The paper is all about enterprise bargaining process in ABC (pseudonym); a company that I had previously worked at. The process was arrived at as a result of employees raising concerns regarding the conditions being experienced at the workplace. The relevant union represented employees at the negotiations while the employer was represented by the human resource management. Whether the process demonstrated a satisfactory use of knowledge and skills is the main issue. The management theory emerged as a favorable theory in this discussion based on how it views the bargaining process. It asserts that the needs of the parties involved should be catered for during the process. The representatives involved should not promulgate their own needs in their accorded capacity. The paper has clearly outlined some component of the management theory. This has been followed by a discussion of how the theory relates to the topic at hand. There is the identification of instances that show how the parties were privy to what was required of them during the enterprise agreement process. The outcome is that there was a satisfactory demonstration of the desired level of knowledge and skills for the enterprise bargaining process at hand.
The management theory is favorable in exploring this discussion. The theory argues that rules and regulations coined through collective agreements tend to flow from the needs of the employees. The nature of collective bargaining involved can be analyzed against the background of employees at the particular workplace. This is because the unions and management make joint decisions in the bargaining process that concern matters affecting the work life of the employer and employees (Swanepoel, 2008). As a result, it can be concluded that the enterprise’s labor policy is as a result of joint decision making between trade unions and management. The management theory is quite significant in this discussion based on how people mistakenly view collective bargaining as the ultimate objective of labor relations. Collective bargaining is an important aspect of labor relations since it takes place between parties with common interests. It also enhances healthy working conditions and promotes communication within the workplace. Therefore, it is more of a compromise, since the parties involved ought to compromise eventually.
The relevance of the management theory is based on the fact that the bargaining process should follow the laid down procedures as per the Fair Work Act 2009 (Eager & Jones, 2012). Both the interests of the employer and those of employees should be taken care off. Individuals involved in the bargaining process should act in good faith at all times for their efforts to be regarded as being reasonable (Utz, 2015). This is because the management and the trade unions are negotiating on behalf of the employer and employees. The decisions embodied in the collective agreement end up being among the company’s labor policies. In case one party takes advantage of the other, the issue is likely to persist for quite some time before the policies are changed. For this reason, the bargaining process ought to follow the necessary procedures. Individuals involved should also apply the necessary knowledge and the relevant skills (Gahan & Pekarek, 2012).
The enterprise bargaining process involved in this case is based on a manufacturing company (ABC) that I worked for in my previous employment endeavors. The main reason that necessitated the process was the working conditions that employees had been subjected to. There was a need to improve the working conditions. Employees used the relevant union to let the management understand their grievances so that the necessary steps for improvement can be initiated. All the employees at the workplace were under one union representation. Based on the proponents involved with the bargaining process, I think the necessary skills and knowledge were applied by the parties involved in the bargaining process.
To begin with, the management and the trade union showed an adequate understanding of the Fair Work Act, which requires the enterprise agreement arrived at to have certain explicit terms (FWO, 2015). In this case, the terms that were involved included the relationship between the employees and ABC Company. There was also a provision that the agreement arrived at would expire after a period of three years. Counting of the four years would commence once the Fair Work Commission had approved the agreement. Fair Work Act requires the agreement to cover a period not exceeding four years (Creighton & Forsyth, 2012). A dispute settlement procedure was also included in the terms of the agreement. Here, the Fair Work Commission was authorized to settle disputes that came as a result of the implementation of the agreement. There was also another significant term that revolved around consultation. ABC was required to consult its employees at all times before making major workplace changes likely to affect the employees. This term allowed employees to have representatives during the consultation.
