Collective bargaining or Negotiation is one of the methods for settlement of an Industrial dispute. It plays significant role in promoting labour management relations and ensure industrial Harmony.
1) Origin :
The concept of collective bargaining is the offshoot of trade union nectivity. It is a historical fact that before the advent of collective bargaining era in the labour market, the labour was at a great disadvantage in obtaining reasonable terms for the contract of service from his employer. With the process of emergence of unionism in the country the collective bargaining became a rule and the employer found it necessary and convenient to deal with the representatives of the workers, instead of individual workmen, not only for the making or modification of the contracts but in the matter of taking disciplinary actions against one or more workmen and as regards all other disputes. Earlier history of collective bargaining and it's continuing extension shows that it was met with opposition from the employers due to two basic fears ; the fear of encroachment upon the prerogative of the management and the inability of Management of the long-run costs and implications of the growth of collective bargaining. But with the growth of unionism and consciousness of the working class, the trade agreements on collective basis have become a rule rather than exception.
2) Meaning of collective bargaining :
Collective bargaining is that arrangement whereby the wages and conditions of employment of a workmen are settled through a bargain between the employer and the workmen collectively whether represented through their union or by some of them on behalf of all of them. Thus, the collective bargaining means bargaining between an employer or group of employers and a bona fide Labour Union. Collective bargaining implies a community of interest. Its meaning and from continue changing and this fluidity makes it difficult to define or comprehend in precise terms.
3) Definition :
Ludwing Teller has defined collective bargaining "as an agreement between a single employer or an association of employers on the one hand an the Labour Union on the other hand which regulates the terms and conditions of employment."
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines that "collective bargaining is a negotiation between an employer or group of employers and group of working people reach an agreement on the working conditions."
Collective bargaining is more usually understood to be a negotiation between one or more trade unions and an employer or group of association of employers. Trade union organization gives the working people the strength in providing means for the expert representation of demands by skilled officials not dependent on the employers for their jobs. Further, a Union has funds and means of obtaining information outside any one undertaking and can secure for the working people at anyone firm the support of their follows in other firms.
The Encyclopedia of social sciences defines collective bargaining as "a process of discussion and negotiation between the two parties, one or both of whom is a group of persons acting in concert , more specifically it is the procedure by which an employer or employers and a group of employees agree upon the conditions of work."
In the words of Ludwing Teller, "The collective bargaining agreement bears in its many provisions the imprints of decades of activity contending for labour equality recognition of the notions underlying collective negotiation. Indeed, in the collective bargaining agreement is to be found a culminating purpose of labour activity. According to Wilson Randle, the term covers the negotiation of the contract, the grievance procedure and the settlement of disputes, as well as economic sanctions such as strikes and lock-outs. It is essentially a negotiating process by a collective action to narrow down the areas of compromise. It involves organised group relationship on both sides of the bargaining table rather than individual dealing. It is, thus, an institutionalized representative process. It is based on the philosophy of "take it or leave it." This give and take principle is the key-note of the negotiations in the order to reach mutually acceptable solution to the parties.
Therefore, collective bargaining is a process of negotiation by collective action by a body of workers regarding their terms and conditions of service such as wages, leave, norms of employment, gratuity, bonus and other benefits of the like nature. The object invariably is to harmonize labour relations, to promote industrial peace by creating conditions whereby labour and capital are put on equal footing, while negotiating with the employer. It can thus be said that collective bargaining is that arrangement whereby the wages and conditions of employment of the workmen are settled through a bargain between the employer and the workmen collectively whether represented through their union or by some of them on behalf of all of them.
4) Importance and object :
Collective bargaining, has great importance in labour management relationship.It's main object is to harmonize the relations between the employers and workmen and to promote industrial peace. It achieves the equality of bargaining power between the employers and employees.
Management always expect that qualified and skilled labour should be available at a lower wages. Similarly, workers expect fair wages and they should be steadily increased. Thus, the aim/attitude of the employers conflict with the economic interest of the workers resulting in industrial dispute . Collective bargaining is a process which aims to settle disputes amicably and to promote industrial peace.
The rule of collective bargaining has been incorporated in the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947, wherein the provisions are made under Section 4 and 5 for appointment of conciliation officer and Board of Conciliation respectively. The main function of the conciliation officer and board of conciliation is to mediate and negotiate between the parties to the dispute, so as to arrive at an amicable and fair settlement of dispute..
5) Merits and Demerits :
following are the advantages and disadvantages of collective bargaining -
1) It imposes obligation on both parties to the dispute and creates code of conduct.
2) The parties to the dispute undertake not to resort to strike and Lockouts and ensure peace and industrial harmony.
B) Disadvantages :
1. Hike in wages, other amenities to workmen and improvement of service conditions results in higher costs of production.
2. Political interference in collective bargaining gives room for adverse effect.