Dr Adriaan Van der Merwe
With over 22 years of experience of guiding senior corporate clients, Adriaan is sought after as a commercial and labour relations negotiator. Adriaan has enjoyed assisting clients with their most significant commercial supply contract purchases as a trainer, consultant, coach and front line negotiator.
Adriaan's early work was deeply influenced by the framework for integrative negotiation solutions that came from the Harvard Project on Negotiation, based on a win-win principled negotiation philosophy. Adriaan has advised and trained teams and senior managers in leading companies on commercial negotiations including supply contracts, building effective workplace relationships, conflict management and dispute resolution. He has advised on negotiation strategy, contract performance, including problem solving processes, and the resolution of disputes.
He acted as mediator and arbitrator in major national disputes between large corporations and trade unions as the economic and social environment adapted to post apartheid life in South Africa. Years of practical experience in this tough business environment, discovering solutions that work for both parties, has deeply influenced Adriaan’s approach to negotiations.
Adriaan is currently contracted to chair all negotiation forums between contractors and trade unions at the two biggest construction sites in South Africa, where new power stations are built at the combined cost of over US$35 billion with approximately 15,000 employees. Adriaan has taken lessons from those with whom he has worked closely, including leading negotiators such as Kgalema Motlanthe, the former South African President.
When not training corporate clients in contract negotiations, Adriaan is a part time Senior Commissioner for the South African Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration; and a Labour Arbitrator and Mediator for Tokiso, the premier South African private Arbitration and Mediation Service. He serves as arbitrator on the South African Education Labour Relations Council, the Metal Industry Bargaining Council and the National Bargaining Council for the Chemical Industry.
Adriaan was appointed as an Associate Professor and then Adjunct Professor of Industrial Sociology at the University of South Africa and the University of Pretoria where he taught courses in Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management. He holds a PhD in Sociology from Stellenbosch University, a law degree from the University of South Africa and has taught at numerous academic institutions and has a number of publications to his name.
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