The more stable or permanent features that distinguish the bargaining process in any particular system. Usually bargaining structure is considered to have five major features: bargaining agent, bargaining form, bargaining level, bargaining scope, and bargaining unit . Bargaining Agent: The union or unions recognised by an employer for collective bargaining in respect of a particular bargaining unit (see below). Bargaining Form: Refers to whether agreements are formal or informal, written or unwritten. Informal, unwritten agreements are often referred to as custom and practice . Although there has been a move towards greater formality and written agreements in the area of terms and conditions in the last two decades, agreements over the pace and organisation of work are still often unwritten and informal. Bargaining Level: Refers to the points within a system t which bargaining between unions and employers or their representatives takes place. Within a single company, such bargaining may take place at one or more of the following levels: at shop floor level, covering groups of workers in that plant; at plant or factory level, covering all workers or certain categories of workers; and in multi- plant companies, at divisional or corporate level, again covering all workers or certain categories of workers. All these are collectively defined as forms of single-employer bargaining (see below). Above that, in the private sector, bargaining often also takes place at the level of the industry or industrial sector, so- called multi-employer bargaining (see below), between Employers' Associations and confederations of trade unions . This latter form is often conducted through bodies variously named National Joint Industrial Councils, Joint Industrial Councils, or National Joint Committees. While many workers in the private sector have their wages and conditions affected by two or more levels of bargaining, single-employer bargaining, most especially at the plant, division, or corporate level, has emerged in the last two decades as the most significant, with multi-employer bargaining correspondingly declining in importance. There is rarely any co-ordination between single- and multi-employer bargaining. In the public sector , most bargaining takes place at a national level for each of the major public enterprises, so this is a form of single-employer bargaining. In recent years most public enterprises have introduced some local bargaining, but in these cases it is usually still administered from the centre. Bargaining Scope: Refers to the range of issues over which bargaining takes place. Traditionally in Britain, bargaining scope has been restricted to issues of terms and conditions of employment and, in some cases, to the organisation and intensity of work. Broader strategic issues, sometimes the subject of a form of bargaining in other European countries, have rarely been covered by bargaining in Britain, although they sometimes are covered by forms of consultation . See single union agreement .
for example. Such bargaining.
. had no specified authority to enter into agreements. such as the company. Shop Floor Bargaining: Bargaining which takes place on the shop floor . In single-plant companies plant bargaining and company bargaining are synonymous. or as small as a group of skilled craft workers. The Donovan Commission advocated the formalisation of plant bargaining and since the late 1960s plant bargaining has indeed become more formal and codified. since it operated outside their ability to monitor and influence what was happening. below. etc. Throughout the 1970s much attention was paid to strategies to reduce the volume of shop floor bargaining. Since the late 1960s there has been an increase in company and plant level bargaining at the expense of lowlevel shop floor bargaining . often from piecework to measured daywork . Company Bargaining: Collective bargaining between a single employer and one or more trade unions in respect of all workers or groups of workers in that company. between individual workers or small groups and their representatives ( shop stewards ). often associated with the operation of piecework schemes. for example in discussions over pension arrangements. and low-level management. In the 1960s bargaining at this level. there may be a number of units. white-collar workers.and single-plant bargaining. It is a very widespread level of bargaining in manufacturing industry. Thus. Multi-Plant Bargaining: Bargaining which covers workers in more than one plant or factory in a company which has more than one plant in the United Kingdom. who may be the subject of different agreements. and the development of procedure agreements (see collective agreement ) specifying appropriate organisational levels for the handling of disputes and grievances. in multi-plant companies the term applies when it covers bargaining that applies at least to certain grades of workers in all or several of its plants. These included changes in payment systems.Bargaining Unit: Refers to the group or category of workers covered by a particular agreement. This ranges from informal shop floor bargaining covering only small groups of workers through to formal plant agreements covering all or most workers in a plant. Bargaining. unions and governments alike. autonomous and informal. between groups of employers united in an employers' association and trade unions . was seen as causing problems for employers. In many cases shop floor bargaining was undertaken by people who. Multi-Employer Bargaining: See collective agreement: industry-wide agreement . for example bargaining on a multi-plant basis for blue-collar workers and on a single-plant basis for white-collar staff. Plant Bargaining: Bargaining that occurs within an individual plant or factory. was identified by the Donovan Commission as lying at the heart of the so-called informal system of British industrial relations . The bargaining unit may be as large as an entire company workforce. Company (and plant) bargaining was advocated by the Donovan Commission (1968) as a preferable level of bargaining to that which took place on the shop floor between low-level managers and small groups of workers and shop stewards . according to the formal structures of their organisations. within one bargaining level. usually at national or industrial level. such as craft workers. characterised as fragmented. Several such companies practise a mixture of multi. Sole Bargaining Rights: See sole bargaining agent .
and is now the most important form of bargaining for 48 per cent.
. Sole Bargaining Agent: A union recognised as the only bargaining representative in respect of a particular group of workers has sole bargaining rights and is the sole bargaining agent (see above). however.Single Employer Bargaining: Collective bargaining between a single employer and one or more trade unions . Where the union is a sole bargaining agent recognised in respect of all the workers in the establishment whose terms and conditions are to be determined through collective bargaining the agreement may be called a " single union deal ". are not commonly used in Britain although they had some currency during the period of the Industrial Relations Act 1971. The terms. Recent legal changes concerning union membership rights have. which introduced a statutory procedure whereby unions could apply for recognition and the Commission on Industrial Relations could make recommendations as to the identity of the sole bargaining agent for a bargaining unit. however. The statutory procedure and the Commission on Industrial Relations are now both defunct. In the past where a union gained recognition from an employer it was protected from " poaching " by other unions through the Bridlington Agreement of the TUC. undermined these procedures. It has been growing in importance for twenty years or more. This may include both plant bargaining and company bargaining . of employees covered by collective bargaining.