17 Nature and Characteristics of Collective Bargaining (With Examples)

Collective bargaining is a mode of fixing the terms of employment using bargaining between an organized body of employees and an employer or an association of employers usually acting through organized agents. The essence of collective bargaining is a bargain between interested parties and not a decree from outside parties.

nature and characteristics of collective bargaining
nature and characteristics of collective bargaining

The main objective is to resolve the differences between workers and management through voluntary negotiations and arrive at a consensus. and To settle disputes and conflicts relating to wages and working conditions.

What is Collective Bargaining and their Features

Some important characteristics of collective bargaining are described below:

1. Collective Process

The bargaining is collective in the sense that all the employee’s bargain through their representatives for their common interests and benefits.

Both the employer and employees act as a group rather than as individuals. They jointly arrive at solutions.

2. Equal Strenght

Both parties bargain from a position of equal strength.

In other words, the bargaining power of both parties is equal.

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3. Strategic

Collective bargaining has progressed from a show of strength to one where a sophisticated strategy is needed.

4. Flexibility

Collective bargaining is not a one-way street.

It is a give and takes a process.

Both workers and management expend their energies to arrive at a consensus.

It has sufficient flexibility since no party can afford to be inflexible and rigid in such situations.

5. Voluntary by Nature

By nature collective bargaining is a voluntary activity as it is not imposed b any law.

The parties also go for collective bargaining for larger interests. They voluntarily have a meaningful dialogue on various troubling issues.

They try to probe each other’s views. They also implement the agreement voluntarily.

6. Dynamic

Collective bargaining is a dynamic process because the way agreements are arrived at, the process of negotiation, and the mental state of the parties involved keep changing.

7. Continuous Process

Collective bargaining does not start with negotiations and end with an agreement, It includes many prenegotiations activities and also further negotiations.

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8. Power Relationship

It is a power relationship in which management tries to retain its right to manage and the union tries to safeguard its interest to strengthen its hold over the workers.

9. Process of Retreat and Persuasion

Collective bargaining is the process of retreat, reasoning, and persuasion which may enable parties to arrive at some amicable settlement or agreement.

Employees generally want to get the maximum and employers want to give the minimum.

If the parties want to reach an agreement, they will have to retreat from the position first taken by them and will have to accept less than what is demanded and give more than what is offered.

10. Relation of Giving and TakingĀ 

Collective bargaining is an exchange behavior. It is a relation give and takes.

Both parties behave considerately rather than telling take it or leave it, accept it or go or give it or face the problem, It receives and remits something.

11. Negotiation is the Base

Negotiations form an important aspect of the process of collective bargaining.

There is considerable scope for discussion, compromise, and mutual gain.

It is deliberations rather than confrontation.

12. Representation

The participants in collective bargaining do not act for themselves.

They represent the interests and claims of workers and employers while trying to reach an agreement.

The employer does not directly deal with workers. He carries out negotiations with representatives of unions who are authorized to bargain.

13. Bipartite Process

The employer and the employees negotiate the issues directly, face to face without the intervention of a third party.

It can flourish only in an atmosphere that is free from animosity, reprisal, external pressure, or third party control. parties should not act unilaterally.

features of collective bargaining
features of collective bargaining

14. Complex

It is complex in nature because it involves several procedures, techniques, and tools.

It requires preparations for negotiations, timing, selection of negotiators, agenda, drafting of the agreement, ratification, enforcement, etc.

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15. Amicable Agreement

Bargaining is the process to arrive at an amicable agreement for those being represented.

The terms and conditions are regulated by agreements.

To have an agreement by mutual consent is the basic objective of collective bargaining.

16. Decision-Making Function

Collective bargaining offers employees the opportunity, if they wish, to participate in the determination of the policies which guide and rule their working lives.

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17. Political Process

Collective bargaining establishes rules by which the employment relationship is governed.

Thus, bargaining is a political process, as it establishes a constitution by which both interest groups abide.

18. Other Features

  1. Collective bargaining is base on good faith.
  2. It is a market and economic function.
  3. It forms a non-legal grievance procedure.
  4. It is a means of joint consultation.
  5. It is a rational process in which appeal to facts and logic is necessary.
  6. It performs legislative, judicial, and executive functions.
  7. It may occur at the shop floor, in industry, or national level.

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