Humanising The Process
The Negotiating Challenge
A client in the printing industry needed to conduct three separate negotiations quickly to avoid threatened strike action.
- Need to negotiate three Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA) with three separate unions
- History of adversarial and hostile relationships. Impending strike action threatened
- Very destabilised workforce, with fear of retrenchments
- Lead negotiators on all sides resisting negotiation assistance
- Senior management highly sceptical of achieving favourable outcomes.
How ENS Helped
We helped all sides to focus on relationship aspects and ‘humanise’ the process.
- Conducted negotiation skills training for management and union representatives (together) over 3 days
- Facilitated systematic preparation by both sides (separately)
- Developed greater awareness of the negotiation ‘process’, rather than exclusive focus on ‘content’
- Encouraged more ‘informal’ influencing & relationship work in the period leading up to formal negotiations, with changes in the selected negotiation ‘style’ of key influencers
- Client adopted very focused areas for use of ‘hardline’ tactics in a controlled way, which had not been considered previously.
Negotiations were concluded quickly, industrial action was avoided and the level of hostility significantly reduced.
- The first two agreements signed off within 6 weeks of ENS intervention
- The third union agreed and signed in a very short time frame after observing process and outcomes of the other two agreements
- Senior Management now want to start negotiations for next year’s agreements 6 months in advance.