Notes On Collective Bargaining:

Concept of Collective Bargaining:

       Collection bargaining is a principal method of settling industrial disputes. It aims at narrowing down the differences between two parties through mutual agreement.

       The following are some precise definitions:

Edwin B. Flippo:

       In the opinion of Edwin B. Flippo "collective bargaining is a process in which the representative of labour organisation and the representative of business organisation meet and negotiate an agreement or a contract."

Encyclopedia Of Social Science:

       It defines collective bargain as "a process of discussion and negotiate between two parties."

       Thus collective bargaining is a process, a technique, a device to protect the interest of the employer and employee and to determine the employment condition. The usual matters dealt in the agreement are:

  1. Wages.
  2. Bonus.
  3. Hours of work.
  4. Over time pay
  5. Leave Rules.
  6. Working Condition.

       The above definitions and discussion reveals the following Features of Collective bargaining:

  1. It is a group action initiated through the representatives of workers.
  2. It is a two way process, ie; a mutual "give and take" rather than "take it or leave it" method.
  3. It is a continuous process. It provides a mechanism for continuing relationship between mgt and trade union.
  4. Basically, it is democratic. It is a joint formulation of company policy on all matters which directly affects the workers in a plant.
Importance Or Advantages Of Collective Bargaining:

       The progress of any nation depends upon the extent of its industrialization. Harmonious relation between the employer and employee is essential for rapid industrialization. The necessity of collective bargaining is most deeply felt when a serious problem is to be solved at the industrial level. For this purpose, management and trade union have to get together.

       From the trade unions point of view, collective bargaining agreement ensures that management does not take any unilateral action.

       On the contrary from management's point of view the goals of collective bargaining are:

  1. The control of the enterprise.
  2. Maintaining its ability to manage with high degree of accuracy and flexibility.

       To sum up; collective bargaining enables both the parties to:

  1. Increase their economic strength.
  2. Establish a uniform condition of employment with a view to avoid industrial dispute.
  3. Secure a prompt and fair redressal of grievances.
  4. To avoid interruption in work such an e.g.; strike; lockout; etc.
  5. Lay down fair rates of wages and norms of works condition.
  6. Promote the stability and prosperity of industrialists.

       In fact; collective bargaining agreement brings both labour and management together to determine the conditions of employment.

       A collective bargaining agreement is important for a number of reasons:

  1. It provides a method for the regulation of the conditions of employment.
  2. It provides a solution to the problem of sickness in industry.
  3. It creates new procedures for the solution of problems as and when they arise.
  4. It provides a flexible means for the adjustment of wages and job structure to economic and technological changes.
  5. It is a vehicle of lasting industrial peace.
Limitations Of Collective Bargaining:

       Collective bargaining principles have been applied in our country or industries for a long time in various situations. However, voluntary principles have been developed in our country only after independence.

       Collective bargaining in India however, did not make much progress because of the following limitations:

  1. A few management or employers are still allergic to and they do not encourage collective bargaining process.
  2. The weakness of trade union due to their rivalry, poor financing condition and lack of leadership are the reasons of slow progress of C/B.
  3. Collective bargaining pre-supposes the workers right to strike and employers right to lock out. But in many industries such rights have been restricted.
  4. Different political affiliation of trade union makes it difficult to settle the disputes by mutual negotiation,
  5. The political and economic climate of the country in many cases is found to be unfavorable.
Principles of Collective Bargaining:

       Arnold F. Campo has laid down certain essential general principles of collective bargaining:

For Union and Management:

  1. Collective bargaining should be made an educational and bargaining process.
  2. Management and trade union must look upon collective bargaining as a means of finding the best possible solution.
  3. There must be a mutual confidence good faith and a desire to make collective bargaining effective in practice.
  4. Both the parties should abide by the national and state Law.

For The Management:

  1. The management must follow a realistic labour policy.
  2. The management must grant recognition to the trade union.
  3. It should periodically examine the rules and regulations by which labour force is governed.
  4. It should establish a satisfactory relation with the trade union and its representatives.

For The Trade Union:

  1. The trade union should eliminate the undemocratic practice within their own organisation.
  2. Trade union leader should not imagine that their only function is to secure higher wages and better working condition for them. They should also assits the management in the elimination of waste and in improving the quality and quantity of production.
  3. Trade union leaders should assist in removing such rules and regulations that are likely to increase cost and prices.
  4. Trade unions should resort to strike only when all other methods of settling disputes have failed to bring about satisfactory result.
Types Or Forms of Collective Bargaining:

       It may be stated that there is a great deal of variation in Collective Bargaining practices. However, broadly speaking Collective Bargaining may assure the following forms:

  1. It may be a single plant bargaining; ie; bargaining may be between management and single trade union. This type of collective bargaining prevails in United States and India.
  2. It may be a multiple employer bargaining ie; bargaining between all trade union of workers in the same industry through their organisation. It is generally resorted to in the textile industry.
  3. It may be a multiple plant bargaining ie; bargaining may be between a single factor or establishment having several plants and the workers employed in all these plants.

       In India, Collective bargaining has been classified under four categories. These are:

  1. Agreements which are negotiated by officers are called settlement under the Industrial Dispute Act.
  2. Agreements which are concluded by the parties themselves without reference to Board of conciliation and are signed by them. Copies of such agreement are sent to govt. and Conciliation officer.
  3. Agreements which are negotiated by the parties in a voluntary basis and which are later submitted to Industrial tribunal or Labour Court. These are known as consent award.
  4. Agreements which are drawn up after direct negotiation between mgt and labour and are purely voluntary in Character. This depends upon the goodwill and co- operation of the party.

Process Or Technique Of Collective Bargaining

       There are two stages in the collective bargaining process:

The Negotiation Stage:

(1) Preparation for Negotiation:

       Negotiation may commence at the initiative of either party, labour or management. The necessary data have to be collected on a large number of issues such as on wages and salaries, on seniority, overtime allowance, the cost of living, hours of work, retirement and fringe benefits etc.

       Informations on these items are collected by the management from their own central organisation, from public survey and from the study and report brought out by the employer.

(2) Negotiation Technique or Procedure:

       The Negotiation may be undertaken by a representative of each party or by a committee. The negotiation committee may compose of three to six members. As far as possible, the committee should be small.

       The union demands are classified and analyzed into three categories:

  1. Demands which may possibly be met.
  2. Demands which may be rejected.
  3. Demands which calls for hard bargaining
  4.        There is no hard and fast rule for which demands are to be first discussed.

       A F. Campo. Suggest that the following procedure should be adopted in negotiation.

  1. Be friendly in negotiation.
  2. Be willing to listen.
  3. Give everyone an opportunity to express his opinion.
  4. Always bear in mind that the fact you have to do what is right and fair.
  5. Help to define the problem and suggest a solution.
  6. Search for the correct solution at all time.
  7. Keep the membership of the committee as small as possible.

Follow up Action:

       The agreement should be printed and circulated among all the employees so that they know exactly what has been agreed upon between the management and their representative:

The stage of Contract Administration:

       When the process of negotiation has been completed, it is time to sign the contract, the terms of which must be similarly observed by both the parties. Once an agreement is signed, both the trade union and management are required to honour it in letter and spirit.