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Seven tips to fine-tune your negotiating tactics with unions

by , 05 August 2013
If you've agreed to negotiate wages in a binding and valid collective agreement with a registered trade union you have a legal duty to do so. But, the biggest mistake you could ever make is to walk into wage negotiations with a trade union without fundamental knowledge and skills of collective bargaining. But you can avoid this. Here are seven tips you can use to negotiate wages successfully with unions so you can avoid a deadlock.

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service defines wage negotiations as a process where you and your employees jointly decide on the wage increase amount through a process of bargaining.

When walking into these negotiations, your number one goal isn't to beat the union, but to seek a win-win settlement. You want a settlement that not only satisfies your workers, but that also allows your future relationship with the union and workers to be based on trust and respect.

Here are a few tips that'll help you do this successfully

Avoid a wage dispute by using these seven tips to negotiate wages with success

#1: Whether there's industrial action or not, always keep calm.

#2: Never act in anger inside or outside the negotiation room.

#3:Don't use humour at the wrong time.

For example, if the union negotiator threatens a work stoppage don't reply: 'Well it won't matter because the employees don't work anyway'. Your joke could backfire on you as the union official might report your comment to the workers who could then go on strike.

#4: Never let unsubstantiated comments go by, always insist on proof.

Firmly but tactfully highlight inconsistencies in the union's arguments. But don't do this in a hostile or demeaning manner.

Before you challenge a union statement, be sure of your own facts in case they're able to prove their statements!

For example, the union claims all your competitors pay better wages than you. You must say that you're confused as this doesn't fit with your research data. Ask the union to back its claims.

#5: Never get personal. Confine your responses to the settlement you're seeking and avoid attacking your employees' representatives.

#6:Don't respond to insults. If the union insults you, respond without emotion and remind them you're both here to achieve a settlement and not to exchange blows.

#7: Dig beneath the union's hard opening stance to discover the real needs of your workers.

For example, if the union demands you stop all Saturday overtime work. Don't assume your employees don't want to work on Saturdays because it makes their work week too long.

They may only need time off to go to the bank to draw their wages. You can resolve this if you install an ATM nearby your premises. Or you can change their shift arrangements so they can run their errands.

Use these tips to ensure you negotiate wages with unions successfully.

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