08/03/2014Bargaining Strategy, Bargaining, Negotiation


A client manufacturing and distribution company put an ultimatum to staff that they wouldn’t do a new EBA agreement without reducing the overly generous redundancy pay provisions included in the existing EBA agreement. The current redundancy provisions arose by taking the best of two separate agreements that were merged into a single agreement in a previous negotiating round.

Realising the error, the employer was intent on rectifying their mistake.

Employees immediately assumed the company wanted to make people redundant – which they didn’t!


Ill feeling and suspicion.


We recommended the company needed to recover the situation, partly by communicating their "mistake” via a timed promise that they were not going to make anyone redundant.

But perhaps more importantly, their actions needed to reinforce their words, so they also needed to change tack to communicate there was no immediate need to change the agreement, although this would inevitably delay any further wage increases that would come with a new agreement.

Whilst the company may have“banked” some of the wage saving associated with the delay in the EBA finalisation, more importantly there was still some damage control required around trust and good will.

Moral of the Story?

Make sure that your bargaining strategy is actually consistent with your goals.

*Fred Bolling and Steve Champion have combined experience of almost 70 years of working in the IR negotiating area, across automotive, construction, manufacturing, coal mining and retail (food service) industries in Australia and overseas. Fred and Steve together deliver the outstanding two day “Advanced EBA Negotiating Skills & Planning” Masterclass. Fred and Steve also offer shorter, sharper, in-house company specific learning and development platform and strategy sessions for your upcoming EBA negotiations. 

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