Collective bargaining seeks to solve all types of conflicts between workers and management, and amongst workers themselves. The aspect of collective bargaining is preferred by the employer in order to avoid paying individual attention to every workers complain. It is easier for the management to deal with workers as a group than dealing with individual worker. On the part of the workers they can easily convince the management to consider their demands when they are organized in a group.
The paper focuses on the bargaining process by identifying its advantage, forms of collective bargaining and the steps of collective bargaining. There is mutual benefit to the employer and employee out of collective bargaining. The major advantage is the elimination of unnecessary strikes in the work place.
There are several strategies or approaches of collective bargaining. They include distributive, Integrative bargaining, intra-organizational and attitudinal restructuring. The steps of collective bargaining involves collecting of data, selecting negotiators, consultation among negotiators of each group, discussing the issues at hand and communicating resolution of the bargaining process.
The concept of collective bargaining is interesting, due to the fact that it involves everyone in the society. This is because it draws the attention of the government, workers and their dependants and employers.
The concept of collective bargaining is the most important in ensuring industrial peace. There is no laws which can fully protect interest of all in the work place this is why their must exist bargaining between employer and employee to secure rights and interests of members.
Collective bargaining is a process which involves both worker’s representatives and employer’s representatives, coming together to discuss issues affecting the work place. Labor laws of a country dictate procedures of organizing collective bargaining and tactics to be employed in the process. The law does not interfere with the determination of the conditions of employment, because this is a private responsibility. The government should not interfere, but, ensure regulations are put in place to for the process to run smoothly. They spell rights of workers e.g. equal opportunities in work place work place and safety, which is made to provide guidance. (John ). The process ends with a collective agreement, which reflects all terms and conditions agreed upon. It clearly states the rights, privileges and responsibilities of both employer and employee. This written agreement is binding in court of law and is referred in the court, in case where one party fails to implement the agreement.
Collective bargaining seeks to solve all types of conflicts between workers and management and also amongst workers themselves. The aspect of collective bargaining is preferred by the employer to avoid paying individual attention to every worker’s complain. It is easier for the management to deal with workers as a group than individual worker. On the part of the workers, they can easily convince the management to consider their demands when they are organized in a group.
The major issues discussed are: membership eligibility, union activities during working hours, union shop or open shop, union office, use of company facilities check off, non participant in strike, personal matters like dismissal, and the procedures of settling dispute. (Promoting mutual gains).
Advantages of collective bargaining to employer
1. Collective bargaining avoids cases of work being interrupted due to unnecessary strikes; which could be resolved.
2. It minimizes time required to settle similar disputes affecting workers.
3. It motivates employees once their complaints have been resolved. This increases their productivity.
Advantages to employee
1. Their working conditions are improved, e.g. safety in work place is improved.
2. The economic condition of workers is improved.
3. Supervisors are advised to be human in the work place. This motivates them in work place and they avoid tension in work place.
Silent features of collective bargaining
1. It is a group process. One group representing the employer and the other representing the workers, sit down to negotiate on the employment terms.
2. It is a process in the sense that it involves several steps; presentation of the demands to be discussed and reading of the final agreement form the basic steps.
3. Bargaining form important aspect, whereby there is a lot of compromise made and given and taken from both sides to enable the process to come out with results.
It involves a situation where both parties engage in haggling over the surplus resources. The economic issues like salaries, wages and bonuses dominate the discussion. The agreement arrived, is such that one party lose while the other gains. This is therefore a zero sum gain. It depicts traditional way of bargaining, where the focus is on self. The labor representatives do not have the welfare of the organization at heart. The factors which make the employee representatives to act in this manner are when the management does not factor the workers requirements in drafting the organization goals. This bargaining strategy is also called conjunctive bargaining. (USA rank and file union).
It is a form of bargaining whereby both parties look forward to gain out of the bargaining process. It is therefore the most desirable strategy, where organization interest is always the priority. This gears at enlarging the size of the profit to make sure that both parties share keeps on increasing. The bargaining may be on how to train workers better to increase their productivity. This bargaining is also known as cooperative bargaining.
