Everything you need to know about collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is a procedure by which the terms and conditions of workers are regulated by agreements between their bargaining agents and employers.
Both the employers and the employees may begin the process with divergent views, but ultimately try to reach a compromise, making some sacrifices.
The phrase of ‘Collective Bargaining’ is coined by Sydney and Beatrice Webb. According to them, collective bargaining is a method by which trade unions protected and improved the conditions of their members’ working lives.
1. Introduction to Collective Bargaining 2. Meaning of Collective Bargaining 3. Scope 4. Objectives 5. Features 6. Importance
7. Types 8. Recommendations for Effective Collective Bargaining 9. Growth of Collective Bargaining 10. Strategies 11. Collective Bargaining in India.
What is Collective Bargaining: Meaning, Objectives, Characteristics, Importance, Types, Growth, Strategies and Other Details
- Collective Bargaining Definition
- Meaning of Collective Bargaining
- Scope of Collective Bargaining
- Objectives of Collective Bargaining
- Features of Collective Bargaining
- Importance of Collective Bargaining
- Types of Collective Bargaining
- Recommendations for Effective Collective Bargaining
- Growth of Collective Bargaining
- Strategies of Collective Bargaining
- Collective Bargaining in India
What is Collective Bargaining – As Defined by Michael Jucius
Michael Jucius has defined collective bargaining as follows:
“Collective bargaining refers to a process by which employers on the one hand and representatives of employees on the other, attempt to arrive at agreements concerning the conditions under which employees will contribute and be compensated for their services.”
Collective bargaining process is generally resorted to interest issues where some new rights are created or existing rights are to be expanded or modified. Where the difference arises over the enforcement of an existing right — rights issue, generally, this is not an issue in collective bargaining, but the issue may be resolved through grievance procedure or arbitration.
Collective bargaining may take place at various levels such as plant, locality, region, company, industry or nation as a whole. The structure of union organisation, nature of ownership of enterprises and the location of the firms are the chief factors that determine the bargaining unit as well as its level. Besides, the government’ policy and legislation in regard to certification of representative unions and their recognition as bargaining agents are also important influencing factors.
As a matter of fact, the units and levels of collective bargaining present a complex picture. For example, at the plant level, the employer may have to negotiate with one or more industrial or craft union. Similarly, at the locality level, a single employer or a group of employers may have to hold negotiations with one or a few unions of different types separately.
At the regional level, collective agreements may have to be contracted between a single employer or a group of employers with one or more unions organised at different levels. Collective bargaining also takes place at the company, industry and even national levels. In the USA, company level collective agreements are the usual phenomenon. In the UK, most collective agreements are contracted at the industry or employer level. In India, plant or establishment level agreements/settlements have been the common feature.
What is Collective Bargaining – Meaning
The term Collective Bargaining Agreement was first coined by Beatrice and Sidney Webb, the economists, in 1989. Late President John Kennedy granted Federal employees the right to unionize and bargain collectively with the employers. The opportunity to bargain is recognized as a basic human right in 2007. This right raises the dignity of human beings and a rightful place in the establishment of rules at work place.
This right was assured by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) enacted in 1935 by the United States Congress in Washington, D. C. This particular act stresses certain procedures and a selection of a labor organization to represent the employees in the bargaining process with the employer.
The employer is prohibited from any act that will interfere with the selection of union to represent the employees in the bargaining process. These rules can be substantiation Rules which imply the terms and conditions regarding pay and salary, work conditions, hours of work and holidays. The procedural rules regulate the methods of substantive rules are interpreted and the methods of resolving workplace conflicts and problems.
Collective Bargaining is a right and a process to conduct negotiations between employer and the employees represented by a bargaining unit. The focus is to reach amicable settlements that regulate conditions at work.
The objectives of collective bargaining process are:
i. To settle issues and disputes between employer and employees in the matters related to wages and salaries and working conditions.
ii. To protect the interests of workers in work related matters.
iii. To settle the differences between labor and management
In many countries the figures for collective bargaining coverage are very deceptive. For instance, the figure for European Union Countries, nearly 60 to 70% of workers is covered by collective bargaining, but these are only the average figures and in some European Union countries, it is lower (Scandinavia) and in some (Germany), it is higher.
