Collective Bargaining, Process of Collective Bargaining, Merits and Demerits of Collective Bargaining

Explain the nature and context of collective bargaining. Describe the process of collective Bargaining. Identify the merits and demerits of collective bargaining, with example. Briefly describe the organization you are referring to.

Collective bargaining is defined in some of the ILO publications as:
"Negotiation a about working conditions and terms of employment between an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers' organisations, on the one hand and one or more representative workers' organisations on the other with a view to reaching agreement." The ILO convention No. 98 on the "Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining, 1948 is aimed at protecting workers who are exercising the right to organise; non-interference between workers' and employers' organisation; promotion of voluntary collective bargaining. The convention provides that:
•    Workers shall enjoy adequate protection against acts of anti—union discrimination.
•    They shall be protected more particularly against refusal to employ them by reason of their trade union membership and against dismissal or any other prejudice by reason of union membership or participation in trade union activities.
•    Workers' and employers' organisations shall enjoy protection against acts of interference by each other. This protection is extended in particular against acts designed to promote the domination, the financing or the control of workers' organisation by employers or employers' organisations.
•     Machinery appropriate to national conditions shall be established, where necessary, for the purpose of ensuring respect for the right to organise as defined by the Convention.
•    Measures appropriate to national conditions shall be taken, where necessary to encourage and promote the development and utilisation of voluntary collective bargaining to regulate terms and conditions of employment.

The Convention neither authorizes nor prohibits union security arrangements. Also, the extent to which guarantees provided for in the convention apply to the armed forces and the police is to be determined by national laws or regulations. In 1978, convention No. 151 was adopted on Labour Relations in Public Services which provides that measures to encourage and promote the negotiation of terms and conditions of employment for public employees or such other methods as will allow their representatives to participate in the determination of these matters. The settlement of disputes is to be sought through negotiation between the parties, or through independent and impartial machinery such as mediation,, conciliation and arbitration. We are take example of Public sector

• Core sector industries like steel, coal and ports and docks are characaterised by nation-cum-industry-wide bargaining. The steel agreement covers the private sector giant, Tata Iron & Steel Company Limited also. The most interesting part of agreements in steel industry is that there are over 240 trade unions organised into several trade union federations within the public sector steel company, steel Authority of India Ltd.. The procedure for recognition of trade unions in different public sector steel plants located in different states is not common or uniform, and in several of these there is more than one recognised trade union. In contrast, the private sector giant, TISCO, has had since its inception in early 1900 only one recognised trade union. Yet, for the steel industry covering both public and private sector integrated steel plants there is one National Joint consultative Forum for steel Industry which enters into an agreements once every three or four years. So far five such agreements were entered into since early 1970s. Invariably, there is a supplementary agreement at the plant level to cover aspects not covered in the national level agreement.

• Public sector is engaged in a wide variety of economic industrial and trading activities. Some are high tech and capital intensive. While others are labour intensive. With the result, the share of labour cost in total cost varies from about two percent to over 60 percent. Yet, over the years the government has been insistent upon a measure of uniformity in base wage/salary levels and frings benefits in the entire public sector, irrespective of the nature of industry and paying capacity of firm as determined by its financial performance. For the public sector as a whole at least in the units owned by the Central Government the government being the employer the logic seems to be that it should not distinguish or discriminate between employees in one type of firm with those in the other. With similar requirement not being applicable to private sector, at least in areas where public sector competes with private sector or where both private and public sectors operate, reward systems in private sectors relatively seem to be more geared to the specific requirements and circumstances of the industry and the firm than is the case with public sector.

• The tendency to indirectly centralise the bargaining outcomes on the part of government result in a competitive bargaining whereby at different points of time different companies are projected to bargain first so that others can negotiate for at least what the trial blazer could negotiate. In the late 1970s coal and steel BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited) agreements served such a purpose.

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