The management of Best Western Plus Atlantic Hotel and the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) local union have successfully concluded their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) after mutually beneficial negotiations.
The negotiation which followed an impeccable process, was characterised by an interest based negotiation in line with Labour Act 2003, Act 651.
ADR Daily’s observation of the two-day negotiations at Takoradi in the Western region revealed that the display of candor among the parties helped to strike an early conclusion.
Mr Peter M Jimpetey-Djan, Western Regional Chairman of the ICU, sharing his views about the event, lauded the company’s management’s high level of transparency and their ability to share all the relevant information the union needed to aid their judgement.
‘Management was very open in their presentation and made us feel very part of the operations of the business,” he said, adding that many companies are not that open to workers.
“The success of the negotiation was due to the transparency of management,” he stressed, and urged other companies to emulate that practice.
Mr. Jimpetey-Djan explained that the success of negotiation in this modern day is greatly hinged on the ability of the parties to shift from the old bargaining concept which forces entrenched positions to an interest based approach as is provided for Section 97 of the Labour Act.
According to him, both workers and employers have their interests which they bring to the table to negotiate terms and conditions of employment, but both parties have to be open to the concerns of the other and not take positions based solely on their individual interests.
The interest based approach, which has become the modern trend in negotiations, ensures a “win-win result” for both workers and management.
He explained that the sharing of information was very crucial for the smooth negotiation of a Collective Agreement as it gives the union a insight into the financial and operational capacity and status of the company so as to enable them to make informed and realistic demands.
According to him, a major challenge in union and management relationship was the reluctance of management to share relevant information that will aid unions to make decisions at the negotiating table.
Some managements, he said, indulge in the falsification of the information they share with their workers, adding that such practice contradicts the provisions of Section 97(4) of the Labour Act.
Section 97(4) states that “parties to the negotiation of a collective agreement shall not make false or fraudulent misrepresentations as regards matters relevant to the negotiations.”
He said unions must empower those who lead at the negotiation table to acquire good negotiation skills that will enable them to identify management’s position and what they could offer so as to avoid unnecessary demands that will derail the process, and paramount amongst all was the negotiators use of language on the table.
The General Manager of the Hotel, Mrs. Vida Adjei, on her part, commended both the union and management teams for their exceptional display of maturity and their abidance to the rules of engagement.
She noted that adequate preparation was a very important factor for a successful negotiation.
“Managements must prepare adequately and share any information that is relevant to the process so as to not create room for breeding of perception by the unions,” she said.
She explained that trust is the bedrock for a good labour management relationship which is crucial for negotiations, and called on management of companies to be transparent and share relevant information with their unions.
Mrs Adjei attributed their success to the input of their Human Resource consultant Gamey and Gamey Group called on management of companies to acquire professional knowledge on the principles of negotiations and consult professional to make their work easier.
The Ghana Labour Act 2003, Act 651 provides that a collective agreement relating to the terms and conditions of employment of workers may be concluded by one or more trade unions and representatives of the employers’ organization.
In a bid to making this process a success, Section 97 (i) of the same Act stipulates that all parties to the negotiation of a collective agreement shall negotiate in good faith and make every reasonable effort to reach an agreement.
By Lizzy-Ann Kwagbedzi/adrdaily.com