Collective bargaining- Meaning, Definitions, Collective Bargaining in India

Pre-requisites of Successful Collective Bargaining

For making collective bargaining more pragmatic and meaningful following steps must be taken into considerations.
1. The government and the public opinion must be convinced that collective bargaining is the best method of regulating employment conditions. The Government should remove all legislative restrictions which hamper collective bargaining. It can also confer a right to bargain .Collectively, lay down the form and content of collective agreement, register these agreements and assist In their enforcement.
2. Collective bargaining Is not possible If employees are not free to form trade unions as they please. A strong and representative trade union Is required to bargain with the employer on equal basis. In some countries. Governments have made illegal any attempt by employers to interfere with the right of workers to form their unions. Trade unions must be stable and strong enough to honour the collective bargaining agreement The union should have enough member’ to Justify entering into collective bargaining Inter-union rivalry often creates instability in unions.
3. To ensure that collective bargaining functions properly, unfair labour practices should be avoided and abandoned by both sides. The negotiations between fee management and fee recognised trade union will then be conducted in an atmosphere of goodwill, which will not be vitiated by malpractices, and neither side would take advantage of the other by resorting to unfair practices.
4. Employers should be required by law to give recognition to representative trade unions. It Is in the interest of an employer to recognise a strong union, to avoid strikes and to safeguard against, undercutting labour Standards.
5. Both employers and union leaders should bargain in a spirit of compromise and reciprocity. If either party adopts an adamant attitude bargaining will not be possible. Willingness to give and take does not mean that concessions made by one side must be marked by equal concessions by the other side. One party may win concessions over the other depending upon their relative strength. But exaggerated demands must be tone down to reach an agreements.
6. A dead end must be avoided and the talk should continue. At times it may be necessary to leave highly controversial Issues for the time being and narrow down the field of disagreement on other matters. As long as talks continue, agreement can be possible.
7. When negotiations result in an agreement, the terms of the contract should be put down in writing and embodied in a document. When no agreement is reached, the parties should agree to conciliation, mediation or arbitration. If no settlement is arrived at even then, the workers should be free to go on a strike, and the employers should be at liberty to declare a lockout. To restrict this right is to inhibit and defeat fee very process of collective bargaining.
8. A provision for arbitration should be incorporated in the agreement, which should become operative when there is any disagreement on the Interpretation of its terms and conditions. The disputes arising out of the agreement should be referred to an agreed third party with a view to arriving at a final and binding decision.

In order to ensure that collective bargaining becomes more effective in India than what it is at present, the Indian Institute of Personnel Management has suggested that the following prerequisites needs to be developed:
i. A truly representative, enlightened and strong trade union should come into being and should function on strictly constitutional lines;
ii. There should be progressive and strong management which is conscious of its obligations and responsibilities to the owners of the business, to the employees, the consumers and the country;
iii. There should be unanimity between labour and management on the basic objectives of the organisation and of the workers,, and a mutual recognition of their rights and obligations;
iv. When there are several units of the company, there should be adequate delegation of authority to the Ideal management; and
v. A fact-finding approach, and a willingness to use new tools—for example, industrial engineering—should be adopted for solution of industrial problems.

These conditions must necessarily exist if collective bargaining is to become meaningful and effective. If any or all of them do not exist, the obstacles should be removed by legislative enactments or by fee adoption of other suitable measures.

The National Commission on Labour on Collective Bargaining

The recommendations of the 1st National Commission on Labour (1969) on collective bargaining are reproduced below:
i. In the absence of arrangements for statutory recognition of unions except in some States and provisions which required employers and workers to bargain in ‘good faith,’ it is no surprise that reaching of collective agreements has not made much headway in out country. Nonetheless, the record of collective agreements has not been as unsatisfactory as it is popularly believed. Its extension to a wider area is certainly desirable.
ii. There is a case for shift in emphasis and increasingly greater scope for and reliance on collective bargaining. Any sudden change replacing adjudication by a system of collective bargaining is neither called for nor is practicable. The process has to be gradual. A beginning has to made in the move towards collective bargaining by declaring that it will acquire primacy in the procedure of settling industrial disputes.
iii. Conditions have to be created to promote collective bargaining. The most important among them is statutory recognition of a representative union as the sole bargaining agent. The place which strikes/Iockout should have in the overall scheme of industrial relations needs to be defined; collective bargaining cannot exist without the right to strike/lockout.

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