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Assessing The Role Of The State In Collective Bargaining By Trade

An individual is free to bargain for himself and safeguard his own interest. They can negotiate and settle their terms with the employer in a better way and secure better wages, better terms of employment and greater security.

The main object of collective bargaining is to balance the labour relations, to promote industrial place by making equality of bargaining power between them.

Generally speaking, collective bargaining is a process in which the labour and management haggle the terms and conditions of employment and are incorporated in an agreement, which is called Collective bargaining agreement. And its nature is dynamic.


In the beginning of 20th century, the word collective bargaining was first used by Beatrice Webb about 100 years ago. But the term was not well defined by Beatrice Webb.
Thus Collective bargaining is that arrangement whereby the wages and conditions of employment of workmen are settled through a bargain between the employer and the workmen collectively whether represented through their Union or by some of them on behalf of all of them.

There are four methods which are used during the terms and conditions of employment in collective bargaining:

  • They may be unilaterally dedicated by an employer;
  • They may imposed by union;
  • They may be regulated by Government;
  • They may be determined by joint negotiation between employer and workers or their union.

Forms of collective bargaining

The process of Collective agreements normally takes one of the other of the forms, namely, negotiation, mediation and arbitration, voluntary or compulsory.

  1. Negotiation
    is the phenomenon of settling the differences by face to face round table talks between the representatives of the employees and employers.If this form of negotiating or settling of disputes fails in somehow, then the other form of collective bargaining took place i.e mediation.
  2. Mediation
    when negotiation fails, then a Third party intervention to secure settlement of labour dispute, by way of mediation. Mediator functions not as judge, but assists the both parties to settling the dispute or to continue their bargaining efforts.
Arbitration- it is an act of settling labour disputes through the medium of a neutral third party.

4. Voluntary or compulsory arbitration- The parties to a dispute may either agree amongst themselves to submit for settlement by a third person and abide by his award or dispute might be submitted to arbitrator under the provisions of a statute. In former case it is voluntary arbitration, in the latter it would be compulsory arbitration. In voluntary the award is binding on the parties and also enforceable in the courts.

Essential Conditions for collective bargaining

The essential conditions for success of collective bargaining in any country are as:

  1. Right to organize
  2. Stable and strong trade unions
  3. Recognition of trade unions

Purpose of collective bargaining

Collective bargaining serves only for two purposes:

  • Collective bargaining as a means of regulating wages and conditions of services, it is also used as method of collective bargaining, and gradually it covered matters relating to hours of work, bonus, cost of living allowance, annual leave, better working conditions, etc.
  • As a means of regulating labour management relations, as it was not the object of collective bargaining but gradually with the change in outlook collective bargaining is now used as an important method for regulating labour-management relations.

Case laws
It was held in Ram kapil singh v. Ali hasan[1], that a worker who is the member of unregistered trade union is entitled to be represented by an officer of a registered trade union connected with, or by any other workman employed in the industry in which such worker is employed, provided there is an authorisation to represent in prescribed manner.

It was also held in Royal Calcutta Golf Club Mazdoor Union v. State of W. B,[2] that the main task of conciliation officer is to go from one camp to the other and find the greatest common measure of agreement.

Position in India
The Trade Union in India could not contribute to the settlement of industrial disputes to the desired extent because the Labour is divided and the employers are well organised. Further there is lack of proper labour leadership and the majority of workmen are illiterate and as such unable tp participate in mutual discussions.

There are a number of labour organisations, namely, All India Trade Union Congress, Indian National Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha and the Trade Union Congress. These Trade Union take a stand different from the other on many issues because of their Intra-Union rivalry.

A settlement arrived at by the agreement between the employer and the workmen otherwise than in the course of conciliation proceedings shall be binding on the parties to the agreement. A settlement comes into operation on such date and is binding for such period as agreed upon by the parties.

It is thus concluded that, the Trade Union is Assessing the Role of the state in collective bargaining by means of their different forms as well as different methods of collective bargaining. And in India there is also one Act, 1947 with the rules and terms with conditions using the proper procedure by conciliation officer, to settled the disputes arising in between workers and employers. Some are binding, and some are non binding awards during this procedure.


  • Trade Union Act, 1926
  • Industrial dispute Act, 1947
  • All India Reporter


  1. AIR 1964 Pat.271
  2. AIR 1956 cal. 550

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