The negotiation process is often complicated by controversies in the position of the opposing parties, which initiate negotiations. At the same time, it is also necessary to take into consideration the possibility of the appearance of some unexpected obstacles to the negotiation process. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the case of truck drivers’ negotiation with the government. In fact, the process of negotiation involved representatives of truck drivers and the government. They focused on the solution of the problem of the optimization of the work of truck drivers, which emerged a number of arguable issues both the government and truck drivers need to come to agreement at. In such a situation, it is very important to analyze the negotiation process and its outcomes in order to understand the extent to which negotiation and decision making process can be complicated and, what is more important, this negotiation process revealed the importance of compromises and consensus which can facilitate negotiation and result in taking decision which satisfies all parties involved in the negotiation process.
First of all, it should be said that the negotiation process was not properly organized from the beginning that provoked complications which raised serious obstacles on the way to the resolution of contradictions between negotiating parties. What is meant here is the fact that drivers were apparently underrepresented during the negotiation process. At any rate, their representatives have failed to adequately communicate with drivers and the government. To put it more precisely, truck drivers have started active protests regardless of the negotiation between their representatives and the government. This means that they were not confident in the ability of their representatives to defend interests of truck drivers. At the same time, active protests of truck drivers indicate to the inability of their representatives to convince drivers that they are able to accomplish negotiations successfully.
Anyway, it is obvious that, at least, a part of truck drivers believed that their representatives conducted negotiations ineffectively. This was the major reason for their active protests. In such a context, the policy of state agencies was also highly controversial. On the one hand, they attempted to stop active protests of truck drivers and re-establish a normal social order. On the other hand, they arrested some truck drivers which actually performed the role of hostages in the negotiation process. In other words, the government apparently strengthened its position in the negotiation process due to the arrests of truck drivers who started active protests against measures which were supposed to be introduced by the government. Obviously, arrests weakened the position of truck drivers and their representatives that, in all probability, was a controversial effect compared to initial expectations of truck drivers. At this point, it is possible to estimate that negotiation process proves to be more effective tool, which can be used to achieve positive results for all parties involved in some disputes, while active protests and social disobedience can weaken the position of the protesting party or its representatives in negotiations.
However, active protests of truck drivers can be justified by their original expectations to force the government to accept their demands and either to reject the idea of changes concerning the legal norms of work and taxation policy in regard to truck drivers or take the decision that will meet demands of truck drivers. In all probability, truck drivers counted for inability of the government to oppress active protests or, at least, they expected to use active protests to back up the position of their representatives during the negotiation process. But, in actuality, the plan of truck drivers, if there was any, has failed and resulted in arrests of truck drivers.
In such a situation, the position of representatives of truck drivers proves the fact that they did not arranged active protests of truck drivers and, what is more, they were unaware of truck drivers’ intention to start active protests. The reason is obvious ”“ representatives of truck drivers did not stop negotiations and they did not initiate a large scale but official protests against actions of the authorities and the intentions of the government to introduce changes that did not meet interests of truck drivers. Instead, representatives of truck drivers continued negotiations and needed to give in to the government at certain points to minimize the punishment of the arrested truck drivers.
At this point, it is necessary to focus on the basic points of the negotiation process in order to define its efficiency and outcomes for both parties involved. The major problem, which actually provoked active protests of drivers, was the intention of the government to introduce changes concerning the working hours of truck drivers. The government attempted to reduce the working hours of truck drivers in order to increase safety of their work and minimize the risk of accidents caused by the poor physical state of truck drivers resulting from long working hours. However, truck drivers apparently opposed such a decision because it would affect directly their incomes since the longer they work the faster they can deliver the cargo and, therefore, the more they can earn.
In addition, the government was going to introduce a fuel tax, which was apparently a priority for the government because it could increase consistently the budget revenues, while truck drivers did not consistently to the introduction of the fuel tax. Anyway, the fuel tax was secondary to drivers compared to decrease of the working hours. Initially, the negotiations were supposed these two issues and, potentially, the negotiation process could be quite effective because when two important issues with different value for the two parties were involved, the parties could find a compromise which could meet their interests and expectations the most (Mohrman, 1998).
To put it more precisely, the government needed the introduction of the fuel tax badly, while truck drivers attempted to preserve longer working hours per day. Consequently, it would be logical to negotiation on this problem and reduce the working hours slightly or refuse from such a reduction at all for a time being, while, instead, truck drivers could agree on the introduction of a new fuel tax. Ideally for truck drivers, they could preserve their working hours and accord the fuel tax, while the government aimed at both the reduction of the working hours and introduction of the fuel tax. In such a context, active protests of truck drivers turned out to be beneficial to the government in the negotiation process. To put it more precisely, the arrests that followed the active protests of the truck drivers raised a new issue, which became even more important for truck drivers than the introduction of a new fuel tax, the release of arrested truck drivers. In such a way, the government could minimize the punishment of truck drivers, but, in exchange, it could negotiate both the reduction of working hours and the introduction of a new fuel tax.
Obviously, after the arrests the position of truck drivers and their representatives became less advantageous compared to their position prior to the arrests. As a result, representatives of truck drivers had to give in to the government and negotiations resulted in a compromise, according to which the maximum number of driving numbers was reduced to nine, the government imposed a new fuel tax, and the government made no charges against truck drivers, who were arrested in the result of their active protests.
On analyzing the outcomes of the negotiations, it should be said that, taking into consideration the negotiation process and initial objectives of the negotiating parties, the outcomes basically meet interests of both the government and truck drivers. In this respect, it should be said that the reduction of the driving hours and the release of arrested truck drivers were two crucial points in the negotiation process, while the government focused on the introduction of the fuel tax above all and, secondary, on the reduction of driving hours per day. Therefore, truck drivers basically met their objectives since their colleagues were released and driving hours were reduced to nine, while the government insisted on the reduction to eight hour per day. At this point, it is important to underline that the volume of the reduction of driving hours and release of truck drivers was practically equal for truck drivers, while such a reduction practically met the objectives of the government.
However, the government was not intent to make no charges against truck drivers arrested after the active protests, but, on the other hand, the government needed to introduce a new fuel tax (See Appendix). In such a way, the government preferred to refuse from charges against the truck drivers in exchange for the new fuel tax, which the government could have introduced after the end of the negotiations. In such a way, the negotiating parties arrived to the compromise which basically met their objectives and satisfied both parties involved.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the negotiation process between representatives of truck drivers and the government was complicated by the interference of truck drivers who organized active protests and were arrested in the result of their protests. Hence, the negotiation referred to three major points: the reduction of the driving hours, introduction of a new fuel tax, and charges against arrested truck drivers. The parties involved managed to find a consensus which satisfied both truck drivers and the government. At the same time, the negotiation process revealed the fact that truck drivers has weakened their position consistently when they started active protests which were not accorded with their representatives, while the government managed to use arrested truck drivers as a tool to meet their major objective, the introduction of a new fuel tax as well as the reduction of the driving hours per day.