Collective bargaining is a process of negotiating the working conditions and terms of employment between employees and their employer. These negotiations come up with a final agreement or amend certain parts of an existing contract that are in disputes. Parties representatives ends up with a written contract or otherwise. Some of the issues covered in the agreement are employees’ rights and privileges as well as responsibilities. The process of deriving an agreement is systematic (Kearney, and Carnevale 23).
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Therefore each party representative has to collect views of their subject prior to a negotiation. A public sector collective bargain differs in certain aspects from private sector, where negotiations are bipartite. For instance the environment here is more influential in terms of public interest and macroeconomics policies, effects. Under these conditions, collective bargaining in a public sector forum is more likely to be heated and divisive.
The first cause of division in this kind of arrangement arises from diverging interest between parties and sticking with such a contradicting position. An example of diverging interest in this case is employee pursuing a raise in retirement package, while employer insists on contract basis employment terms. Employees’ interest in this negotiation is job security and employer wants to maintain productivity.
Dispute can occur where employees can employ tactics like strikes to push for their position and employer takes advantage of the situation to bring in other workers on contract while these are on strike. In most cases, negotiations will not end up in a win-win situation (Kearney, and Carnevale 44). However, going into a negotiation with a good faith will help to build consensus in these situations.
Choice of negotiator and tactic employed can be a second cause of division. A collective agreement is a product of effective negotiation. Negotiators are expected to articulate their parties’ positions in an effective manner. Basing arguments on reasoning, rationality and substantiating claims with evidence. Tactics employed include humor, persuasion and emotional appeals.
A public sector collective bargain will be affected by macroeconomic policies, and thus influence negotiators tactics and reasoning. Inflation and government revenue can be a factor considered by employer, while employees’ will do comparison with other sectors. In either cases hostility can arise and calmness can only be restored if there are breaks and truthfulness in negotiations.
Two factors make this negotiation divisive. One is parties’ position and second one is negotiators themselves. In both cases collective bargain can be positive if there is good faith and respect for each party.
Kearney Richard C., and David G. Carnevale. Labor Relations in the Public Sector. 4th ed. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2001. Print.