Call to book: 01983 861133

The Principles of Negotiation


Negotiating with unions can go wrong; when it does, the cost to your organisation will be huge. Industrial action, low staff morale, a disrupted workplace and negative reputation can all be avoided. The cost-of-living crisis has had a serious impact on workers and businesses alike. We must now work together on measures and resources to protect workers' jobs and conditions. Understanding the implications of the cost-of-living crisis on the process, psychology and practicality of effective negotiations will have long-reaching benefits for workers and management alike. This important programme, developed with experts as part of our 25-year track record in union: employer relationship conferences and training, addresses the real challenges and explores solutions for workers and companies.

The programme content can be adapted to meet your specific organisational challenges and training needs. The course runs for approximately 6.5 hours and can be adapted for a briefing or half-day session. 

This training programme will give confidence to those at the coal-face of union negotiations through teaching a combination of strategy, skills and scenario planning.

Learning outcomes 

By the end of the programme you will:

  • Understand how the cost-of-living crisis has changed the rules of engagement
  • Understand the legal framework of negotiations
  • Know how to plan, prepare and negotiate for success

Course Overview

Post-Covid approaches to negotiation: Trade unions response to Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis; the difference between communication, consultation & negotiation; how can union policies & processes impact your negotiation; why do talks break down: encouraging and communicating directness & transparency, failure to share information, use of specific terms; how to approach negotiations – attitudes & pre-conceptions: building better relationships with trade unions prior to negotiation & consultation.

What legal issues must employers consider right now?: the difference between recognition, collective and national agreements; the legal framework, how a collective agreement works (i.e. Incorporation), the formalities required to make a collective agreement; how collective bargaining works in practice; dealing with disputes, internal and external dispute resolution; are your employees and representatives prepared for negotiation: what legal & contextual awareness should be in place?; recent case law: what lessons can be learnt?

Masterclass I: Principles of negotiation: 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; how does the negotiation process work; option-based negotiation model: Decision making timescales – in the moment vs. considered; ensuring best outcomes & better operations.

Masterclass II: Negotiation scenario exercise - Likely trade union situations

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. Attendees will receive detailed feedback including lessons learnt from other examples and insight into how we can get tricky negotiations right.

Make an in-house training enquiry 

Click here to fill in our enquiry form or to have a confidential discussion about your requirements, please contact Catherine Ouston our Head of In-house Training on 01983 861133 or email

Book a 15-minute consultation with our course designer

Phone icon 01983861133


Let us provide your employees with the tools, skills and mindset they need to meet today's HR challenges. In-house courses to suit your budget and learning objectives.

Email us to find out more

Email icon