It is an approach which looks at the concept of collective bargaining as an ongoing relationship between management and labor union, which should be based on trust rather that seeing it as a peace meal. It involves reshaping some attitudes such as trust and friendliness. It is geared at establishing long term industrial peace. It creates trust and forms a friendly bargaining environment to allow cooperation in the organization. (Promoting mutual gains).
It is geared at establishing peace in the organization and enhance consensus between management and workers. It resolves conflicting issues within labor union, where some workers may feel neglected. The management, in this case tries to iron out its differences.
Steps involved in collective bargaining
Step one: collecting of data.
This is a crucial pre-bargaining stage, members of each side collect rich data bout the company; profitability over last several years, data on all employees mistreated in the company, benefits paid by the company and over time issues etc, labor practices applied by other companies in the same industry, government laws relating to the activities being discussed and prior agreements reached upon and not yet implemented. (Dudley and flange pp 1-9).
Step two: selecting negotiators.
Negotiators are selected from both sides of management and employees. The team selected should be composed of members from all job categories and job levels to make sure that everyone is represented. The chief negotiator should not be from the highest staff member as the common regular workers are usually considered flexible enough to accommodate interest of all workers. Those selected to be in the negotiation table, sit and come up with bargaining tactics and strategies. Each side meets separately when drafting the strategies and tactics to be employed. Bargaining strategy is a plan and basic policy to be followed in the process of bargaining. Bargaining tactics on the other hand are the particular actions taken while at the bargaining table. (International labor organization).
Step three: consultation with members.
The members selected should consult widely with members they represent to create trust in them. While consulting with respective groups, they should inform them on the steps they shall take. They should note all the concerns forwarded by the members at this stage, because this is the last step of pre-bargaining stage. (Silva).
Step four: Selected team meet at the negotiation table.
On the negotiating table, the selected teams in their first meeting they spell out bargaining rules and regulation to be followed. Bargaining rights of both sides are clearly defined. A list of all demands and issues to be discussed is generated and time set for the discussion of every issue. An analysis all the proposals put forward by both sides is done at this stage. During the meetings there is a lot of give and take i.e. compromise is a must. This is because not all demands are acceptable. Each side uses its tactics and power points to influence the other side to accept their proposals. (mirer and Cohn).
Step five: Communicating the outcome of bargaining.
The agreement must be communicated in written form. The language used should be acceptable by both sides. The information should is then be passed to all members. Each side should discuss the issues in the coming meeting.
In order to reach a decision acceptable by those being represented, regular and timely meetings must be held by representatives of both sides. Quality representatives should be selected and they should devote adequate time. (Promoting mutual gains).
Failure by parties to agree the following steps are taken
Both parties may call upon a mediator to help them resolve the dispute. The mediator comes and keeps both parties talking to see if they can reach an agreement. The mediator is expected to be non partisan. The mediator is allowed to recommend to the parties on best decision to agree on. Neither the worker’s representative nor the employer’s representatives are compelled to accept the proposal of the arbitrator. (Silva).
The relation commission may intervene when all steps have been fully followed and members fail to arrive to a resolution. The complaining party is required to provide a valid proof to the commission that the matters presented were not resolved. The commission gives both parties a chance to submit their grievances to an arbitrator. The arbitrator engages both parties in a continuous discussion to try and make them to come to an agreement. There are times when members fail to select arbitrator voluntarily, in this instance the commission designates an arbitrator for them. It is the duty of the arbitrator to hear and decide such dispute. (John).
Collective bargaining is important for both employer and employee. Both parties involved should seek to develop long term trust because this process never ends. The parties should seek to promote the organization for the benefit of all stake holders.
Peace in the industry leads to increase of out put which in turn leads to increase of gross domestic product. Therefore labor unions and employer representatives should try as much as possible to eliminate cases of disagreement in the discussion, i.e. they should always find solution to the disputes at hand.
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