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6 Quick steps for successful wage negotiations with a union

by , 06 December 2015
If your company's unionised, and if it doesn't form part of a bargaining council, then you'll negotiate salary increases with the union and its shop stewards.

Usually, wage negotiations take place if more than 50% of your employees are union members.

Now, it's important to ensure wage negotiations go smoothly, otherwise you could have a strike on your hands.

Here are 6 quick steps for you to follow for successful wage negotiations with a union:

Step#1: Define the bargaining unit

A bargaining unit is a group of union members who hold organisational rights.

Anyone can join a union, but the union will not necessarily negotiate their salaries if they're not part of the bargaining unit.

Managers and supervisors are always excluded from the bargaining unit.

Step#2: Analyse the union's demands

You should receive these with a request for a first meeting to negotiate wages.

Assess them and decide how you'll deal with them, alongside deciding what's negotiable and what isn't.

Avoid giving your employees a 52% salary increase...

When employees go on strike they'll do anything to get you to meet their demands...

Would you be able to afford to give your employees a 52% salary increase and still be able keep your company?

Find out how you can avoid falling victim to striking employees here.
Step#3: Clarify your mandate

Decide on what level you're prepared to settle on. This can be done by looking at your budget and CPIX.

Don't make your negotiations so rigid that they actually turn into a dispute and possible strike action.

You should have a settlement goal to work towards.

Step#4: Plan a negotiating strategy

The whole negotiation should result in a win-win situation, or even a lose-lose situation where both parties must give up something.

Decide on where you'll begin negotiating and where you intend to end up. You should always have a Plan A, B and maybe even a C depending
on what unfolds during the negotiations.

Step#5: Manage the process effectively

Be fair and open minded in negotiations. Remember to listen before speaking. And go into negotiations willing to commit.

Negotiations can also be an opportunity to build solid relationships.

Step#6: Complete all the paperwork

Ensure that you record the final details once the negotiation has come to close, and that management and union organisers sign this agreement.
*To learn much more on each of these steps, subscribe to the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management today.

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