Belgium has a unique situation in the sense that Collective Bargaining agreements signed in an industry extends to all those employed in that industry. In some countries, industry level bargaining is slowly disappearing and company level bargaining seems to be the norm as European studies indicate.
The interests of workers are generally represented by a trade union whose leadership can be internal or external. The experiences indicate, generally the unions are represented by political organizations.
The agreement reached by the union representatives and the employer representatives include the following areas:
i. Wages and salaries
ii. Working conditions
iii. Hours of work
iv. Overtime pay
v. Retirement benefits
vi. Incentive payments
ii. Vacation benefits
iv. Shift work and payments
v. Maternity leave
vi. Flex time
i. Job descriptions
ii. Layoff conditions
iii. Promotional criteria
iv. Seniority rights
vii. Selection of employees
viii. Health matters
ix. Participative rights
x. Matters directly or indirectly affecting employees.
There are a variety of methods when it comes to the selection of representatives to negotiate on behalf of the employees and employer. For instance, the union in a particular company may negotiate with a single employer or a group of businesses within an industry. This approach varies from country to country. The end product is collective agreement which represents a labor contract between one or more union and the employer and the contract is known as the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
What is Collective Bargaining – Scope
We cannot say that collective bargaining is a panacea for all the ills of labor-management relation.
Effective collective bargaining contributes to solve strategic problems of labor-management relations at the enterprise and industry levels. It enables the parties to arrive at a joint compromise on common problems. Management may lose their unilateral discretion on essential issues that affect the workers, on the one hand, while they can take the workers into their confidence regarding the problems that affect both of them, on the other.
This would help avoid and avert undesirable situations and direct actions, while it stimulates productivity. Thus a peaceful working environment is essential for establishing cordial mutual relations, since both the employers and the employees arrive at a mutual agreement. They come closer that help them to maintain more cordial relations.
ILO observes, Collective agreements provide the climate for smooth progress. The agreements spell out the working relationship between employers and workers’ organization in which a synthesis between the demand for one side and concessions for the other can be given practical shape.
The trade unions and the workers are better off since their views and interests are taken into account, while employers are not worse off since they are able to take the workers into their confidence, which would lead to good employer-employee relations, industrial peace and prosperity.
Collective bargaining ensures a ‘give and take’ policy leading to better industrial democracy and trade union-management co-operation.
What is Collective Bargaining – 5 Main Objectives
Collective bargaining is the process where representative of the employers and employees are meeting together to discuss about the term and condition of the employment. It established harmonious relationship between employer and employee. It also brings unity among the workers.
The following are the main objectives of collective bargaining:
i. To increase mutual confidence between the employer and employees;
ii. To regulate terms and conditions of employment without intervention of a third party;
iii. To create cordial environment in the establishment;
iv. To protect the interest of the employees; through collective action and by preventing unilateral action on the part of the employer;
v. To raise the socio-economic attributes of the employees.
What is Collective Bargaining – 13 Important Features: Group Activity, Continuous Process, Equal Strength, Sufficient Flexibility, Power Relationship and a Few Others
(i) Group Activity:
Collective bargaining is a group activity as opposed to individual action. The process is initiated through the representatives of workers. The management side is represented by the delegates at the bargaining table while trade union represents the workers on local, plant, city or national level.
(ii) Flexible and Mobile:
The process of collective bargaining is flexible and has scope for compromise for a mutual ‘give and like’ before the final agreement is reached. Bakke and Kerr observe, “Essentially, a successful collective bargaining is an exercise in gradual retreat-retreat without seeming to retreat. The parties to the collective bargaining ask for more or offer less than they ultimately accept or give.”
(iii) Continuous Process:
Collective bargaining provides a mechanism for continuous and organised relationships between the management and trade unions for a joint consideration and adjust meant of plant problems- Collective bargaining does not end with negotiation but begins and ends with the writing of a contract and goes on from day-to-day under the rules established by labour agreements.
