Management of Industrial Relations

Collective Bargaining – Need and Scope of Collective Bargaining

Collective Bargaining – The phrase collective bargaining is made up of two words – Collective and bargaining – the process is ‘collective’ because issues relating to terms and conditions of service are solved by representatives of employees and employers in groups rather than as individuals. The term ‘bargaining’ refers to evolving an agreement using methods like negotiations, discussions, exchange of facts and ideas, rather than confrontation.

Collective bargaining is a source of solving the problems of employees in the work situation collectively. It is process of joint decision-making and basically represents a democratic way of life in industry. It is the process of negotiation between firm’s and workers’ representatives for the purpose of establishing mutually agreeable conditions of employment.

Need of Collective Bargaining

(1) Providing Platform for Management and Employees – Collective bargaining provides platform for management and employees who places them at par so far as negotiations are concerned. Therefore, any outcome of the negotiation is perceived as mutually beneficial to each other and has better acceptability among them.

(2) Regulating the Terms and Conditions of Employment – It is a pragmatic and democratic process for regulating the terms and conditions of employment in which employees feel a part of decision-making process. This feeling develops better understanding among them, increases trust, and mutuality of interests with the organisation.

(3) Developing Better Understanding between Employees and Management – Because of development of better understanding between employees and management, collective bargaining may be used to adopt a more flexible approach towards employment conditions in dynamic environment. In a static environment, conditions once settled work for much longer period. However, in dynamic environment, such conditions have shorter life span, and changes may be required in organisational processes to meet environmental needs leading to change in work situations and matching employment conditions. Change in employment conditions can be brought more amicably as compared to alternative methods.

(4) Speedy Implementation of Decisions – Collective bargaining provides opportunity for speedy implementation of decisions regarding terms of employment as both the parties are involved in decision-making process. A participative decision-making, particularly on issues of controversial nature, provides in-built mechanism for implementation of decisions.

Scope of Collective Bargaining

(1) Cooperation and Communication between the Trade Union Organisation and the Management – This covers matters such as – i) Employers’ duties to consult inform and decide in cooperation with the union; ii) Confidentiality clauses and employers’ support for trade union activities by providing them with technical facilities etc.

(2) Employment and Working Conditions – This covers matters such as – i) Employment contracts and termination of employment; ii) Principles of redundancy policy in collective redundancies; iii) Working time and working time schedules and holiday and paid leave.

(3) Wages and Remuneration – This covers matters such as – i) The wage system and minimum wage tariffs; ii) Payment for working overtime and for working on holidays; iii) Extra payments for difficult and risky working conditions; and iv) Night work and severance payments in the event of collective redundancies.

(4) Occupational Safety and Health – This covers matters such as – i) Employers’ duties and cooperation with trade unions in safety and health issues; ii) Preventive and corrective measures to improve working conditions and to reduce risk at work; and iii) The establishment of trade union safety and health delegates in companies.

(5) Human Resource Development and Other Social Issues – This covers matters such as – i) Training and human resources development activities; and ii) The creation and utilisation of the social fund in enterprises.

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Sarvesh Arora

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