Track Record

Workplace Change

We see our role as being the facilitators of a cooperative and highly engaged approach to change. Some examples:

In 2012 Orora Fibre Packaging (then Amcor) and the AMWU appointed CoSolve to work with them and McKinsey & Co to turn around a distressed business across all the Australian fibre packaging sites. See the Fair Work Commission's case studies on Orora Fibre Packing: Aiming for Collaborative Transformation and Sustaining a Collaborative Model See also Bray, Macneil and Stewart Cooperation at Work (The Federation Press, 2017). These studies track the rewards and challenges of collaborative workplace change.

In 2014 Clive Thompson was retained by the International Labour Organisation to work with the social parties in Sri Lanka to develop a strategy for the modernisation of social dialogue and dispute resolution systems across that country's public service. This project was put on hold in consequence of political developments but was re-ignited again in 2021. A social education and change plan spanning several years is now underway.

Continuing work commenced by Anna Booth while at the Commission, CoSolve has supported the Australian Services Union and Aruma – a major provider of disability service – with their ongoing partnership to transform the organisation to meet customer needs in the world of the NDIS. See the Fair Work Commission's case study The Development and Benefits of a Collaborative Model.

Kudos Services is Australia's first and – for the moment – only example of an employee mutual spun out of the public sector. This provider of disability services to children became employee-owned in 2018. In 2021 Clive Thompson was engaged by Kudos to work with employees - the members - to recharter their constitution to reflect the mission and democratic character of this very special organisation. The new constitution was adopted by the members in late 2021.

Other parties with whom we have worked to promote cooperative change include:

  • Australian Red Cross Blood Service and the Australian Nurses & Midwives Federation
  • Sandvik, the AMWU and the Australian Workers Union (AWU)
  • TAFE NSW and the AEU, assisted by the Workplace Research Centre

Enterprise Bargaining

Collective bargaining occurs in many shades. Much of it is carried out in the tried and tested conventional way, with logs of claims, advocacy of mandated positions and defence of bottom lines. Over the last twenty years, though, another option has emerged alongside this standard approach.  A growing number of employers and unions have ventured into interest-based bargaining territory to boost the prospects of delivering mutual gains. Others still have experimented with hybrid versions of conventional and interest-based bargaining.

CoSolve has played the role of independent facilitator across the whole range of bargaining approaches.

Below are just some of the many parties we have helped engage in productive bargaining, sometimes providing joint training, sometimes independent facilitation and sometimes assisting from end to end:

  • WaterNSW and five unions representing the staff complement
  • Kudos Service and their employee owners, as well as the Health Service Union
  • Forestry Corporation NSW and the Australian Workers Union and Communications Electrical Plumbing Union
  • Blacktown City Council and the United Services Union
  • Darebin City Council and the Australian Services Union
  • Asahi and the Australian Manufacturers Workers Union
  • Inghams and the NUW
  • Slater & Gordon and the ASU
  • Amcor Flexibles, the National Union of Workers and the AMWU
  • Endeavour Energy, the Electrical Trades Union, Community & Public Sector Union, United Service Union and the AMWU 
  • Ausgrid, the ETU, CPSU, USU and the AMWU 
  • Australian Hearing, the CPSU and the AMWU 
  • ME Bank and the Finance Sector Union 
  • TAFE NSW and the Australian Education Union 
  • National Foods, the AMWU and ETU. 
  • Sandvik, the AMWU and the AWU 
  • Tomago Aluminium and the AWU* 
  • Queensland Health and the Queensland Nurses & Midwives Union
  • Air New Zealand and their aviation unions 
  • South African Airways and the SAA Pilots Association 
  • Fonterra, the Dairy Workers Union and the EPMU 
  • Shell Australia and the Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union 
  • BHP-Billiton and the CFMEU 
  • The Smith Family & the ASU

* For a published study on CoSolve facilitation at Tomago Aluminium, see Macneil & Bray "Third-party facilitators in interest-based negotiation: An Australian Case Study" (2013) Journal of Industrial Relations 55(5) 699–722.

Issues Resolution

In the nature of things, this work often requires high discretion and confidentiality. We can, however, give a general indication of the areas in which we have done investigative and mediation work. These include:

  • Leadership issues within one of the Law Societies
  • Shareholder disputes within professional consultancies
  • Leadership issues involving the board and chairperson of a major service organisation
  • Assisting a group of school principals develop a code regulating inter-school competition over student sporting talent
  • Bullying and harassment investigations at a public broadcaster, a nursing college, a major port operator, a publishing house, a manufacturing company, law firms and many more 

Clive Thompson was retained in 2010 by the International Labour Organisation to produce the ILO handbook Dispute prevention and resolution in public services labour relations: Good policy and practice

Consultative Processes

Consultation is a process geared towards value creation over the long haul, and in many senses is far more important than episodic bargaining. CoSolve provides training and other support (mainly the chairing of meetings) in this area. For instance:

  • Chairing a joint committee of TAFE NSW and the AEU as the parties trial new teaching and support roles within a fast changing and increasingly competitive tertiary education sector
  • Providing consultative skills training for TAFE Western Sydney, the AEU, the CPSU and the AMWU
  • Working with Sandvik, the AMWU and the AWU on bargaining and business process improvements in the Hunter Valley
  • Chairing consultation between TAFE NSW, the CPSU, AWU, United Voice and others over a new classification system for the state
  • Motor Accidents Authority: master consultant of the 2010/11 Claims Assessments and Resolution Service ('CARS') review