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Effective Negotiations with Trade Union Workshop

Trade union negotiations can be tough; morale, reputation and bottom line are all at risk. The landscape is set to shift under the new government and employers need to get staff match fit for Union negotiations. Inexperience will cost your organisation dearly and publicly.

Time: 0930 - 1630

Cost: £395 + VAT per attendee

Date: Tuesday, 22nd October '24

For well over two decades we have been preparing delegates for optimum outcomes in tough Union negotiation settings. This expert-led course, featuring trainers with front-line experience, is run under the Chatham House Rule. In a practically-focused day, delegates are walked through strategy, background, a case study, preparation and delivery to engage effectively with Trade Unions. 

Attend this five-star-rated Trade Unions negations workshop to:

  • Get a valuable update on the new legislative framework; what laws are changing under Labour and how should employers be preparing?
  • Understand the psychology, process and behaviours of the negotiating process
  • Gain insight into the impact of the new Labour administration on UK industrial relations and legislation
  • Learn from valuable experience of successful practitioners
  • Monitor, manage and influence social media challenges
  • Maximise your relationship with your workplace Unions and develop a joint-problem-solving culture
  • Explore and learn new skills to successfully resolve real-life negotiations
  • Move past brinksmanship and stalemate to facilitate honest, open dialogue
  • Take part in practical exercises and scenarios 
  • Learn how to foster positive Union relations both day-to-day and during negotiations

Why train with us

This live workshop addresses current employer challenges and explores effective negotiation tools, techniques, and the latest legal updates, solutions, policies, and strategies. It's the UK's longest-running training course of its kind and we have delivered the tools to tackle Union negotiations to thousands of employees.

Learn from top industry experts, engage in practical exercises, participate in a live Q&A, and receive a specialist-developed negotiating toolkit. 

Delegate feedback:

“This course really helped me understand where the Unions are coming from and gave me some excellent tactics to use when the talks get rocky”

"I needed my whole team to upskill in the face of unexpectedly tough Union negations and they came back full of confidence and brand new strategy. Thank you!"

“I have booked all my line managers to attend this course: it is the best preparation they can have for a protracted and difficult negotiation process” Head of HR, Transport Company

"I was sceptical about how much I'd be able to learn in zoom in a day - I can't believe how much I learned and how valuable the practical scenarios were. Highly recommend!"

“I feel ready to sit at the table with our reps and am really confident now I understand the process and how to move things past a single issue”

"Very helpful in terms of presenting and making it practical, difference between comms, consultation and negotiation." - DVSA

Platform: Zoom - An encrypted zoom platform with password access. Click here for further information and to test access 

Which functions will benefit from attending

  • Directors, Senior Managers, HR and Recruitment professionals, Employee and Industrial Relations, Employment Policy, Legal, Trade Union Representatives, Employment Law, Operations, Conciliation and Arbitration, Directors and Managers with industrial and employee relations responsibilities

Hear from


Welcome and introduction

Learning objectives

A chance to meet fellow delegates and establish your learning objectives and outcomes for the day. Without deviating from the published agenda, our expert trainers will incorporate as many delegate-flagged challenges as possible. Alongside running under the Chatham House Rule, it’s one of the many ways we ensure the programme gives top value for money.

The new legislative landscape: Union relations 2024

David Hopper

David Hopper

Lewis Silkin LLP

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Lewis Silkin LLP logo

David Hopper

Partner , Lewis Silkin LLP

David Hopper is a Partner at Lewis Silkin in London, which Legal 500 2022 recognises as being noted by some as having ‘the strongest team in the UK for some industrial relations issues, particularly union recognition’. David specialises in advising on industrial relations, with Chambers UK having repeatedly commended him for his expertise in collective employment law and referred to him in 2022 as ‘outstanding’. He is regularly called upon by employers to develop proactive industrial relations strategies. This includes negotiating collective agreements and advising on their operation in practice. He also advises on all aspects of industrial action, including union balloting, picketing and the strategic considerations involved in deciding whether to seek a strike injunction. David regularly advises employers with both unionised and non-unionised workforces on business reorganisations, business transfers and labour cost reductions. He also regularly defends collective employment law proceedings in the Central Arbitration Committee and Employment Tribunal. He has acted for clients at all levels up to the Supreme Court.

