What does Collective Bargaining mean?

collective bargaining

Settlement of industrial disputes is very necessary to improve the industrial relation in the organisation. To increase the rise and growth of trade unions evolved a device of collective bargaining to resolve their disputes by negotiation between the two parties without the help of any arbitrator. It is always been concerned with the relation between the trade unions and the management. Both the parties sit and discuss in the bargaining table where they deliberate, persuade, try to influence, argue and haggle. Here the parties discuss the issues directly face-to-face. There is no third party interruption. Eventually at the last they reach to an agreement which they record in the form of labour management contract.

In simple term collective bargaining is a process used to define a situation in which the  essential conditions of employment are determined by a bargaining undertaken by representatives of the management system. It can also be said as a process, a technique or device to protect the interest of the employers and employees to determine the employment conditions to fix the wage or salary and to achieve the objectives of the organisation. It is not a decree from other parties. It represents voluntary conciliation and arbitration and is never a compulsory adjudication.

[i]According to S.H Slitcher, “Collective Bargaining is the beginning of industrial jurisprudence. It is the method of enforcing citizenship right in industry i.e management should abide by certain rules rather than taking arbitrary decisions”.

[ii]According to Archibald Cox, “Collective Bargaining is the resolution of industrial problems between the representatives of employers and the freely designated representatives of employees acting collectively with a minimum of government direction”.

[iii]According to Dale Yoder, “Collective Bargaining is a word which is used to elaborate a circumstance, in which the vital condition of employment are determined by bargaining process executed by the representatives of a group of workers on one hand and one or more employers on the other side”.

[iv]According to Edwin b. Flippo,  “Collective Bargaining is a process in which the representatives of a  group of workers and the representatives of the employer’s organization meet and proceed to negotiate a contract or agreement, which determines the scope and nature of employee –employer-union relationship”.

“When Collective Bargaining is a subject matter, it is very wide and covers almost variety of issues affecting the employment relationship between the management team and co-workers”. Workers were generally represented by Trade Unions with regard to expressing their grievance concerning service conditions and wages before the employer and management. While refusing to bargain collectively with the employer is considered to be an UNFAIR LABOUR PRACTICE as per the provision of  INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES  ACT, 1947 . The process of collective bargaining is not a temporary settlement but a continuous process for the betterment of the organisation . It also introduces civil rights into the industry.  In India, the process of collective bargaining was introduced in the year of 1952 and gradually needed importance and significance.

Features of Collective Bargaining

Following are the features of Collective Bargaining.

  • Flexible: Hence it is flexible in nature the parties can adopt a flexible attitude throughout the process of bargaining.
  • Arbitration between two parties: It is a mutual give and take act rather than a take it or leave it method of arriving at the settlement of a dispute.
  • Voluntary: It is a voluntary and continuous process between the management and workers with an aim to establish regular, stable and systematic relationship between the parties.
  • Dynamic: It a new concept with dynamic expanding and growing. It involves a powerful relationship between the management and workers where one can bargain with their interest and benefits and jointly solutions through negotiations.

Objectives of Collective Bargaining

Following are the detailed objectives of Collective Bargaining-

  • To maintain friendly relation between the management and the workers.
  • To ensure full participation of trade union in the industry.
  • To settle the disputes relating to wages.
  • To avoid the Government interruption in their voluntary process.
  • To safeguard the interest of the workers.

Collective Bargaining includes

  • Negotiation.
  • Drafting.
  • Interpretation of Documents from the employers, employees and their union representatives.
  • Organizational Trade Unions.

Types of collective bargaining

In India, Collective Bargaining is divided into four categories. They are-

  • Settlements under INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES ACT, 1947:  Agreements which are negotiated by the officers during the course of conciliation  proceedings .
  • Agreement which are concluded by the parties themselves without any reference to a board of concilition are signed by them. Copies are however sent to their respective Governments and concilition officers.
  • Consent Awards:[v] When agreements are negotiated by the parties on a voluntary basis when disputes are subjudice and later submitted to the industrial tribunals, labour courts  or labour arbitrators for incorporation.
  • [vi]Agreements which are drawn up after a direct negotiation between the labour and management with voluntary character.

Importance of collective bargaining

[vii]According to National Commission of Labour, “The best jurisdiction for collective bargaining is that a system based on bipartite agreements and as such superior to any arrangement involving a third party intervention in matter which is concerned with employers”.

Thus it is important for various reasons-

It is a democratic method for the regulation of the condition of the employers. It is a voluntary process without third party intervention which results to better understanding between the workers and management. Hence it provides a flexible means for adjustment of wages and employment leads to economic and technological changes. It also helps in establishing a fixed code that defines the rights and obligations each of the parties. At last it facilitates better implementation of decisions due to direct involvement of both the parties.

“The views of the authors are personal









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Upasana Borah
I Myself, Upasana Borah, a student of NEF LAW COLLEGE, ASSAM, GUWAHATI currently pursuing BBA LL.B(Hons), 8th semester( 4th year) 2016-2021 batch. As being a law student, I strongly believe that every question arises out of a solution . For a successful outcome it is necessary to view the particular work from all side and analyse it. The depth of its root has its solution. I also believe in gaining knowledge & willing to gain more knowledge to develop my skills where i can perform efficiently.