(iv) It is a Dynamic Process:
The process of collective bargaining has undergone drastic changes. In the past, it used to be emotional, turbulent and sentimental, but now it is scientific, factual and systematic.
J.M. Clark observes, “Collective bargaining has become one of the greatest forces in our society. In anything from its present scale and power, it is a new thing. It is a process which transforms pleading into negotiation,……. which permits employees’ dignity as they participate in the formulation of their terms and conditions of employment,…… which embraces the democratic ideal and applies it correctly and effectively at the place of work.”
It is collectively in two ways. One is that all the workers collectively bargain for their common interests and benefits. The other is that workers and management jointly arrive at an amicable solution, through solutions.
(vi) Equal Strength:
Across the table, both parties bargain from a position of equal strength. It is called industrial democracy at work.
(vii) Sufficient Flexibility:
Collective bargaining has sufficient flexibility since no party can afford to be inflexible, and rigid in such situations. The unique feature of collective bargaining is that usually, the parties concerned start negotiations with entirely divergent views, but finally reach a middle point acceptable to both.
(viii) Negotiations Voluntarily:
Both workers and management come to the negotiating table voluntarily, in order to have a meaningful dialogue on various troubling issues. They try to probe each other’s views, thoroughly before arriving at an acceptable solution.
(ix) A Continuous Process:
It is a continuous process. It does not commence with negotiations and with an agreement. It includes implementation of the agreement and also further negotiations.
(x) Power Relationship:
Workers want to gain, the maximum from management and management wants to extract the maximum from workers by offering as little as possible. To reach a consensus both have to retreat from such positions and accept less than asked for and give more than what is an offer, by doing so management tries to retain its control on workplace matters and unions attempt to strengthen their hold over workers, without any serious dilution of their powers
(xi) Claim Representation:
Labour and management represent the claims of labour and management while trying to reach an agreement in collective-bargaining negotiations, are carried out with representative of unions, who are authorized to bargain with the employee on work related matters.
(xii) Bipartite Process Agreement:
Workers and employees representative negotiate directly, face to face and there is no third party intervention unless negotiations fail and the labour officer of the Government interviews.
(xiii) Complex Process:
This process is very complex, involving number of procedures / techniques and tools / preparation for negotiations / timing / selection of negotiators / agenda / tedious negotiations / ratification / enforcement etc. The issues which could be bargained both by management and workers are not all Issues.
Management is not willing to negotiate work methods (since it is considered management exclusive right to decide) likewise, unions do not want negotiations on productive norms and disciplinary matters, because any agreement, in this regard would put limit on their freedom.
What is Collective Bargaining – Importance
It has been the evidence in the West that the evolution of mature labour relations characterized by a greater degree of order and stability and sound wage structure is almost invariably associated with some measurable aspects of collective bargaining.
On the basis of the experience of the advanced countries where collective bargaining is said to have made considerable advances to identify some indicators of mature collective bargaining practices.
These indicators are:
(a) A high degree of collective bargaining as measured in terms of the proportion of workers covered by collective agreements.
(b) A structure of bargaining with emphasis on central bargaining which is aimed to give some order and stability to labour management relations.
(c) Qualitative conduct of the parties to collective bargaining both before a situation warranting negotiations develops and the method followed at the time of arriving at agreements.
(d) The right priorities assigned to different methods in the agreements and their changing pattern.
Importance of collective bargaining can be judged from the following points:
(i) Creates healthy environment for discussion.
(ii) Develops better understanding between parties.
(iii) Peaceful settlement of disputes.
(iv) Avoids wastes and accidents.
(v) Controls labour problems.
(vi) Improves industrial relations.
(vii) Labour productivity improves.
(viii) Quality and quantity of production improve.
(ix) Financial position of firm improves.
(x) Contributes to the development of national economy.
What is Collective Bargaining – With 4 Types of Bargaining Activities Given by Walton and Mekersie
Walton and Mekersie (1965) have characterized four types of bargaining activities which are possible:
1. Distributive Bargaining:
In this type of bargaining one party gains and the other loses. They try to settle economic issues like wages, and bonus etc., Self-interest is over and above than organisational interest as a whole.
