arbitration and conciliation
arbitration and conciliation(INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS) one of the institutions of industrial relations which is designed to resolve stalemates in collective bargaining by means of third-party intervention (see also COLLECTIVE BARGAINING). At the request of one or more of the parties involved in an intractable dispute, independent, third-party intervention can offer:
- ‘conciliation’, the object of which is to help the parties to develop their own solutions by bringing them together and encouraging the use of agreed procedures;
- ‘mediation’, where recommendations are made by a mediator, but the parties do not commit themselves in advance to accept an arbitration award;
- ‘arbitration’, where, compulsorily or based on the consent of both parties, and within strict terms of reference, an award can be made.
The origins of conciliation and arbitration in the UK are to be found in the establishment and voluntary use of permanent boards of conciliation and arbitration in industries where employers and unions sought to avoid lockouts and strikes. The development of state provision has preserved the voluntary principle, though there have been periods when it has been eroded. Currently, the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service, which comprises representatives of employers, trade unions and industrial relations specialists, seeks to provide these services independently of government influence. In some other societies mandatory third-party intervention precedes strikes or lockouts.