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collective bargaining

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PeCOP Journal of Social and
Management Sciences

Collective Bargaining

Dr Isaac Chaneta
University of Zimbabwe – Harare, Zimbabwe

Dr Isaac Chaneta
Collective Bargaining
Dr Isaac Chaneta
Unionism: Good or Bad for Productitivity
Dr Isaac Chaneta
Employee Welfare


PeCOP Journal of Social and
Management Sciences
Collective Bargaining
Dr Isaac Chaneta
University of Zimbabwe – Harare, Zimbabwe

Collective bargaining is concerned with the relations between employers acting through their management representatives and organized labour. It is concerned not only with the negotiation of a formal labour agreement but also with the day- to- day dealings between management and the union. Because the management of the people in so many organizations is closely intertwined with union- employer relationships, it is essential that the student and the practitioner of management develop a sound knowledge of collective bargaining. Furthermore, the effect of collective bargaining extends beyond these establishments that are unionized. It impacts upon the economy as a whole, upon the practices of non-union organisations and upon the society at large.

Key Words: collective bargaining, negotiations, union-employer relationships.


Collective bargaining according to Salamon (1957) is a method of determining terms and conditions of employment, which utilizes the process of negotiation and agreement between representatives of management and employees. It provides a formal channel through which the differing interests of management and employees may be resolved on a collective basis. Mulvey (1986) defines collective bargaining as a system based on selfdetermination with the contracting parties voluntarily assuming responsibility for reaching an agreement and honouring that agreement. According to International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 98, by Nyman C (1981 p.4) , collective bargaining is seen as a voluntary negotiation between employers’ organizations and workers’ organizations with a view to regulating terms and conditions of employment by collective agreements.

Collective bargaining is a process:•

which presumes a place for organizations in a process;









representatives of employees and management;

whose outcome seeks to constitute agreement on substantive matters relating to wages and salaries and terms and conditions of service.

Collective bargaining is the linchpin of plurist industrial relations. Dufty and Fells (1989 p.1 14) say that collective bargaining is a term that symbolizes industrial democracy because unions and employers participate on the basis of equality in the determination of wages and the conditions of employment.


Conducive Conditions of Negotiations
The purpose of any negotiation is to reach an agreement acceptable to the negotiating parties. However, the agreement so reached by the negotiators is subject to the endorsement of the affected membership. Fowler (1986) identifies some of the necessary conditions for negotiations:

negotiation involves two or more parties.

the parties need each other’s involvement in achieving some jointly desired documents.

the parties must consider negotiation as the preferred way of resolving differences.

each party must retain hope of an acceptable outcome and some concept of what that outcome might be,

each party must have some degree of power or influence over the others’ ability to act.

the negotiation process itself is so essential for the interaction of the parties that aim to resolve their differences.

Elements of Collective Bargaining
Enumerated below are some key elements of collective bargaining systems:-


Niland (1978) says that the parties to the collective bargaining set out to reach an agreement on industrial relations matters...