The area of labour laws has been widely explored and ways to make the working
conditions just and humane and to socially and financially uplift the working
class of our nation.
Although, several conventions have been made and the
international organisations have taken this as their primary resolve, the
reforms are slow. India has also been a signatory to many of these conventions
and has adopted several international standards to improve and reframe its
labour law legislations.
Not only are the countries' adamant in setting better
standards for working but the working section itself has taken steps to demand
and seek just and favourable conditions of work. Establishment of trade unions
to further their resolves have been one such significant step.
of different countries have often hampered the activities of trade unions in the
name of maintaining peace and tranquility of the place. However, the strategy of
collective bargaining to secure the rights of working class has overcome this
hurdle as it is based on negotiations with the employers.
collective bargaining is a strategy used by the workers of industries where they
with the help of their trade unions negotiate with their employers so as to draw
a just and suited terms of employment. These terms include their pay,
benefits/bonuses/increments, hours of work, leave, health and safety policies,
ways to balance work and family, and much more.
The issues with which the concept of collective bargaining deals fall broadly
into three different categories:
- First comes the issues that are mandatory (mandatory subjects). This
includes issues related to salary, workplace safety, overtime etc that
basically the law requires of the employer.
- Next comes voluntary subjects. It is not mandated by law and includes
any negotiable thing like issues related to union, decisions about employer
board member etc.
- The last one is illegal subjects. These are the issues that infringe the
provisions of law for example- workplace discrimination.
The end goal of collective bargaining is to make a collective bargaining
agreement through consensus building between the workers and their employers.
The agreement that is formed lays out rules of employment for a definite period
of time. The members of the union have to pay for this representation and such
payment is made in the form of union dues. It is important that consensus be
reached and often to make the employers favour their terms, the workers go on
labor strikes or employee lockouts. Therefore, it is desirable that the two
sides at the end of the negotiation reach an agreement unanimously.
From the reasons stated above, it can be said that collective bargaining is a
pro employee strategy as it gives voice to the working section to demand what
they deserve. It keeps a check on the abuse of power by the employers through
which they exploit their employees by advocating for the rights of the latter.
It works to the advantage of the businesses by avoiding events of strikes that
often occurs when there is friction between the employers and his employees.
Strikes often hampers the operations and cripples the business. It is not ideal
for the business and largely for the economy of a country.
The protection of
rights by the trade unions is in respect of all the employees irrespective of
whether or not they were members of the union. The employees of a company get
the right to question the policies and demand changes if such policies violate
their rights. The strategy of collective bargaining has provided a sense of
security and stability to the employees.
However, the strategy has some shortcomings too. The issue of equal
representation from both the sides often questions the reasonability of the
decisions of the negotiations. The business is likely to lose a substantial
amount of money from over-compensation or excessive benefits if that be the
Collective bargaining also gives too much power to the employees which
makes it difficult for the employer to run his business and take important
decisions because of the apprehension of possible demands for altering them or
strikes and lock outs in its protest.
The time it usually takes for the negotiations to finish and materialise in
terms of executing the stipulations in the agreement is long.
proposition is that the distribution of salary is done on the basis of seniority
and work experience but collective bargaining often fails to access this factor
in demanding workers' rights from their employers. Although the aim of
collective bargaining is to come up with beneficial solutions to both the
management as well as the employees, there are cases where nothing is agreed
upon as both the sides fail to reach a consensus. In situations where talks
become futile, the situation might aggravate even more instead of mitigating.
This is turn can prove detrimental to the relationship between the employers and
the employees and only increase the existing friction between the groups. The
strategy of collective bargaining although has proved fruitful in many cases,
comes with its own pros and cons that consequentially affect the parties
resorting to the strategy. Although, the theory proposes a result that would be
mutually beneficial, in reality it is prone to abuse and inequality is
The only way to justify resorting to this technique is that the
company's resources and growth must not be compromised and at the same time, the
employees must be able to achieve what they wish to and what they deserve
through peaceful negotiations and such negotiations should make arrangements
that enable both the sides (employer's side and the employees' side) to make
equal and strong representation for their rights. Only, when the benefits
outweigh the shortcomings of it, the strategy can be completed just and good
thing to elect.