Collective Bargaining

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Collective Bargaining:

Collective Bargaining KIRTI SHIVAKUMAR

What is collective bargaining?:

What is collective bargaining? The British academic Beatrice Webb reputedly coined the term "collective bargaining" in the late 19th century Collective bargaining consists of the process of negotiation between representatives of a union and employers (represented by management, in some countries by employers' organization) in respect of the terms and conditions of employment of employees, such as wages, hours of work, working conditions and grievance-procedures, and about the rights and responsibilities of trade unions.

Why is the Bargaining 'Collective'?:

Why is the Bargaining 'Collective'? Employers sometimes argue that contractual relationships between workers and their employer should be at an individual, one-to-one level.   This is referred to as the unitarist approach. Most workers realise, however, that there is no equality in status or bargaining position between the employer and the individual on his or her own. A balance can only be achieved where the workers interest is supported by collective organisation and representation. This does not automatically imply conflict or adversarial relationships between workers and their employer. On the contrary, a balance of influence and strength can provide a more solid foundation for partnership and co-operation within, or parallel to, the collective bargaining system.

What is the subject of collective bargaining today?:

What is the subject of collective bargaining today? In the past collective bargaining was largely confined to pay and hours of work. Today, collective bargaining covers a much broader agenda, encompassing such things as pensions, health and safety, equality of opportunity, training and personal development, and consultation on participative arrangements. Collective agreements usually stipulate procedures for dealing with grievances and disciplinary matters. More than ever before, collective bargaining takes into account the competitive pressures faced by a company and related issues involving rationalisation, restructuring and new technology.

Characteristics Of Collective Bargaining:

Characteristics Of Collective Bargaining It is a group process, wherein one group, representing the employers, and the other, representing the employees, sit together to negotiate terms of employment. Negotiations form an important aspect of the process of collective bargaining i.e., there is considerable scope for discussion, compromise or mutual give and take in collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is a formalized process by which employers and independent trade unions negotiate terms and conditions of employment and the ways in which certain employment-related issues are to be regulated at national, organizational and workplace levels.

Characteristics Of Collective Bargaining:

Characteristics Of Collective Bargaining Collective bargaining is a process in the sense that it consists of a number of steps. It begins with the presentation of the charter of demands and ends with reaching an agreement, which would serve as the basic law governing labor management relations over a period of time in an enterprise. Moreover, it is flexible process and not fixed or static. Mutual trust and understanding serve as the by products of harmonious relations between the two parties. It a bipartite process. This means there are always two parties involved in the process of collective bargaining. The negotiations generally take place between the employees and the management. It is a form of participation. Collective bargaining is a complementary process i.e. each party needs something that the other party has; labor can increase productivity and management can pay better for their efforts.

Characteristics Of Collective Bargaining:

Characteristics Of Collective Bargaining Collective bargaining tends to improve the relations between workers and the union on the one hand and the employer on the other. Collective Bargaining is continuous process. It enables industrial democracy to be effective. It uses cooperation and consensus for settling disputes rather than conflict and confrontation. Collective bargaining takes into account day to day changes, policies, potentialities, capacities and interests.

Five core steps:

Five core steps Prepare : This phase involves composition of a negotiation team. The negotiation team should consist of representatives of both the parties with adequate knowledge and skills for negotiation. Discuss: Here, the parties decide the ground rules that will guide the negotiations. An environment of mutual trust and understanding is also created so that the collective bargaining agreement would be reached. Propose: This phase involves the initial opening statements and the possible options that exist to resolve them. In a word, this phase could be described as ‘brainstorming’. The exchange of messages takes place and opinion of both the parties is sought. Bargain: negotiations are easy if a problem solving attitude is adopted. This stage comprises the time when ‘what ifs’ and ‘supposals’ are set forth and the drafting of agreements take place. Settlement: Once the parties are through with the bargaining process, a consensual agreement is reached upon wherein both the parties agree to a common decision regarding the problem or the issue.

Phases/Stages in Collective Bargaining:

Phases/Stages in Collective Bargaining Charter of Demands Preparation for Negotiation Bargaining Collective Agreement Contract Administration

Types of Collective Bargaining:

Types of Collective Bargaining Plant Level Industry Level National Level

Charter of Demands :

Charter of Demands Registration of union Recognition of Union Recognition of Bargaining Agent Charter of Demands

Preparation for Negotiation:

Preparation for Negotiation A.Preparation by Management Data Collection Policy Formulation Management Strategy B. Preparation by Unions Data Collection Policy Formulation Union Strategy


Bargaining Options available Total rejection of all demands Reject a few , offer to consider other Temporary suspension of negotiation Consider demands and put forth counter demands

Bargaining Process (contd):

Bargaining Process (contd) Criteria for bargaining Give and take attitude Open communication Channels Capacity to read between lines Identify the sticking point

Types of Bargaining:

Types of Bargaining Intra organisational Bargaining Attitudinal Structuring Distributive Bargaining Integrative bargaining


INTRA ORGANISATIONAL BARGAINING generally aims at resolving internal conflicts. type of maneuvering to achieve consensus with the workers and management. Even within the union, there may be differences between groups. For example, skilled workers may feel that they are neglected or women workers may feel that their interests are not looked after properly. Within the management also, there may be differences. Trade unions maneuver to achieve consensus among the conflicting groups.

Attitudinal restructuring:

Attitudinal restructuring This involves shaping and reshaping some attitudes like trust or distrust, friendliness or hostility between labor and management. When there is a backlog of bitterness between both the parties, attitudinal restructuring is required to maintain smooth and harmonious industrial relations. It develops a bargaining environment and creates trust and cooperation among the parties.

Distributive bargaining:

Distributive bargaining It involves haggling over the distribution of surplus. Under it, the economic issues like wages, salaries and bonus are discussed. In distributive bargaining, one party’s gain is another party’s loss. This type of bargaining is also known as conjunctive bargaining.

Integrative bargaining:

Integrative bargaining This involves negotiation of an issue on which both the parties may gain, or at least neither party loses. For example, representatives of employer and employee sides may bargain over the better training programme or a better job evaluation method. Here, both the parties are trying to make more of something. In general, it tends to be more cooperative than distributive bargaining. This type of bargaining is also known as cooperative bargaining.

Collective Agreement:

Labour Contract Labour-Management Agreement Union Contract Collective agreement Collective Agreement

Who is covered by Collective Agreements? :

Who is covered by Collective Agreements? A union or group of unions negotiates with employers on behalf of its members in a particular employment or industrial sector. Within a company more than one union may exist and, in that instance, unions either negotiate together as a group or negotiate separately on behalf of their particular members.

Are there different types of Collective Agreements? :

Are there different types of Collective Agreements? Collective agreements may be in the form of procedural agreements or substantive agreements.

Procedural Agreements:

Procedural Agreements Procedural agreements deal with the relationship between workers and management and the procedures to be adopted for resolving individual or group disputes. This will normally include  procedures  in respect of individual grievances, disputes and discipline. Frequently, procedural agreements are put into the company rule book which provides information on the overall terms and conditions of employment and codes of behaviour.

Substantive Agreements:

Substantive Agreements A substantive agreement deals with specific issues, such as basic pay, overtime premiums, bonus arrangements, holiday entitlements, hours of work, etc. In many companies, agreements have a fixed time scale and a collective bargaining process will review the procedural agreement when negotiations take place on pay and conditions of employment.

Is a collective agreement legally binding? :

Is a collective agreement legally binding? Generally, collective agreements are not binding in law. In the vast majority of cases, however, a collective agreement is not legally binding, and depends on the goodwill and commitment of both unions and employers to ensure compliance.

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