Achieving Cultural Shift in Workplace Agreement Negotiations

Summary

A client in the energy industry was faced with complex workplace negotiations and impending hostile strike action. ENS was called in to intervene and facilitate peaceful negotiations between the two parties. Negotiations were successfully concluded and working relationships were dramatically improved.

Long history of adversarial relationships

With two current EBA agreements set to terminate in three months, our client expected to face a complex and hostile series of workplace negotiations. The previous EBA agreements took eight months to process and even resulted in both parties resorting to litigation.

This long history of adversarial relations between the management and the labour union had strained work relationships. Strike action, work stoppage, production disruption and hostile acts were anticipated in the upcoming negotiations.

Moreover, the local management was restricted from negotiating directly with the labour union due to restrictions imposed by an overseas global management. Adding to all these complexities were changes in industrial relations legislation, workplace reforms and other changes in federal government regulations.

Changing mindsets to achieve a cultural shift

ENS was engaged to help transform the negotiating mindset of both parties and achieve a cultural shift that would mend workplace relationships. ENS conducted negotiation skills training for both the Management Team and Union Negotiation Team. Individual coaching using the ENS Systematic Preparation method was also provided for all members of the negotiating teams. Our ENS consultant was also available on-demand during both informal and formal negotiations to iron out differences.

Improved work relationships

The negotiations were concluded before the EBA agreements expired. The costs of the current negotiations were also significantly lower than previous EBA negotiations, saving the client approximately 350% of the overall cost.

Most importantly, the relationship between the management and the workers significantly improved. There are now more productive attitudes and open mindsets towards future negotiations. Successful outcomes using ENS frameworks and programs have caught the interest of other client sites in Australia that are now keen on using our negotiation process.

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ENSI Team