Solving problems that arise in negotiations is an integral part of collective bargaining. The first task is to identify the problem and the second is to decide on a strategy to solve the problem. For many problems these first steps will help
Other problems may benefit from a joint problem solving approach. This page identifies a good faith approach to problem solving for complex issues. It also provides information on what to do when
Using a joint problem solving process is a sign of working in good faith and can be useful for complex issues that arise before or during negotiations. Problem solving and good faith are about trying to understand each other’s interests in an open and transparent way. It is about sharing information in an effort to find the right solution for the two parties. While the parties may have different interests, the approach to how these are discussed and resolved is important to a good and lasting resolution.
The approach involves exploring the issues and brainstorming options before leaping to conclusions! It also entails demonstrating behaviour that is respectful and reasonable so that parties promote trust and positive relationships. The main stages of a problem solving approach are
You will find a link to training tools for problem solving in the panel on the right side of the screen.
Mediators can provide skilled assistance at any phase of the bargaining process if parties consider negotiations are at an impasse or the relationship between parties has broken down. Mediators are independent and can assist to
Mediators can give you clear messages about the impact of behaviour, the strategies you may embark upon and the possibilities for working through problems, while maintaining confidentiality. Advocates, in particular, can proactively use the mediator as another avenue to work through issues.
Mediation is offered when there is a threatened strike or lock-out in an essential service; however, mediators may assist parties to resolve problems in many different stages of bargaining, including
On the right side of the screen you can access further information and resources including an article and booklet on using mediation services in disputes in collective bargaining.