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Negotiation involves discussions between parties with the aim of reaching an agreement Effective negotiation focuses on common interests fosters relationships considers a variety of alternatives and results in a commitment to action Moffitt Bordone 2012 Negotiation is often a better alternative to industrial action as it provides a channel for collaborative problem solving and avoids unproductive conflict Many industrial disputes result from a failure to negotiate particularly in relation to enterprise bargaining agreements The 1998 Waterfront Dispute in Australia is one such example This essay analyses the 1998 Waterfront Dispute through the lens of employee relations and negotiation A study of the 1998 Waterfront Dispute is still relevant today as it provides a good illustration of what can happen when a party refuses to negotiate It aims to determine the actions of each primary party and the consequences these actions had It provides realistic recommendations to address these actions and in particular recommends negotiation as a preventative strategy Information has been gathered from a variety of sources Emphasis is placed on theories of negotiation when discussing recommendations Limitations to the discussion predominately include potential bias by authors commenting on the dispute a lack of information on past attempts by the parties to negotiation and limited knowledge of the industry A pluralist perspective towards industrial relations has been taken It is recognised that social structures create groups with potentially different interests and goals and there conflict is inevitable but legitimate Conflict should be used as an opportunity for communication and relationship building Employers should value reconciliation and unions must realise compromises may at times be necessary It is suggested that the waterfront industry heavily influence by class conflict had a typically capitalist structure that resulted in unequal power distribution The government supported the more powerful party the employer Consequently whilst the analysis and suggestions made in this essay are from a pluralist perspective it is necessary to note that the culture surrounding the dispute on
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