Features of Collective Bargaining

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Salient Features or Characteristics of Collective Bargaining as stressed by eminent authors are:-

1. Collective 2. Strength 3. Flexible 4. Voluntary 5. Continue 6. Dynamic 7. Power Relationship 8. Representation. 9. Bipartite Process 10. Complex 11. Two Party Process 12. Group action 13. Continuous process 14. Industrial democracy at work 15. Not a competitive process 16. An Art.


Features, Nature and Characteristics of Collective Bargaining

Features of Collective Bargaining – 9 Important Features

Some of the important features of collective bargaining are as follows:

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(i) Collective bargaining is a group action – In it no individual action is taken, all issues are settled through group action by the representatives of the employers and employees. Both the groups sit together at negotiating table and try to reach at some agreement acceptable to both the parties.

(ii) Collective bargaining has become an art – Now-a-days collective bargaining has become an art and an advance form of human relations. It is highly sensitive, tactful and organised efforts from both sides to solve all types of problems and issues. Both the parties management as well the members of trade unions have to be mature, with a broad mindness and the foresightedness.

(iii) Collective bargaining is a complementary and not a competitive process – In fact it is not in any way a competitive process i.e., labour and management do not feel jealous of each other rather they play the role of complementary to each other.

It is an effort to develop a better understanding of each other’s needs and capabilities, a better respect for each other and a greater involvement or commitment to the well-being and growth of the enterprise. It works on win-win strategy. Strategies like loose- loose and win and loose does not work here.

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(iv) It is a continuous process – In industrial set up, collective bargaining is a continuous process and does not end with one agreement. When one issue is settled, negotiations start for another issue and it keeps on going for all 365 days of the year. Negotiation and bargaining must remain alive as it is desirable for industrial peace.

(v) It is a logical process – Collective bargaining is a logical and systematic process having number of steps. First of all the trade union presents their charter of demands, then negotiations takes place and finally there is reaching of an agreement or a contract which would become the employment terms and conditions.

Emotions, sentiments, personal interest and biasedness should never come in collective bargaining. It must be realistic and practical in nature. No rosy agreement should be entered what cannot be implemented in the later stage.

(vi) It is highly flexible – It is based on the principle of ‘Give and Take’ and on ‘Adjustment and Compromise’. There is no rigidity and no hard and fast rule for reaching an agreement. All efforts are done to reach on an agreement. ‘Take it or leave it’ principle does not apply here.

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(vii) Collective bargaining is a dynamic process – It is a growing, expanding and changing process. In the past, it used to be emotional and sentimental but now it is scientific, factual and highly systematic. Management should believe in positive bargaining i.e. they should themselves come forward by sensing the demands of workers. No chance should be he given to the workers to go on strike.

(viii) It is a step towards industrial democracy at work – Collective Bargaining is based on the principle of “Working together, thinking together and deciding together”. It is a kind of self-government in industry. It is not merely signing of an agreement and sitting around a table. It is, in fact, a joint formulation of company policy on all matters affecting the labour.

(ix) Collective bargaining is a bipartite process – It is a two party common process of the employers and employees. It is collective action without the interference of any third party. It is mutual and joint approach process.


Features of Collective Bargaining Salient Features or Characteristics as Stressed by Edward T. Cheyfitz

Some other salient features or characteristics of collective bargaining, as stressed by Edward T. Cheyfitz may be put as follows:

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(i) It is a collective process in which the representatives of management/employer and employees participate mutually.

(ii) It is a flexible and dynamic process, wherein no party can adopt a rigid attitude. Throughout the process of bargaining, there is a possibility of change in the circumstances resulting no final decision or settlement.

(iii) Collective Bargaining is a continuous process which can establish regular and stable relationships between workers’ organisations and employers. Conclusion of an agreement is the beginning of collective bargaining.

(iv) It is a bipartite process wherein the representatives of workers and management get an opportunity for clear and face-to-face negotiation.

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(v) Collective Bargaining is a practical way of establishing industrial democracy.

(vi) It is a good method of promoting industrial jurisprudence.

(vii) Collective Bargaining is a good form of inter-disciplinary system; it is a self-government in industrial institutions.

(viii) As a method, collective bargaining process includes efforts from preliminary preparations to the presentation of conflicting view points, collection of necessary facts, understanding of the view point and taking correct decision.


Features of Collective Bargaining – 11 Important Features

Some of important nature of collective bargaining may be listed them:

1. Collective – It is collective in 2 ways; one is that all the worker collectively bargain for their common interest and benefits. The other is that workers and management jointly arrive at an amicable solution through negotiations.

2. Strength – Across the table, both parties bargain from a position of equal strength. In collective bargaining, the bargaining strength of both parties is equal. It is industrial democracy at work.

3. Flexible – The unique nature of collective bargaining is that usually the parties concerned start negotiation with entirely divergent views but finally reach a middle point acceptable to both. It is therefore not a one – way street but a give and take process.

4. Voluntary – Both workers and management come to the negotiating table voluntarily in order to have a meaningful dialogue on various troubling issue. They try to make/probe each other’s views thoroughly arriving at an acceptable solution. The implementation of the agreement reached is also a voluntary process.

5. Continue – Collective bargaining is a continuous process. It does not commence with negotiations and end with an agreement. The agreement is only a beginning of collective bargaining. It is a continuous process which includes implementation of the agreement and also further negotiations.

6. Dynamic – Collective bargaining is a dynamic process because the way agreements are arrived at, the way they are implemented, the mental make-up of parties involved keeps changing. As a result, the concept itself changes, grows and expands over time.

7. Power Relationship – Workers want to gain the maximum from management and management wants to extract the maximum from workers by offering as little as possible. To reach a consensus, both have to retreat from such position and less accept them what is asked for and give more than what is an offer.

8. Representation – In collective bargaining the employer does not deal directly with workers. He carries out negotiations with representative of unions who are authorised to bargain with the employer on work – related matters.

9. Bipartite Process – The employer and the employee negotiate the issue directly, face to face across the table. There are no third party interventions.

10. Complex – Collective bargaining is a complex process involving a no. of procedure, techniques and tools, preparations for negotiations, timing, selection of negotiations, agenda tedious, negotiations, make up of agreement, ratification, enforcement etc.

11. Two Party Process – It is a mutual give and take rather than a take-it-or-leave- it method of arriving at the settlement of a dispute as 2 parties are involved in it. It can succeed only when both labour and management want it to succeed.


Features of Collective Bargaining Group Action, Flexible and Mobile, Two Party Process, Continuous Process, Dynamic and a Few Others

The ILO has defined collective bargaining as “Negotiations about working conditions and terms of employment between an employer and a group of employees or one or more employees’ organisations with a view to reaching an agreement wherein the terms serve as a code of defining the rights and obligations of each party in their employment, relations with one another; fix a large number of detailed conditions of employment; and, during its validity, none of the matters It deals with can in normal circumstances be given as a ground for a dispute concerning an individual worker.”

The main characteristics of collective bargaining are:

(i) Group action – On the management side are its delegates at the bargaining table; on the side of the workers is their trade union, which may represent the local plant, the city membership or nation-wide membership.

(ii) Flexible and mobile – It has fluidity and scope for compromise, for a mutual give-and-take before the final agreement is reached or the final settlement is arrived at.

(iii) Two-party process – It is a mutual give-and-take rather than a take-it-or-leave-it method of arriving at the settlement of a dispute. Both parties are involved in it.

(iv) Continuous process – Collective bargaining is a continuous process that provides mechanism for continuing and organised relationships between management and trade unions.

(v) Dynamic – Collective bargaining is dynamic because it is a relatively new concept, and is growing, expanding, and changing. In the past, it used to be emotional, turbulent and sentimental; but now it is scientific, factual and systematic. Its coverage and style have changed.

(vi) Industrial democracy at work – Industrial democracy is the government of labour with the consent of the governed — the workers. The principle of arbitrary unilateralism has given way to that of self-government in industry.

(vii) Not a competitive process – Collective bargaining is not a competitive process, but it is essentially a complementary process, i.e., each party needs something that the other party has, namely, labour can make a greater productive effort and management has the capacity to pay for that effort and to organise and guide it for achieving its objectives.

