Negotiating with Employees & Unions

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How to get the best possible results from union negotiations

Are you satisfied with your collective agreements?

A good collective agreement negotiation concludes with the business able to achieve improved labour cost ratios, productivity and employee motivation and commitment. This successful negotiation outcomes workshop is essential for human resource professionals and operations managers tasked with delivering a successfully negotiated collective employment agreement (CEA).

You will learn a step-by-step, practical and commercially weighted framework for developing a CEA strategy. Find out how to build your business case, conduct the negotiations and finalise and implement your CEA! Your managers will come away with the confidence and skill to achieve an agreement that works best for the company. Experienced and practising negotiators will work with them and show them how to do it!

Get a detailed overview of current union tactics and how to counter them

Using Adelhelm & Associates’ proven negotiating methods can result in quality agreements, improved employee/management relationships and a better working culture with unions.


Key topics covered:

  • An in-depth analysis and overview of the current CA negotiating environment in New Zealand
  • How to assess risks, opportunities and strategic options
  • Identify the essential behaviours that contribute to a high negotiating intelligence (NQ)
  • Deciding on the best person in your organisation to lead negotiations
  • Understanding the negotiating rituals and how to use them to your advantage
  • A detailed overview of current negotiating tactics used by unions and how to counter these
  • How to adjust your bargaining style to ensure you retain control of communications at the bargaining table
  • A comprehensive outline of the process and method for planning, costing and preparing a detailed business case
  • Techniques for conveying difficult business messages
  • How to get your collective agreement finalised and ratified
  • A process for overhauling your established negotiating approach to something that is more holistic and focused on modern business needs
  • The opportunity to apply and review new and different negotiating techniques


This informative and practical workshop is designed for people wishing to learn the collective bargaining process from beginning to end. It focuses on key concepts and processes that enhance skills. Attending this and our Masterclass session results in cost efficient deals for organisations. Workshops are presented in a user-friendly, non-threatening environment. You will receive a confidential analysis of your personal negotiating profile.


Looking for a quick upskill, refresher or a solid framework for upcoming negotiations? This workshop is suitable for experienced and first-time negotiators alike. Whether you’re a manager who negotiates CA’s infrequently and needs an update on the latest issues, tactics and strategies, an HR generalist looking for a comprehensive A-Z of modern collective bargaining, or a seasoned bargaining expert looking for fresh ideas, then this workshop will deliver.


8:30am - 5pm

  • Collective Bargaining principles and practices
  • Detailed overview of the ritual followed by unions when negotiating with employers
  • Understanding the interaction between politics, power and unions at a National, Regional and local level
  • The collective psychology vs. the role of the individual
  • Why the positional & adversarial negotiating model is still the most commonly used. What other options exist?
  • Preparation & planning and how this differs substantially between unions and management
  • Who are the key players and what essential attributes are required to be successful
  • A realistic and practical risk assessment process before starting negotiations

The Law

  • Review of changes and practises to collective bargaining legislation
  • New legal options for employers

Planning and getting ready for bargaining

  • How to develop a detailed business case which ensures a common clarity of purpose
  • Getting the costing and financials right and establishing organisational priorities
  • Understanding and applying the total labour cost formula
  • Establishing rules and guidelines for the bargaining encounter
  • When and how to exchange and cost claims
  • Communications strategy and tactics both internally and externally – who is responsible for what?
  • A method and sample document for analysing and costing union claims
  • A technique for evaluating the real power of each party before commencing bargaining

Let the bargaining commence

  • Method for prioritising the union’s claims
  • Understanding the interactive structure for the opening phase of bargaining
  • Where to open and when to make concessions
  • An in-depth analysis of the unique communications process when in bargaining


8:30am - 5pm

The bargaining encounter

  • The behaviour and tactics that ensure you maintain maximum control of the process
  • A detailed review of the most common tactics used by unions and how you can respond to each
  • Tactics to pressure you, wage tactics, surface bargaining tactics and other traditional union bargaining tactics
  • Which of the four negotiating styles work best in a specific situation
  • Techniques for dealing with hostile or confrontational behaviour at the bargaining table

Reaching the end and settlement

  • Tactics and behaviours which facilitate closure
  • A practical and simple process for changing your current bargaining framework

Practical bargaining – what really happens?

  • A practical and very realistic simulation which allows you as part of a group to test and experiment with the new techniques and methods learnt
  • Both groups are guided by a coach throughout, in a relaxed, friendly, no-stress environment

Can’t see what you want? Contact the team to discuss a fully-customised in-house training option.