What does “negotiate in good faith” mean?

Negotiating in good faith is not just a good idea, it’s an obligation! As well, trade union disagreements during a negotiation have to follow certain rules.

On the site of the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés, Mtre Karl Jessop, CRIA and a lawyer and partner at Cain Lamarre, explains clearly and simply what it means to negotiate in good faith. Here are some highlights from the interview.

Before the fight, Mtre Jessop says, the firm intention to resolve the demands must be present themselves, on both sides. Nor should discussions take place through hidden or predetermined negotiations before negotiations open at the bargaining table. It is necessary to be prepared and available to complete the discussions.

Throughout the negotiations, it is necessary to demonstrate a good attitude, with the sense of wanting to settle, not without compromise, the union members’ working conditions. Of course, tensions and more muscular discussions can take place. On the other hand, good faith also means respect between negotiators.

You don’t choose your opponent. The law prohibits the withdrawal of a designated person for any reason whatsoever. So an employer cannot interrupt negotiations or refuse to negotiate with a designated member at the bargaining table, even if that individual has been fired.

The Labour Code closely defines the rules of the game essential to the good conditions of the two parties involved. The Code also provides for monetary fines for certain reprehensible behaviours or gestures, such as refusing to attend meetings, categorical refusals of negotiations, threats of strikes or lock-outs.

In summary, the art of negotiating is not the only attribute. Good faith and the desire to negotiate well and to compromise are preferable to contempt and intimidation. This also applies to non-unionized workers. HR professionals are not only company program managers, they also support every individual that makes up the business…

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