There have been 10 enquiries received by the Produce and Grocery Industry Ombudsman (PGIO) between 1 July 2009 and 30 June 2010. 1 enquiry was received online, while the other enquiries were received via telephone.
In regards to enquiries it has been the philosophy of the PGIO to attempt to facilitate early resolution before an application for mediation is received. We have found that by bringing the other party’s attention to the complaint and allowing them a set period of time in order to negotiate directly, many of the matters raised can be settled at this early stage.
For each enquiry received, our office has provided an information pack and explained our role. 6 enquirers have requested that the PGIO contact the other party to encourage direct negotiation and, where appropriate, to facilitate early negotiations. Only 1 of these enquiries will proceed to mediation after July 2010, with both parties agreeing to be part of the mediation process.
2 mediations have been conducted during this period, both relating to applications received late in the previous reporting period. Both mediations resulted in settlement.
The success rate of the PGIO’s facilitative approach to disputes remains encouraging. Given the low level of mediation applications, it would seem that this approach is working well within the produce and grocery industry at this point in time. Recent telephone enquiries indicate that the industry seem to value the safety net that the PGIO role provides and the confidential nature of the dispute resolution service.
It is also encouraging to note that parties have been willing to attend mediation, despite there being no compulsion to do so under the voluntary Code.
The PGIO has undertaken an extensive set of education and promotional activities over the past twelve month period in both city and regional areas. We welcome the opportunity to speak with industry groups about the dispute resolution service we provide.
The nature of enquiries received by the PGIO varies. Growers or grower representatives have made the majority of enquiries (9) and one (1) enquiry was made by a wholesaler. Each enquiry has related to either a grower-packer/processer/transporter/wholesaler relationship or in the latter case a small wholesaler and larger wholesaler relationship.Issues raised include: