Labor relations entail the managing unions of employees; it covers organization bargaining under the Human Resource Management (HRM). Organization bargaining, which is also known as collective bargaining within an organization touches on the ability of workers to associate freely with each other in negotiating for proper working relations.
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Notably, the employer and employees have an equal share and bargaining power in the negotiations in order to ensure that the outcome is fair and equitable (Collective Bargaining, 2009). Fairness in the employment relationship averts scenarios of costly labor disputes, rampant workers strikes, and persistent unemployment.
Collective bargaining is a joint work done between one or many people who take sides thus resulting in a collective agreement in their terms and conditions as well as recognition. For example, in North America, the government is the only body entitled to issue a certificate of recognition to the workers union (Boivin, 2012).
The certificate shows the support that the union has towards the absolute majority it presents in collective bargaining. The government offered mediation services to facilitate consensus-building process at the workplaces. North America gives the collective agreement a period, which is usually more than one year. The government recognized unions after a colossal strike by workers in 1947.
The establishment of the Rand Formula that led to the recognition of workers’ unions paved way for the introduction of medical insurance and universal pension plans for employees. In other countries like Canada, the provinces contain jurisdiction towards labor issues excluding federal government regulated factories.
According to Boivin (2012), collective bargaining involves two conflicting parties with separate interest concerning workers with the urge of getting income and job security. This allows the union to have successful pluralistic goals since it is not pathological; none of the parties can attain its goals minus the other.
It is a formalized process where employers and trade unions agree on the terms and conditions in the working premises. However, the public has the power to allow as well as encourage collective bargaining to assist the conflicting parties to make up their minds on their differences hence giving room for reconciliation.
Collective bargaining increases the workers’ strength thus creating a sense of self-respect and responsibility among the employees. Moreover, it raises the workers’ production morale as it increases their level of bargaining at any negotiation meeting. Additionally, it limits the freedom of the management in case of arbitrary actions towards the employees (Collective Bargaining, 2012). This motivates the employees on working relations whenever they consult the management.
The managers of the union are able to sort out issues in the level of bargaining rather than forwarding complaints to the employees. It creates security towards the work, therefore, reducing the cost of labor turnover within the management. In addition, it creates a channel of communication between the employee and their employers hence resolving the industrial disputes (Collective Bargaining, 2012).
Further, collective bargaining creates peace, therefore, establishing a harmonious environment that helps in pacing the efforts of the nation in developing the economy. Collective bargaining checks the exploitation of workers hence regulating employment conditions to the concerned parties. Evidently, collective bargaining can minimize striking among workers, as they will be able to air their grievances through their unions.
Collective bargaining assisted South Africa to conduct a peaceful transition during the post apartheid era and even assisted the Republic of Korea move through the Asian financial crisis. Notably, good labor relations benefit all stakeholders in a business enterprise. Under the labor standards, the 1949 Collective bargaining convention encouraged relations and negotiations between employees and their employers within the stipulated conditions and regulations of collective agreements (Collective Bargaining, 2009).
Further, the Geneva Conference ascertained the right to organize and engage in collective bargaining with no interference from any quotas. The 1978 Convention on Labor Relations recognized and aided the collective bargaining for public employees and the inclusion of their representative in determining the employment conditions. It went a head to outline various methods and processes of settling disputes between parties; some of the methods include arbitration and mediation.
Collective bargaining took into concern the problems that can arise at the workplaces, especially among the high-level employees who are considered as policy makers (Collective Bargaining, 2009). In 1981, the Collective Bargaining Convention clearly defined the term collective bargaining and ensured that all sectors of economic production adopt it in order to improve their images.
Article 5 of the Geneva Convention of 1981 holds that collective bargaining ought to be made achievable to all workers and their employers. Clearly, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has promoted the comprehension of this labor term among the workers and their employers. Collective bargaining modifies the terms of employment and the working conditions of employees and an organization in order to reach an amicable agreement that serves the interests of all the stakeholders.
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Collective bargaining has different forms that one can take to engage in a collective agreement. The process has intra-organizational bargaining, integrative bargaining, distributive bargaining, and attitudinal restructuring (Boivin, 2012). In distributive bargaining, economic parameters like salary and bonus form the core issues of discussion; in it, one party loses while the other party gains in the entire negotiations.
Since distributive or conjunctive bargaining involves economic issues, it is more competitive than other forms of bargaining. Secondly, integrative bargaining may involve negotiations that can lead to gain by all the parties or no forfeit for all the parties in the negotiation. Attitudinal bargaining involves reshaping different attitudes that exist between the management and the workers. It aims at creating a favorable bargaining environment where there is trust, cooperation, and friendliness.
Intra-organizational bargaining on its part tends to resolve internal managerial and non-managerial conflicts. Trade unions can use this form of bargaining to demand equal rights for its women and the skilled personnel who may feel neglected. Evidently, collective bargaining tends to instill equality and discipline on employees, the union and their employers.
Collective bargaining has a process that it adheres to when discussing the terms that enhances equality between the workers union and their employer. When the concerned parties follow this procedure of collective bargaining and reach an agreement, the result of the negotiation is known as the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
CBA can take the form of substantive agreement or procedural agreement, which tackles the relationship between the management and employees and the procedure that they have to adhere to when settling disputes between the concerned groups.
Some of the issues that substantive agreement handles include basic pay, working hours, overtime premiums among others (Collective Bargaining, 2012). Most firms have fixed time scale agreement, and through a collective bargaining initiative, they audit the procedural agreement in case there are negotiations on reimbursements. There are five key steps in the collective bargaining process.
The first step is the preparation phase; it is the step where negotiation team that includes representatives of all the concerned parties is composed. The employer and employees’ representatives present their issues that they feel are extremely essential. Markedly, the representatives should command vast knowledge and skills on negotiation of numerous activities so that they can accommodate diverse views during the collective bargaining process.
The second step is the discussion stage, where the negotiating parties design rules and norms that will act as a guide in the entire negotiation process. This phase assists in creating a favorable environment of mutual trust in order to facilitate the finalization of the collective bargaining agreement. The third phase is the proposal or brainstorming stage.
Here, the issues and their possible solutions are outlined. The members give their opinions on how to handle the sensitive issues that may affect the employees, employer and the business. After the opinion seeking stage, there is the bargaining phase where the problem-solving attitude is encompassed in the process. The parties ponder on various solutions to the issue and their repercussions.
They weigh the options and settle on one of the options that have favorable returns to all parties. The point at which they settle on an option marks the last phase of collective bargaining. The parties through consensus unanimously reach an agreement that all of them strive to implement (Collective Bargaining, 2012). The termination of the collective bargaining process results to a collective bargaining agreement, which can either meet all the needs of the parties or partially meet their needs.
Boivin, J. (2012). Collective Bargaining – The Canadian Encyclopedia. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Web.
Collective Bargaining. (2009). International Labour Organization. Web.
Collective Bargaining. (2012). Industrial Relations. Web.