Humanising the Process of Hostile EBA Negotiations

A client in the printing industry needed to conduct three separate negotiations quickly to avoid threatened strike action. We helped all sides to focus on relationship aspects and 'humanise' the process. Negotiations were concluded quickly, industrial action was avoided and the level of hostility significantly reduced.

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 ENSI 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 focused areas for use of ‘hardline’ tactics in a controlled way, which had not been considered previously.

Outcomes

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 our 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.

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About ENSI

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ENS International (ENSI) provides negotiation consulting and training services helping people and organizations think and act differently to achieve more. 

Negotiators gain the edge using proven ENSI influencing processes incorporating commercial psychology with a deep understanding of human behaviour. ENSI delivers through Consulting Services and In-House or Open Course training. 

With over 60 Practitioners working within 73 countries we have a depth of experience across a diverse range of sectors.

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