Appointment of Arbitration Panel

A panel of three Arbitrators is selected to hear the dispute (the Arbitration Panel).

Each party must choose an Arbitrator from their list to hear the case by completing an Arbitrator Selection Form

  • The worker party selects an Arbitrator from the Employee List
  • The employer party selects an Arbitrator from the Employer List
  • The two arbitrators selected by the parties select the third Arbitrator from the Ministry List

 The Secretariat will then schedule the hearing date and notify the parties of the date.

Overview of Hearing Process

Both the employer party and worker party are required to attend the arbitration hearing, as well as any other sessions called by the Arbitration Panel. Persons directly involved in a dispute and any relevant witnesses for either party should also attend the hearing.

The style of each Arbitration Panel may vary, but in general the arbitration hearing takes between two to four hours. However it may take longer than this if there are many issues or they are particularly complex. The Arbitration Panel will sometimes schedule a second or third hearing.

The hearing will include the following steps: 

  • The Arbitrators explain his/her role and the manner in which the hearing is to be run.
  • The Arbitrators will ask each party to introduce themselves briefly.
  • The Arbitration Panel tries to help parties resolve their dispute by agreement during an informal voluntary conciliation. 
  • If no settlement can be reached during the conciliation, then the Arbitration Panel proceeds to formal mandatory arbitration. 
  • The Arbitration Panel can require the parties to provide additional evidence or information and will set a deadline or additional hearing for the submission of such information. 

All sessions of the Arbitration Council are closed to the general public, unless there is agreement to allow observers.  

What is conciliation?

Conciliation is a process whereby the Arbitration Panel gives the parties assistance to try and resolve the issues in dispute by agreement. During conciliation, the Arbitration Panel can allow or ask questions. The Arbitration Panel may meet with each party separately. If a settlement can be reached, the Arbitration Panel may help in drafting the parties’ agreement. Any agreement is a private matter between the parties. If all issues are conciliated then no decision is published on the website. If the parties fail to reach agreement by conciliation, the Arbitration Panel will proceed to arbitration. 

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a process whereby the Arbitrators hear arguments and review evidence to decide on the merits of a case by issuing a decision, the Arbitral Award. Arbitrators ask parties whether they choose in advance to be bound by the Arbitral Award (please see section below entitled “Arbitral Awards”). Arbitrators ask questions to parties about their case and may examine witnesses or documents. Parties should present their arguments and submit evidence to support their case.

Arbitral Awards

An Arbitral Award is the official name for the final written decision of the Arbitration Council.  The final decision of an Arbitration Panel regarding a labour dispute case becomes the Arbitral Award of the Council. Generally, an Arbitral Award is issued within 15 working days from the date the Council receives a case. 

Binding and Non Binding Awards

During the arbitration hearing process, before the Arbitration Panel begins the formal mandatory arbitration, the Panel will ask the parties whether they choose a binding or non-binding Arbitral Award.

  • If both parties agree to a binding Arbitral Award, then the decision of the AC is immediately enforceable.  This means that, by law, the parties must follow the terms of the Arbitral Award once it is issued.
  • If both parties do not agree to a binding Arbitral Award (for example, one or both parties choose a non-binding Award), this means that the decision of the AC is not immediately enforceable; instead, either party can file an opposition to the Arbitral Award with the SAC within eight calendar days of the date the Award is issued.

If either party files an opposition within the eight day limit, then the Arbitral Award will not be enforceable.

If neither party files an opposition to the Arbitral Award within the 8 days limit, then the Award will become enforceable.


Maximum Time Limits


Interim Steps



Collective dispute reported to labor Inspector (Art. 303) 48 hours


Minister appoints conciliator (Art. 304) 15 days

Conciliation agreement/report (Art. 305) 48 hours

Report  sent to Minister (Art. 308)

19 days


Referral to Arbitration Council

3 days


Appointment of Arbitration Panel (Art. 310) 3 days


Arbitration Panel meets (Art. 310)

Decision by Arbitration Panel (Art. 313) Immediate

Notification of Minister Immediate

15 days



45 days