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Collective Bargaining

Collective Bargaining

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Published by Durga Prasad Dash

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Published by: Durga Prasad Dash on Aug 21, 2009
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12/31/2012

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COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Collective bargaining is process of joint decision making and basicallyrepresents a democratic way of life in industry. It is the process of negotiation between firm’s and workers’ representatives for thepurpose of establishing mutually agreeable conditions of employment.It is a technique adopted by two parties to reach an understandingacceptable to both through the process of discussion and negotiation.ILO has defined collective bargaining as, negotiation about workingconditions and terms of employment between an employer and agroup of employees or one or more employee, organization with aview to reaching an agreement wherein the terms serve as a code of defining the rights and obligations of each party in their employmentrelations with one another.Collective bargaining involves discussions and negotiations betweentwo groups as to the terms and conditions of employment. It is called ‘collectivebecause both the employer and the employee act as agroup rather than as individuals. It is known as ‘bargaining’ becausethe method of reaching an agreement involves proposals and counterproposals, offers and counter offers and other negotiations.Thus collective bargaining:
is a collective process in which representatives of both themanagement and employees participate.
is a continuous process which aims at establishing stablerelationships between the parties involved.
not only involves the bargaining agreement, but also involvesthe implementation of such an agreement.
attempts in achieving discipline in the industry
is a flexible approach, as the parties involved have to adopt aflexible attitude towards negotiations.
 
Forms of Bargaining
A collective bargaining process generally consists of four types of activities- distributive bargaining, integrative bargaining, attitudinalrestructuring and intra-organizational bargaining. 
Distributive bargaining:
It involves haggling over the distribution of surplus. Under it, theeconomic issues like wages, salaries and bonus are discussed. Indistributive bargaining, one party’s gain is another party’s loss. This ismost commonly explained in terms of a pie. Disputants can worktogether to make the pie bigger, so there is enough for both of them tohave as much as they want, or they can focus on cutting the pie up,trying to get as much as they can for themselves. In general,distributive bargaining tends to be more competitive. This type of bargaining is also Known as conjunctive bargaining.
Integrative bargaining:
 This involves negotiation of an issue on which both the parties maygain, or at least neither party loses. For example, representatives of employer and employee sides may bargain over the better trainingprogramme or a better job evaluation method. Here, both the partiesare trying to make more of something. In general, it tends to be morecooperative than distributive bargaining. This type of bargaining is alsoknown as cooperative bargaining.
Attitudinal restructuring:
This involves shaping and reshaping some attitudes like trust ordistrust, friendliness or hostility between labor and management.When there is a backlog of bitterness between both the parties,attitudinal restructuring is required to maintain smooth andharmonious industrial relations. It develops a bargaining environmentand creates trust and cooperation among the parties.
Intra-organizational bargaining:
 It generally aims at resolving internal conflicts. This is a type of maneuvering to achieve consensus with the workers and management.Even within the union there may be differences between groups. Forexample, skilled workers may feel that they are neglected or womenworkers may feel that their interests are not looked after properly.
 
Within the management also, there may be differences. Trade unionsmaneuver to achieve consensus among the conflicting groups.
Characteristics of Collective Bargaining
 
It is a group process, wherein one group, representing theemployers, and the other, representing the employees, sit together tonegotiate terms of employment.Negotiations form an important aspect of the process of collectivebargaining i.e., there is considerable scope for discussion, compromiseor mutual give and take in collective bargaining.Collective bargaining is a formalized process by which employersand independent trade unions negotiate terms and conditions of employment and the ways in which certain employment-related issuesare to be regulated at national, organizational and workplace levels.
Collective bargaining is a process in the sense that it consists of a number of steps. It begins with the presentation of the charterof demands and ends with reaching an agreement, which wouldserve as the basic law governing labor management relationsover a period of time in an enterprise. Moreover, it is flexibleprocess and not fixed or static. Mutual trust and understandingserve as the by products of harmonious relations between thetwo parties.
It a bipartite process. This means there are always two partiesinvolved in the process of collective bargaining. The negotiationsgenerally take place between the employees and themanagement. It is a form of participation.
Collective bargaining is a complementary process i.e. each partyneeds something that the other party has; labor can increaseproductivity and management can pay better for their efforts.
Collective bargaining tends to improve the relations betweenworkers and the union on the one hand and the employer on theother.
Collective Bargaining is continuous process. It enables industrialdemocracy to be effective. It uses cooperation and consensus forsettling disputes rather than conflict and confrontation.
Collective bargaining takes into account day to day changes,policies, potentialities, capacities and interests.It is a political activity frequently undertaken by professionalnegotiators

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