to dodge responsibility.


There are 330,000 filed cases with 260,000 pending and of the handful (16) cases so far 3M has lost 10, that’s a bad hit rate having now paid out $265m to just 13 claimants, I’m guessing 3 settled from those numbers.


In this case the frustration will be that the users of the plugs relied upon the manufacturer to protect them as per the promised benefits of the ear plugs only to find that they were (allegedly) not doing the job, leaving claimants with hearing loss and tinnitus.


Next up union for North East School Division education support workers CUPE 4875 (Canadian Union of Public Employees) are heading to mediation with the NESD having been frustrated over payment terms and after rejecting two previous offers.


Janice Janzen for CUPE 4875 said they remain “committed to engaging in constructive dialogue with the North East School Division in order to reach a fair and equitable resolution. We are eager to resume negotiations with a skilled mediator and find a path forward that recognises the value of education support workers and addresses our long-standing wage concerns “.


Although I’m without a car I’m happy to pop on a plane and come over to assist should the parties want me.


Meanwhile on the oil rigs workers are equally frustrated by non-movement in pay talks.


Safe, Industri Energi and DSO unions and Norwegian Shipowners' Association (NSA) have been in talks to avoid disruption of exploration, 800 workers are involved though any strike will not impact on production so shouldn’t give HMG another excuse for increased prices, though when did facts stop this government?


It’s the usual position going into mediation the employer representatives say that the employees (mostly in the drilling side of the business) are not taking into account the impact of the world economics whereas other workers on the rigs (employed directly by the drilling and oil companies) have accepted pay rises on the table so there is a precedent.


The big difference is that those currently in negotiation are mainly independent contractors (think Bruce Willis in Armageddon) so are not bound to accept the same terms as direct employees, who from the descriptions operate in a wholly different area of work.


A bonus 4th story this week which just appeared in my feed as I was about to send this off, just a quick reminder of estates and inheritance mediation, great talk last week by Kings Chambers on the topic of challenging solicitors’ fees in this area of work, I used to be known as a bit of a costs guru and can still cost a file in about 5 minutes so do give us a call!


The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary, it’s confidential, the mediator is independent, by using those pillars to support your work the parties keep control, save costs, save time and energy and reduce stress.


In person or via electronic media 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 so you can get out choose a different path, not quite the road less travelled but perhaps the path less adversarial. You have an interest in the outcome the sooner you get round the mediation table the quicker you can move forward and avoid the grilling a cross examination in court would put you through.


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 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 me at Northwest Mediation on 0161 667 4418 or via email at ed.johnson@northwestmediation.co.uk

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


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