(viii) An Art – “It is an art, an advanced form of human relations. To substantiate this, one need only witness the bluffing, the oratory, dramatics, and coyness mixed in an inexplicable fashion which may characterise a bargaining session.”


Features of Collective Bargaining – 9 Important Features

Rundle observes, “A tree is known by its fruits. Collective bargaining may best be known by its characteristics.”

The important features of collective bargaining are as under:

(a) Flexible and Mobile and Not Fixed or Static – It is enough and has ample scope to make for a mutual compromise with a give and take approach prior to reaching an agreement or arriving at the final settlement.

(b) A Group Action as Contrasted to Individual Action – Normally the workers’ representatives initiate the same. When bargains are to be made the delegates represent management while the workers are represented by die trade union, which may constitute the local plant, the industry or nationwide membership.

(c) A Voluntary and Not an Obligatory Process – For the mutual benefit of both workers and management who participate in the negotiation and discussions and for the purpose of arriving at a solution.

(d) Divergent Interests at Commencement – The unique feature of collective bargaining is that when the negotiations commence, normally both the parties have completely divergent interests, but ultimately come to a halfway solution to which both the parties willingly agree.

(e) A Two Party Process – This involves the method of mutual give and take. This helps them to arrive at the settlement of a dispute, in which both the two parties are involved

(f) Dynamic and Not Static – It is comparatively a novel concept and is increasing, extending and varying. Though it used to be emotional, turbulent and sentimental in the past. At present it is scientific, factual and systematic. Its contents and approach are now different.

(g) Basically Complementary Process, Not Competitive – Each party wants something that the other party has. Labour can make a more intensive effort. The management possesses the capacity to rewards for such effort, to organise and also guides it for achieving its objectives.

(h) An Art and an Advanced form of Human Relations – To support it what is required is that one should witness the bluffing, the oratory, dramatics and coyness mixed in an inexplicable fashion which may characterize a bargaining session.

(i) A Continuous Process – It helps with a mechanism to have a continuing and organized relationship between management and trade unions. The driving force of collective bargaining is the process to have continuing joint considerations and adjustments of plant issues.

(j) Industrial Democracy at Work – It is management of labour with the willingness of the governed, i.e., the workers. The principle of arbitrary unilateralism is replaced by that of self-government in industry.


Features of Collective Bargaining

1. Group Effort – It is a group effort, wherein one group, representing the employers, and the other, representing the employees, sit together to negotiate terms of employment and solve matters arousing dispute at work place.

2. Negotiation – The process involves negotiation between the employees and the employer’s group over terms of employment and decisions are arrived at through amicable settlement. There is considerable scope for discussion, compromise or mutual give and take in collective bargaining.

3. Strength of parties – In collective bargaining, the bargaining strength of both the parties is equal. However more the wealth and power of the members of the employee’s group more will be their strength to negotiate with the employer’s group.

4. Industrial democracy Collective bargaining represents industrial democracy. In this process industrial disputes are resolved amicably through face to face discussion between the employees and the employer’s group. The employees get an opportunity to place their suggestion before the management in the process of solving industrial dispute.

5. Continuous process It is a continuous process. It establishes a cordial relationship between the employees and the employer .Apart from complex industrial disputes that requires a lengthy discussion procedure, day to day problems regarding work related issues can be resolved through collective bargaining.

6. Flexible Collective bargaining process requires flexibility of attitude of both the parties involved. The process of collective bargaining begins with completely divergent views placed by both the parties and finally they agree at a middle point. In this method of settlement of dispute consensus is reached when both the parties give up part of their claims.

7. Dynamic process Collective bargaining is a dynamic process. The procedure of collective bargaining changes with the changed circumstances, nature of conflict and attitude of parties involved.

8. Mixture of art and science Collective bargaining involves use of emotion, sentiments into bargaining process. The act of bargaining to gain maximum from the management is an art. It involves application of science and systematic process into the dealing negotiation process and decision making.

9. Bipartite process Collective bargaining is a bipartite process where the management and the workers negotiate the issues directly face to face across the table without any third party intervention.


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