Tripartite Dialogue and Capacity Building for Strengthening Mediation as Dispute Resolution Mechanism

Promoting good labour market governance institutions is one of the three major priorities identified in the Decent Work Country Programme for Timor-Leste 2016-2020.


Dispute resolution mechanism including mediation exist in Labour Law No.4, 2012 and SEFOPE officers mentioned that it is actually used in Timor-Leste. However, neither the procedure nor standards of the mediation are clear. Moreover, trade unions also feel that the mediator’s capacity is not enough to solve the dispute fairly and effectively.

Mediation in many countries is seen as fast, flexible & cheaper option compared to legal adjudication (high legal costs & delays in labour disputes resolution machinery); Parties also often prefer Mediation since solution of the dispute remains in the hands of the parties to a much greater extent than in arbitration; In Timor-Leste too mediation can be a very effective means for resolving disputes but this process needs strengthening from the point of view of - infrastructure for mediation, quality of mediation and mediators;

Based on the above, the ILO will conduct workshop to promote tripartite dialogue & capacity building for strengthening Mediation as dispute resolution mechanism on July 2019; in particular SEFOPE and related ministry will be supported to enable it to improve process quality and promote standards for self-regulation of this area of work; in this process, it would also be useful to look at standards for certification course and appointing system for Mediators to improve process quality of mediation and mediators standards;

To address the above issues, the following initiatives are proposed:
  • Capacity building of tripartite constituents (including mediators) for improving process quality of mediation and mediators’ standards; and
  • Bipartite dialogue between Employers and Workers representatives to improve industrial relations (focus on policy & practice of workplace cooperation, bi-partite dispute resolution and collective bargaining).

Output to be achieved:

  • Capacity of mediators and related officers are improved both in theory and practice, especially better understanding of mediation process, role of mediators and fundamental communication skills in a mediation;
  • Recommendations/Guidelines for improving process quality of mediation and mediation standards; and
  • Consensus on workplace cooperation and dispute resolution between employers and workers organization.