Essential Knowledge and Skills for Managing in a Unionised Environment

08 July 2019

When employers are approached by unions in the workplace, they have two basic options – they can resist, or they can co-operate. In the South African context, the political environment and the law make it practically very difficult to resist unions without seriously damaging consequences. Therefore, most employers choose to co-operate with unions in the workplace. However, doing so does involve some difficult challenges that, if they are handled well, can result in co-operation with a union being beneficial to an employer.

It is true that co-operation does involve some curtailment of management’s ability to act unilaterally and it is testing to work out what management can do unilaterally; with information sharing; with consultation; with negotiation; or only by joint agreement. In order to deal with this challenge, management needs to clearly understand what its legal rights and obligations are and to know what level of co-operation will reap the greatest benefit for it.

Management also needs to know how best to communicate and engage with a union in information sharing, consultation, and dispute meetings as well as how to negotiate effectively and handle disciplinary processes with union involvement.

If it addresses these challenges effectively there are important benefits to be gained. Co-operation helps management identify the causes of conflict at an early stage and to nip conflict in the bud. It also helps management to address conflict aggravators and to introduce conflict moderators that prevent the unnecessary manifestation of conflict. This all contributes to a more peaceful, productive and profitable enterprise.

If you would like to hear more about the training that Conflict Dynamics offers to assist management to address the challenges of managing in a unionised environment and in handling workplace conflict and negotiation effectively then call Craig on +2711 669 9678 for more information. Learn how to handle these challenges at our one-day workshop on 21 August 2019. Click HERE to book.

John Brand

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