Another aspect of the bargaining process that showed the skills and knowledge of the parties involved is the understanding of how to make an enterprise agreement. ABC informed the employees of their rights to be represented during the bargaining process. This was undertaken two weeks before the commencement of the process. Every employee that was likely to be affected by the agreement was given the notification. It was a written notice that included the date when the negotiations would commence. The choosing of representatives by the relevant parties also showed the knowledge and skills being applied. The employees chose the trade union with which they were all members. ABC on the other hand, chose its human resource management to act as the representatives. The parties involved in the bargaining process also seemed to work in good faith. This is usually a requirement for any proposed enterprise agreement. Both the management and the trade union attended the meeting at reasonable times. This is based on when the meetings were scheduled to commence. Based on the nature of the information provided, it is prudent to conclude that relevant information was disclosed in a timely manner. It is a requirement for every party to disclose all the desired information within a reasonable period (Heymann & Earle, 2010).
Each party also used a reasonable amount of time to respond to the proposals provided by the other party. There was no incidence where the parties acted in a way that undermined collective bargaining or freedom of association. Another dimension that showcased the knowledge on the enterprise bargaining process was the steps undertaken to seek approval of the enterprise agreement. After drafting the agreement, it was presented to employees for voting. The draft agreement was presented to the employees seven days before the voting date. Employees were also notified of the time and place where the voting will be taking place. Any information from the agreement that did not seem clear on the side of employees was duly explained. Elaborating the terms involved ensures that employees are aware of what the agreement is all about before they cast their vote. Fair Work Act requires that employees be duly informed before they take the initiative of casting their votes (Willis et al., 2010).
To conclude, the management theory requires that rules and regulations embedded in collective agreements to cater for the needs of employees. Unions and the management are required to act in good faith and follow the due procedures since they are the representatives of employees and the employer respectively. The theory views communication as a vital element to a successful bargaining process. An evaluation of a previous enterprise bargain process works to show this importance. The parties involved in the bargaining process demonstrated adequate knowledge with regards to this issue. Applying the appropriate skills was necessary for ensuring that every party got a favorable outcome. When things are done in the right way, there is a high possibility that every individual will be satisfied with the results.
Enterprise bargaining processes can be complex at times based on how they are conducted. There are several guidelines provided by the Fair Work Act on how to approach the entire process. The success of the process is exceedingly dependent on how well the parties involved are knowledgeable on various provisions. This is because it helps in applying the appropriate skills to help avoid shortcomings as the process continues. The parties ought to be knowledgeable on the terms to include in the agreement, and those not to include. Having knowledge on who can be involved in the bargaining process and who cannot helps in ensuring the individuals involved are competent. Knowledge on how to solve dispute also ensures that is easy to overcome disputes that arise along the way. This is just to mention a few. When the application of knowledge and skills is satisfactory, the bargaining process is likely to be a success.
Creighton, B., & Forsyth, A. (2012). Rediscovering Collective Bargaining: Australia’s Fair Work Act in International Perspective. New York: Routledge.
Eager, H., & Jones, S. (2012). Procedural requirements for enterprise bargaining – tips, tricks and pitfalls. Retrieved August 14, 2016, from http://www.minterellison.com/publications/procedural-requirements-for-enterprise-bargaining-201210HEF/
FWO. (2015). Enterprise Bargaining. Retrieved August 15, 2016, from https://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/fact-sheets/rights-and-obligations/enterprise-bargaining
Gahan, P., & Pekarek, A. (2012). The Rise And Rise Of Enterprise Bargaining In Australia, 1991–2011. Labour & Industry: A Journal of the Social and Economic Relations of Work, 22(3), 195-222.
Heymann, J., & Earle, A. (2010). Raising the global floor: Dismantling the myth that we can’t afford good working conditions for everyone. Stanford, CA: Stanford Politics and Policy.
Kaufman, B., & Taras, D. (2016). Nonunion Employee Representation: History, Contemporary Practice and Policy. New York: Routledge.
Swanepoel, B., Erasmus, B., & Schenk, H. (2008). Human Resource Management: Theory & Practice. Cape Town: Juta.
Utz, C. (2015). Enterprise Bargaining Under the Fair Work Act 2009. Guidelines for Managers and Bargaining Representatives, 1(1), 40.
Willis, E., Toffoli, L., Henderson, J., & Walter, B. (2010). Enterprise bargaining: A case study in the de-intensification of nursing work in Australia. Nurs Inq Nursing Inquiry, 15(2), 148-157.
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