2. Integrative Bargaining:
In this type of bargaining both parties may gain which means win-win type of bargaining. Productivity aspects are considered and by mutual problem solving approach the sum total of the gains can be increased. When the question of survival arises in front of both parties, then this type of bargaining will give fruitful results.
3. Attitudinal Structuring Bargaining:
Such type of process of bargaining helps in shaping the attitudes of both the parties and bring attitudinal changes among the parties. It also helps in developing an environment of mutual trust and confidence on each other.
4. Intra-Organisational Bargaining:
In this type of bargaining activities both parties discuss the general strategies and arrive at a consensus decision which will help in improving the overall performance of the organisation.
There are four distinct types of bargaining viz.:
3. Productivity and
4. Composite Bargaining.
The details are:
1. Conjunctive / Distributive / Bargaining:
The parties try to maximise their respective gains. They try to settle economic issues through a zero-sum game (where one’s gain is other’s loss and other’s gain is one’s loss) Unions negotiate for maximum wages, and management wants to yield as little as possible, while getting things done through workers.
2. Co-Operative Bargaining:
When companies are hit by recession, they cannot offer, the kind of wages and benefits demanded by workers. At the same time, they cannot survive without the tatter’s support. Both parties realise the importance of surviving in such difficult times, and are willing to negotiate the terms of employment is a flexible way in India, companies like TELCO, Ashok Leyland resorted to cooperative bargaining with a view to survive the recessionary trends in the automobile sector.
3. Productivity Bargaining:
In the method, workers’ wages and benefits are linked to productivity. A standard productivity index is finalised through negotiations initially. Workers do not have to perform at exceptionally high levels, to beat the index. Without such production bargaining agreement, workers may not realise, the importance of raising productivity for organisational survival and growth. Backed up by powerful unions, they may fail to read the danger signals from the market, and respond quickly.
4. Composite Bargaining:
It is sometime alleged, by employees that productivity bargaining agreements have increased their workload. Under composite method, labour bargains for wages as usual but given step further demanding equity in matters relating to work norms / employment levels / measuring standard / environment hazards / sub-contracting clauses etc.
When unions negotiate manning standards they ensure the workload of workers does not increase, this helps to maintain the status quo, as far as employment level is concerned. Workers are no longer interested, in monetary aspects to the exclusion of work related matters. There is no doubt that wages / bonus, and other mandatory aspects continue to occupy the centre stage in bargaining sessions. But there is a definite shift towards composite bargaining.
Without such a proactive stand, workers may not be able to withstand the forces of liberalisation / automation / opening business to foreigners, under joint management, and survive. Through composite bargaining, unions are able to prevent the dilution of their powers and ensure justice to workers, by putting certain limits on the freedom of employers. For the employers, it is a lesser evil when compared to strikes and lockouts.
It is small wonder, that despite serious warnings from unions, companies in the recession hit automobile sector (Hindustan Motors, Premier Automobiles, Maruti Suzuki, TVS-Suzuki, Hero Honda) had either reduced the workforce, or cut down their benefits.
Collective Bargaining Process:
Stage-1- The Negotiation Stage-
i. Identification of problem
ii. Preparing for negotiations
iii. Negotiations of agreement
Stage-2- Contract Administration-
The right of workers to bargain freely with employers is an essential element in freedom of association. Collective bargaining is a voluntary process through which employers and workers discuss and negotiate their relations, in particular terms and conditions of work. Participants include employers themselves or their organizations, and trade unions or, in their absence, representatives freely designated by the workers. Collective bargaining can only function effectively if it is conducted freely and in good faith by all parties.
a. Making efforts to reach an agreement;
b. Carrying out genuine and constructive negotiations;
c. Avoiding unjustified delays;
d. Respecting the agreements concluded and applying them in good faith; and
e. Giving sufficient time for the parties to discuss and settle collective dispute.
