Collective bargaining agreement refers to an explicit contract of employment that involves two parties. One party is the labor union while the other party is employers who employ the members of the union. Typically, collective bargaining agreements are characterized by periodical negotiations. Such agreements may also be referred to as union contracts, bargaining agreements or employer-union contracts.
According to Babu and Shetty (2007), the process of collective bargaining plays a crucial role in the establishment of healthy relations between the management and labor. It entails the process of labor and managing taking part in negotiations related to needs of common concern that may be made by each party, and reach a cordial agreement. The foundation of any industrial conflict is unsuccessful collective bargaining process. There is a mixed trend of factors that can be attributed to the failure of industrial bargaining agreement. At times it is as a result of the mixed contribution of both parties while in other cases, failure may be due to the stubborn nature of union leaders.
Silver (2001), postulated that the formal process of collective bargaining entails consultation, negotiation and information exchange between workers and employers, and the end objective being a pact that is mutually agreeable to both parties. Though collective bargaining traditionally involved two parties, in several countries the state plays a vital role in promoting the process through establishment of relevant state legislation. The pacts that are reached through the process of collective bargaining are applicable to all workers as well as legally binding. This is regardless of whether the workers actively took part in the bargaining process or not (Silver, 2001).
The Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 has provided a mechanism for reinforcing of the collective bargaining agreement. The act is responsible for adjudicating industrial disputes and controlling the privileges and rights of the agreeing parties. The Act’s long title provides for examination and settlement of industrial conflicts, which implies that the adjudications of such conflicts also. The Act visualizes collective bargaining agreements between unions that represent management and workmen, an issue that falls outside the sphere of the common law (Babu, 2007).
According to Perritt (2006), there are various points that can be used to identify the beneficial aspects of collective bargaining agreement to workers. Through acting and organizing harmoniously, workers are able to achieve bargaining correspondence with employees. Moreover, collective bargaining contracts promote standardization of employment conditions, and ensure that wages are taken out of competition. Improved employment conditions and collectively bargained wages are often more beneficial to workers compared to the wages an employer would offer without a union (Perritt (2006).
Without collective bargaining contracts, employers have the power to act as dictators in the workplace and alter employee conditions in accordance to management decisions. Hence, collective bargaining agreements tend to give workers a collective bargaining power that poses a credible threat of collaborative action against employers. Such agreements promote democracy in the workplace, and employees gin control over their work lives. Without collective bargaining agreements, employees can only anticipate minimal statutory rights. Moreover, application of such statutory standards may be ineffective due to the fact that employees are not ware of their rights (Najita and Stern, 2001).
Collective bargaining agreement is also beneficial to the management. First of all, it minimizes instability and uncertainty in the workplace due to the fact that workers have a voice and an outlet. Moreover, collective bargaining process results to a motivated workforce since workers have taken part in the entire process as well as the outcome. It is also important to note that collective bargaining is beneficial in flexibility of labor market by enabling employees to comprehend and accept the necessity of restructuring and modernization. Collective bargaining process promotes teamwork and cooperation in the workplace. This is because the process can ensures integration of collaborative practices into daily operations of an organization (Block, 2003).
Caisley (2007) noted that, there are a few challenges that may face the process of bargaining between workers and employers. One of the challenges may arise when there is lack of progress in negotiation between workers and employers. This is when either one or both parties fail to come to a compromise. One of the preconditions of an effective collective bargaining process is for both parties to have a will to take and give in order to reach an ultimate agreement. In most cases, each party feels the urge to push the other party in order to meet their needs. Hence, it is evident that a major challenge that faces collective bargaining process is the attempt to come achieve win-win negotiations (Caisley, 2007).
In conclusion, organizations should make sure that collective bargaining agreements that are secured are implemented. Similarly, provision for the settlement of conflicts emerging from non-compliance of collective bargaining agreements is fundamental.
Babu, Sharath, & Shetty, Rashmi. Social justice and labor jurisprudence: Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer’s contributions, SAGE, 2007
Block, Richard N. Bargaining for competitiveness: law, research, and case studies. W. E. Upjohn Institute, 2003
Caisley, Kiely T. Collective Bargaining. CCH New Zealand Limited, 2007
Najita, Joyce M., & Stern, James L. Collective bargaining in the public sector: the experience of eight states. M. E. Sharpe, 2001
Perritt, Henry H. Employee dismissal law and practice (5th Ed). Aspen Publishers Online, 2006
Silver, Isidore. Public employee discharge and discipline, Volume 2 (3rd Ed). Aspen, Publishers Online, 2001