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The Labour Court's latest move on Amcu reveals why it's crucial to bring in a mediator when you reach a wage negotiation deadlock

by , 22 May 2014
Earlier this week, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and platinum mining companies agreed to enter into fresh wage talks to try to end the four month long strike.

This after, Labour Court judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker persuaded them to talk. In fact, she's heading the mediation talks herself.

Labour analysts say this is the right step in the right direction.

Judge Rabkin-Naicker's move has highlighted the importance of bringing in a mediator when you reach a deadlock in wage negotiations. Read on to find out why this is crucial so you can ensure your business doesn't suffer due to strike action.

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Reached a deadlock in your negotiations? Bring in a mediator…

If, during wage negotiations, you find that your company's interests and the unions' are so far apart that you can't reach a settlement; it's time to bring in a mediator.

You must put your pride aside because a properly skilled mediator will be able to:

  • Bring calm to the proceedings;
  • Analyse the causes of the deadlock; and
  • Use techniques to break the deadlock and get the negotiations on track again.

Not convinced?

Perhaps this example will sway you…

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This example shows the importance of using a mediator when you reach a deadlock during wage negotiations

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service provides the following example that shows why it's important to use a mediator when you reach a deadlock during wage negotiations:

Let's assume you and the union are still R4 per hour apart and neither party is willing to move. You threaten to implement your wage increase offer despite the lack of agreement. The union threatens a full strike.

It's time to call in a neutral party with strong mediation skills and experience with wage disputes.

Here's why.

The mediator will be able to show you that threats and strong action will be counterproductive to an eventual settlement. He'll then work towards closing the R4 gap.

This means he may be able to re-look your figures and find a way of making a further move. The mediator may also be able analyse your employees' demands and persuade them that:

  • They've already won substantial concessions; and
     
  • The speedy settlement will allow them to enjoy these concessions right away.

The mere presence of a professional, neutral and calm influence allows you and the union to cool off and look at the situation rationally. This way, you can find a solution quickly and get back to business.

That's why it's important to bring in a mediator when you reach a deadlock. Let's hope Judge Rabkin-Naicker's intervention will bear fruit in the deadlock between Amcu and platinum mining companies.

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