Collective bargaining is an important tool that is used in harmonizing the needs of workers and those of the employers. Many issues are involved when issues to do with collective bargaining is referred to. Among the issues is on how to harmonize the parties involved and create a healthy relationship by solving conflicts amicably. This paper is of value is at talks about collective bargaining, in brief, theories of collective bargaining, features of collective bargaining, problem analysis, issues between employees and management and finally instances when collective bargaining goes against the law.
Collective bargaining is referred to as the process by which employers and groups of employees discuss matters that are related to employment, remuneration, working standards and many more aspects that touch on employment. Rights of workers, benefits and other elements that at times might be of significance to the workers or employees are core and are discussed through collective bargaining and agreements emanating from such. The interests of employees and workers are usually presented by the trade unions to which the employees are members and have a cover (Katz et al., 2017). Collective bargaining aims to ensure that matters to do with wage scales, the number of working hours, training and staff development, grievances mechanisms, touching issues on health and safety and the rights to participate in the workplaces or issues that are related to the company.
In most cases the only way to establish a working and positive relationship with workers and employees are by allowing them to come together and lobby for their rights and interests at workplaces and when work is involved. Since human beings are social animals, it has always been a thing of the past to have individuals coming together to improve their bargaining power and influence on matters that affect them with great magnitude. Workers in public administration and public enterprises are not immune to this as they as well require representation and a platform by which they can air their grievances (Tang, 2016). Trade unions may at times negotiate with employers or at other times consult with the representatives of the entire industry on what employees are interested in or what needs to be discussed about. Agreements reached in this case might be industry-wide or related to a single company or employers, and this depends on the country or the region in perspective. Collective bargaining agreements are contracts between the employers and one or more labor or trade unions, and this is usually set as per the needs of the industry.
Harmonizing working conditions and the requirements of workers is an essential tool and aspects that enables workers and employers to find a balance and create an environment for them to work together. The influx of industrial disputes over the years has led to collective bargaining becoming part of the scope of the employers and employees besides their primary mandate. According to Walsh & Mangum (2016), collective bargaining could mean more than the formal discussions that are meant to bring a working relationship between two or more parties. In some scenarios, the employers who are the public service might be required to include a neutral third party especially the labor courts to successfully harmonize collective bargaining. This is to adequately ensure that the terms of the agreement are all enforced without leaving any parts behind (Frandsen, 2016). Administration of negotiations and interpretation of collective bargaining agreements is also an important aspect that significantly reduces challenges in working and improves the existing relationship between the workers. The essence of collective bargaining is to ensure that the interested parties from the organization and the workers union are satisfied and willing to continue rendering their services.
The International Labor Organization believes that harmonizing collective bargaining agreements is one crucial aspect that would in a significant way to reduce industrial strikes, promote efficiency and improve employer-employee relations in workplaces. Terms of agreement in a working scenario mean ensuring that the rights and obligations of each party, and it sets with its specific conditions of the employees in matters of internal disputes resolutions, disputes counseling and how this could impact the workers. Collective bargaining involves negotiations, drafting, and administration, interpretation of documents that have been written by the employers, employees and the representatives of the union. In some cases, a government agency is involved with matters to do with labor in the country and other organizational trade unions. Collective bargaining could be in different forms; the first scenario involves bargaining between a single employer and a single union. This type of bargaining is known as single plant bargaining, and it is most popular in the United States of America and India. Secondly, bargaining agreements may be set between a single firm having different units and entities. This form is popularly known as multiple plants bargaining as it involves a joint employer with different trade unions. Unions belonging to the same industry might also decide to come together under their federation and bargaining for wetter working conditions or terms for their employment. Most instances in India are characterized by this form of bargaining which is known as multiple employers bargaining. Industrywide bargainings are good because they allow the quality of working conditions to be given to the employees and workers and ensure that this consistency is spread across the country. Industrywide bargainings create a favorable condition for both employers and employees (Cheng, 2016). Collective bargaining is the only way to establish a balance and a positive working relationship between employers, employees and the trade unions representing those workers. Since the goal is not to paralyze work, collective bargaining’s should be embraced by across the board as they are the only legitimate way to enhance an employee-employer relationship both in the long term and short term for the entire industry or one single organization.
Collective bargaining is an important aspect that is believed to have emerged after industrialization as workers felt the need to have their interests considered. According to Bezes & Lodge (2015), collective bargaining restores confidence between workers and employers and empowers them to work with no boundaries. Tang (2016) in his work suggests that organizations could become highly effective if they created a framework by which they would address the interests of the workers and their employees. In the words of Estreicher (2015), the existence of strong representative trade unions in an industry is one crucial factor that could encourage collective bargaining to be achieved. The existence of a fact-finding approach and the willingness to use new methods, tools and approaches is the way out to end industrial disputes. Fine (2015) further suggests that during the process of developing the collective bargaining it is essential to have figures and facts for both parties to avoid pushing the needs one party at the expense of the other. Collective bargaining can further become a possibility if there exists strong and enlightened management that
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