Bargaining in good faith aims at reaching mutually acceptable collective agreements. Where agreement is not reached, dispute settlement procedures ranging from conciliation through mediation to arbitration may be used. Workers’ representatives should be given appropriate facilities, taking account of the needs, size, and capabilities of the enterprise involved, that will enable them to do their work effectively and allow them to perform their role without interference. Workers’ representatives should be provided with information required for meaningful negotiations.
The collective bargaining process also covers the phase before actual negotiations – information sharing, consultation, joint assessments – as well as the implementation of collective agreements. Collective agreements should include provisions for the settlement of disputes. In order to facilitate negotiations, the use of conciliation and mediation that is voluntary or established by law, may be accepted.
On the other hand, arbitration is only legitimate if requested by both parties or required by law.
What is Collective Bargaining – Recommendations for Effective Collective Bargaining
An effective collective bargaining required, the following conditions:
1. Favourable organizational climate is a prerequisite for effective settlement.
2. Interference of outside political leadership would be harmful;
3. Trade unions must be strengthened by recognition;
4. Government should made legislation for compulsory collective bargaining preceding adjudication;
5. There is no scope of unfair labour practices in this process; therefore, both the parties should develop positive attitudes towards each other,
6. A ‘win-win situation’ should be adopted by both the parties.
What is Collective Bargaining – Growth of Collective Bargaining
The growth of collective bargaining is closely associated with the growth of trade unionism. The trade union movement revolves around collective bargaining. The important trade in collective bargaining however is the expansion in the number and the types of subjects which it covered.
Of the reasons for the increase in the subject matter of collective bargaining the growth and development of the trade unions, which are getting stronger everyday may be stated to be one factor, the other significant factors in the extension of subjects for collective bargaining being the influence of recent legislation and the liberal attitude taken by the state.
Voluntary and unrestricted collective bargaining is the most prominent characteristic of the British Industrial relations system. United Kingdom is said to be, “home of collective bargaining”, which had its first systematic application in the early 19th century. Industrial conflict and trade union organisation were the factors that brought it into existence. The arrangements for collective bargaining in U.K. differ from industry- to-industry and there is hardly any set pattern.
This is due to their revolutionary development and the structural diversity of organisation among employers and employees as well as among factors peculiar to each industry-its geographical distribution, the size of the undertakings, the form of wage payment, etc. The workers and the employers in U.K. are quite conscious of their responsibilities to set up full industrial democracy by giving due recognition to trade union activities and to the principles of bargaining.
In United States the process of collective bargaining is the case of trade union purpose and the embodiment of trade union aims. It is the predominant form of labour management relationship, a major device for joint participation in establishing wages and working conditions outside the relatively limited area in which the government operates.
The evolution of collective bargaining and the written agreement in the United States from their first faltering steps early in the 19th century to their present status is obviously rooted deep in American economic history. During the past two decades or so, collective bargaining has become a vital force in American economy.
In India as also in many other countries collective bargaining got some impetus from statutory provisions which laid down general principles of negotiation, procedures for collective agreements and the character of representation of the parties negotiating disputes.
Among the voluntary measures, tripartite conferences, joint consultative board, industrial committees and working parties at the industrial level played a vital role in the development of collective bargaining in this country.
The code of discipline which came into force in 1958 by voluntary agreement between workers and employers aimed at avoiding work stoppages as well as litigation, securing settlement of disputes and grievances by negotiation, conciliation and arbitration facilitating free growth of trade unions. While the code attempted to establish faith of the parties in the voluntary approach, it provided a suitable climate for the growth of the collective bargaining in India.
What is Collective Bargaining – Strategies
The process of labor-management bargaining has evolved since its beginning in the early years of labor negotiations. Since the parties involved in collective bargaining are negotiating a formal contract that both are to be bound by, there are many stresses and tensions that permeate the process. Most early negotiations were filled with drama and emotionalism.
The struggle has continued today to move toward a more rational process, whereby negotiations are conducted and settled on the facts and more concrete, quantitative arguments. In pursuit of this goal, there are strategies and tactics that can be utilized by both management and unionized labor in order to facilitate a more reasonable contract negotiation. The most beneficial tactics-setting reasonable goals and researching facts-are employed before the negotiations even begin.
