Die invloed van arbeidsverhoudinge op die effektiwiteit van onderhandelinge met vakbonde
Nel, Cornelius Francois
MetadataShow full item record
The labour relations history of South African is proof that little, if any, balanced labour relationship existed between employers and employees and that it took 100 years to come to the realisation to rather establish a negotiating culture than to sustain a climate of avoidance and confrontation. These 100 years in labour relations were marked by conflict, loss of life, mistrust, abuse of power and the disregard for human dignity of people of colour in particular. Briefly speaking, labour relations is a large field: from collective labour relations to the relationships between Government (State) and others, or even individual relationships. If a relationship between parties exists, communication, conversation and negotiation come into play, especially where the parties strive to function effectively. The negative influence that conflict, labour unrest, mistrust, abuse of power, etc. stemming from the history of labour relations in South Africa, have on current labour relations, is proof that labour relations is problematic and therefore the value of a stable labour relations system and especially the labour relations policy of an enterprise, cannot be underrated in the competitive world of today, as all labour related problems can be resolved through the implementation of the correct negotiating strategy and skill within the framework of collective bargaining. Negotiating skills of management representatives are crucial to bring about and maintain labour peace as labour unrest normally occurs where agreements cannot be reached around the negotiating table. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The primary goal of the research is to identify all aspects pertaining to negotiating dynamics while the secondary goal concentrates on the discussion of and the correct application of negotiating dynamics in order to guarantee maximum productivity and profit with minimum conflict and labour unrest. This research will show that healthy labour relations and the correct application of all aspects of negotiating, play an important role in establishing labour peace and decreasing industrial action through reaching agreements and therefore ensuring the growth and survival of the enterprise, benefiting all employees. METHODOLOGY During the research a literature study was undertaken based on existing literature on the management and application of all aspects of negotiations within the framework of the current labour relations system. The researcher investigated the negotiating strategies and skills that can be utilised in the negotiating process and that are highlighted in existing literature, further in order to make a contribution to the effective application of negotiating strategies and skills to ensure labour peace. MAJOR FINDINGS The correct application of negotiating strategies and skills can ensure that a relationship based on trust, respect and mutual co-operation between employers (employer organisations) and employees (employee organisations I labour unions) exists and agreements are reached efficiently and implemented in full , leading to reduced conflict and labour unrest benefiting all parties. That the negotiating process is dynamic and diverse and contains various factors that, if correctly approached, applied and implemented, can play a role in achieving success and the reaching of an agreement. That communication (including listening skills plays an important role in the labour relationship between employers and employees and therefore also in negotiations between the various parties involved in the negotiations. That the members of a negotiating team should encompass correct characteristics in order to exist as an effective and functional negotiating team and achieve success. The foundation of success in negotiations lies in the preparation and planning of the total negotiating process including all its facets. That negotiations can flounder if recommendations and decisions are not accurately documented and listed properly, so that all parties understand each aspect for implementation and joint acceptance. RECOMMENDATIONS Each employee in a supervisory position in an enterprise must realise that labour relations start with themselves and is an integral part of all processes and activities that take place within the enterprise. Each of these people is thus part and parcel of the responsibility of managing and maintaining healthy labour relations. As preparation for these responsibilities each potential manager should be trained in communication, handling of conflict and successful negotiating. In order to ensure healthy labour relations, respect, co-operation and a relationship of trust have to exist among all parties. It will contribute positively towards effective negotiations taking place and consequently reduce industrial actions. This can only be achieved through keeping employees informed (utilising effective communication channels), involving them in the decision making process where it impacts on them and also empower them. Employees and labour unions have to realise that an enterprise operates within a macro-environment that impacts vastly on labour relations and that they have to be aware of and comprehend this impact on themselves and the enterprise as this will lead to an understanding of why certain actions and decisions are taken and will also lead to more effective negotiations as unrealistic demands can be replaced by those that are more realistic and related to the enterprise. Negotiators must be positive, well trained in all facets of the negotiating process, have the correct characteristics to be an effective negotiator and be willing to do effective preparation and planning before negotiations start. CONCLUSION Labour relations cannot be seen and managed as an isolated entity, as the whole process is influenced by many internal and external factors and it can influence an enterprise as well as the country's economy negatively if it is not managed and handled cautiously. These internal and external factors offer tremendous challenges to modern-day managers (leaders), especially with regard to the management of human resources, and the consequent management of labour relations. In the new South Africa political change, economic policy and changing leg islation (labour, health, safety and environment and equal employment, to name but a few) are but a few of the realities that impact on the context with in which managers have to function and manage labour relations. All the above-mentioned cannot be managed in isolation, therefore the work force has to be informed and be part of the process. Communication, consultation and negotiating with employees and labour unions are imperative.