What legal issues must employers consider right now?

  • The difference between recognition, collective and national agreements;
  • The legal framework, how a collective agreement works (ie. Incorporation), the formalities required to make a collective agreement;
  • How collective bargaining works in practice; the sectoral bargaining developments and response

Managing traditional and legacy TU agreements

  • Dealing with disputes, internal and external dispute resolution
  • Are you prepared for negotiation: what legal & contextual awareness should be in place?

Interactive legal Q&A

Come armed with issues and challenges and put your questions directly to our experts. With reference to the areas highlighted during the breakout sessions, we will deliver solutions that are both strategic and pragmatic.

Recent case law: what lessons can be learnt?

  • Kostal
  • Tesco
  • Mercer

Comfort break

Approaches to negotiation: essential elements to consider

Simon Long

Simon Long

Senior Advisor

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Acas logo

Simon Long

Senior Advisor , Acas

Having worked in ACAS for over 20 years Simon has developed particular expertise in helping Trade Unions and Managers achieve the best mutual outcomes from their working relationship. In addition, Simon also carries out mediations, conciliations and plays an integral role in London's training program, delivering courses in our London offices or in-company. Simon has a wealth of experience in tailoring training and business solutions to meet the unique requirements of individual organisations. This comes in part from previously working as an Individual Conciliator in ACAS, dealing with a huge variety of scenarios arising from employer - employee disputes. Simon holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution and is the designated Adviser for organisations in Islington, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey and Waltham Forest.

  • Update on trade union agendas and objectives: what do employers need to be aware of?
  • Union styles and agendas: a round-up of key differences and approaches
  • How can union policies & processes impact your negotiation?
    • local vs. national policies
    • dealing with different levels of union representation
  • The difference between communication, consultation & negotiation
  • Overcoming resistance to change
  • Why do talks break down?: Encouraging and communicating directness & transparency, failure to share information, use of specific terms
  • Intersection of Employee Relations and Industrial Relations: strategies to mitigate future challenges
  • How to approach negotiations – attitudes & pre-conceptions: building better relationships with trade unions prior to negotiation & consultation

Real life negotiations and lessons from industry

Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith

ER Consultant

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Thales logo

Graeme Smith

ER Consultant , Thales

  • Establishing and communicating clarity of direction
  • Building cooperation between the company and union(s)
  • Foreseeing and deflecting predictable areas of dispute
  • The importance of preparation: a checklist
  • Tactics and strategy to be aware of
  • War stories and lessons learned


Masterclass I: Principles of negotiation

Jacquie Findlay

Jacquie Findlay

HR4U Ltd

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HR4U Ltd logo

Jacquie Findlay

Director , HR4U Ltd

  • Perceptions – TU strengths & weaknesses
  • Strategic planning: Core Business Objectives: Identifying the actual issue from the 'noise'
  • How to prepare for a negotiation using principles: 15 questions & their multiple uses including:
  • Moving away from point-scoring to constructive dialogue and building shared outcomes - avoiding confrontation
  • Supporting representatives facing issues with members
  • A detailed insight: How does the negotiation process work?
  • The practicalities: anatomy of a negation-Understanding the process
    - What are the different options?
    - What happens if the demands can’t be met?
    - Negotiation behaviours and types and when best to deploy each one
    - Ballots, sign offs, communication strategies and mutual understanding
  • Option-based negotiation model: Decision making timescales – in the moment vs. considered; ensuring best outcomes & better operations

Comfort break

Masterclass II: Negotiation scenario exercises and roleplay

Delegates will have the chance to put what they have learnt throughout the day into practice and develop their negotiation skills and approaches in this valuable training exercise. Each group will use one of the four negotiation approaches and will be fed realistic updates and changes to ensure the experience is as realistic as possible. Trainers and facilitators will support throughout. Attendees will receive detailed feedback including lessons learnt from other examples and insight into how we can get tricky negotiations right. Delegates will leave this session with a toolbox including:

  • What language to use and when
  • Strategies to remain objective and impersonal
  • Non-verbal communication awareness
  • Ability to actively listen
  • How to deal with facts and evidence
  • How to avoid team and individual bias
  • Boundary setting techniques and guidelines

Wrap-up and outstanding questions

End of workshop

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