First of all, in order to bargain better, it is important to understand just what collective bargaining is. James P. Begin and Edwin F. Beal define collective bargaining as part of an Industrial Relations System.
The system of relations consists of:
(i) The people who head the organizations that provides goods and services to society,
(ii) The people who do the work, and
(iii) The governmental organizations that maintain the society.
Under capitalism, workers are relatively free to sell their own labor and withhold it at will. This forms a free-will contract in which the employer and employee must decide the terms of employment. This provides the basis for the industrial relations system. Before judicial regulations were enacted as a framework for negotiations, the worker and the employer could enter into a verbal contract that would suffice.
However, as workers organized themselves into formal labor organizations and elected members to represent them, more formal contracts were needed. The movement of collective bargaining toward a matter of national policy began in 1935 with the enactment of the Wagner Act in U.S.A.
This act pronounced two basic principles:
(i) Employees were to be permitted to form and maintain labor unions of their own choosing without being subjected to coercion, intimidation, or discrimination by employers; and
(ii) Employers were to be required by law to bargain collectively with labor unions designated by their employees on wages, rates of pay, hours, and other conditions of employment.
The Wagner Act and others, like the Taft-Hartley Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act, have provided a framework of law within which the collective bargaining process must operate. The legal regulations extend to both the procedural aspects (the manner in which collective bargaining is to be conducted) and to the substantive aspects (the types of subject concerning which collective bargaining is obligatory and which may or may not lawfully be incorporated into collective bargaining agreements).
However, the substantive aspect remains relatively unrestricted by law. It is the substantive aspect that leaves collective bargaining negotiations subject to emotionalism, and illogical and irrational behaviour.
John Dunlop and James Healy have described four ways in which negotiations can be depicted.
The first is a poker game, with the larger pots going to those who combine deception, bluff, and luck, or the ability to come up with a strong hand.
The second is an exercise in power politics, with the relative strengths of the parties being decisive.
The third, a debating society, marked by both rhetoric and name calling.
Fourth and finally, a ‘rational process,’ with both sides remaining completely flexible and willing to be persuaded only when all the facts have been dispassionately presented. Sloane and Witney have stated, all of these characteristics have marked most negotiations over a period of time.
The increasing maturity of collective bargaining implies enlargement of the rational process… This rational process involves the employee, employer, and union settling on the basis of facts rather than name-calling, table pounding, and emotionalism.
Therefore, in order for collective bargaining to become more rational, certain techniques must be employed. Edward Peters has written a guide to better negotiating titled Strategy and Tactics in Labor Negotiations. He provides good strategies for obtaining a more rational negotiation. The first important step toward better bargaining is to realize the essential nature and purpose of negotiations.
In a bargaining conflict, there are three main activities in which each party is involved:
(i) Attempt to influence each other, the employees, and public opinion by advocating the merits of their respective positions;
(ii) Indicate strength to each other; and
(iii) Explore the possibilities, in terms of each other’s maximum and minimum expectancies, of a settlement without an economic contest, or, at worst, a contest of minimum duration.
Peters states that sophisticated bargainers often underestimate the importance of good preparation and presentation of their position because they feel that these are just window dressing for the harsh realities of economic strength it is true that economic strength is important, but a position reinforced by logic and reason can often exert a crucial influence.
Another step toward better negotiations is preparation and the setting of realistic goals. Peters states that the practicality or impracticality of a collective bargaining goal is a matter of foresight, not something to be determined by hindsight. An example of this that pertains to management is that sometimes there are items that a union cannot and will not concede.
If management does not prepare enough and makes the assumption that the union can and will negotiate on any proposal submitted by management, they risk the possibility of strikes. There are issues over which a union will prefer to lose a plaint in an economic contest rather than jeopardize itself with a larger group.
The setting of more realistic goals by management could avoid this detrimental result. In order to set realistic goals, criteria for realistic goals must be established.
