Mastering Labour Negotiations

Programme Information
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A practical step by step approach to wage negotiations in demanding and pressurised circumstances.

​Labour negotiations have become increasingly complex and the incorrect approach can have costly outcomes. Improperly managed wage negotiations can lead to industrial strife and loss of business. This course is designed to empower front line negotiators and those involved in providing support to the labour negotiation process, to secure sustainable outcomes. The majority of the course will be based on practical learning experiences derived from actual negotiations which have taken place.

This programme offers a practical step by step approach to wage negotiations, designed to empower employee relations specialists as well as individuals who have bargaining responsibilities, and enable them to negotiate competently in demanding and pressurised circumstances.

Who should attend?
  • Front line labour negotiators, employee relations personnel, human resources practitioners, and financial and management personnel who are involved in labour and wage negotiations;
  • Experienced negotiators as well as trainees and personnel who provide support services to the process by way of mandating, costing and legal advice; and
  • Consultants and legal advisors wishing to develop professional expertise in this area.

How you will benefit:
At the end of the programme, you will be able to:
  • Choose the right skills sets for the negotiating team;
  • Pursue appropriate negotiation strategies
  • Develop the correct approach to costing wage demands;
  • Prepare for negotiations in a manner that lays a solid foundation for engagement;
  • Negotiate in a structured, competent and professional manner;
  • Resolve deadlocks and manage industrial action, should it ensue;
  • Prepare agreements for settlement;
  • Avoid common pitfalls made by inexperienced negotiators; and
  • Gain experience through feedback from role play sessions.
Key focus areas: 
  • The basic rules governing wage negotiations;
  • Types of bargaining and bargaining phases;
  • Choosing the negotiating team and identifying skills sets;
  • Pre-negotiation engagement;
  • Costing and preparing on wage demands;
  • Wage negotiation phases;
  • Wage negotiation strategies;
  • CCMA Conciliation processes;
  • Managing industrial action; and
  • Settlement and agreement.
More information
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Nicholas Smythe has BA, Honours, LLB and LLM degrees, and approximately 20 years wage negotiations experience. He was previously Senior Manager and Head of Industrial Relations at a large mining corporation, and was the company's chief negotiator.

He previously represented the South African business community in negotiations with government and labour federations regarding labour legislation and social policy, and was a founder member of the Global Industrial Relations Nertwork based in Geneva.

He also has 9 years' experience lecturing at university and is past President of the South African Society for Labour Law Gauteng. 

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