Most negotiators, according to Peters, would agree that a realistic goal, to be attained without an economic contest, must be based on the following minimum considerations:
(i) Has the other party the ability to concede the issue? The employer must be able to concede the issue without serious damage to operations. The union must be able to concede the issue without serious internal injury, or any danger of disintegrating as an organization, or losing out to a rival union; also without seriously impairing its external relationships in the labor movement, or with other employers;
(ii) Are you warranted, by your strength, in setting such a goal?
(iii) Is your goal within the bargaining expectancy of the other party?
This last point may be disregarded only if you are ready to wage an economic contest for your minimum goal. These criteria should be fully examined before setting any goal or pressing any issue in a labor negotiation. Priorities must be established and ranked in order of impact and importance. Even though setting realistic goals help in negotiations, a course of action must be pursued in order to obtain those goals. Prestige plays an essential role in negotiations.
Prestige is an intangible quality in the sense that it is a symbol-a symbol of the potential and actual strengths of the parties in all of their relationships. Prestige reflects itself in the relationship of the parties to each other and especially to the workers in the plant.
A union’s basic strength lies in the support of its own membership. Other factors that affect during negotiations are sign language, fringe issues, and negotiable factors. However, the most important tactics take place before the actual negotiations. Negotiators who approach the bargaining table without sufficient factual ammunition to handle the growing complexities of labour relations…operate at a distinct disadvantage.
Larger unions and almost all major corporations today have their own research departments to gather data and conduct surveys. Only if both parties research and establish a framework for negotiations can they successfully obtain results within their range of acceptability. With this in mind, collective bargaining can mature to its desired rationality in the management-labour relationship.
What is Collective Bargaining – In India
For success of an industry good relations between the employer and employees are most essential. In order to maintain good relationship between them, it is necessary that industrial disputes are settling quickly and amicably. And it is possible through collective bargaining only.
Collective bargaining established a code that defines the rights and obligations of each party. As a result, arbitrary action of employers are eliminated. Some sort of “industrial jurisprudence” is created.
In India collective bargaining has not made much headway particularly at industry and national levels, due to the following reasons:
1. The Government provides little support to collective bargaining. It has little confidence in the bargaining strength of trade unions.
2. Legislation and regulatory bodies like wage boards have reduced the area for collective bargaining.
3. Lack of strong and central trade unions and employers organisations who can represent countrywide interests.
4. Multiplicities of unions, inter-union rivalry, political dominance and poor leadership have resulted in weak trade union movement.
5. Excessive dependence on compulsory adjudication for the settlement of industrial disputes. Third party’s intervention is easier than self- reliance.
In order to make collective bargaining more effective in India, the following steps are taken into consideration:
1. In collective bargaining, each party understands the view point of the other.
2. A collective bargaining authority, may be created. Its function is to advise the parties on various aspects of collective bargaining, help them in resolving jurisdictional disputes and registering the agreements made by the parties.
3. Trade unions should be made more strong and responsible so that they are able to honour the collective agreement. For this purpose it is essential to build internal leadership and to free unions from political control. The idea of one union for plant should be popularised.
4. Legal provisions should be made for-
(a) Compulsory registration of trade unions and their certification as bargaining agents.
(b) Prohibition of unfair labour practices.
(c) Legal recognition of collective agreement
(5) Compulsory adjudication of disputes should be used only as a matter of last resort.
(6) When negotiation fails, both the parties should have equal rights and freedom to strike work or to declare a lockout.
(7) Worker’s education should be intensified to build up internal union leadership and to improve knowledge of workers.
On the whole, collective bargaining is most essential for the success of an industry. But unfortunately, it is not so good in India. Interference of government in the industrial relation is essential.
But in India government doesn’t provide support to collective bargaining. It has no faith in the bargaining strength of trade unions. Moreover, in India, there is no strong trade union, which goes against the exploitation of management but an effective collective bargaining will be possible, if the government make any legal provision for registration of trade union and their certification of bargaining agents. When trade unions will get legally bargaining power, ho doubt collective bargaining will be effective in India.