Collective bargaining within the labour relationship, in a South African context
Harrison, Debbie Sarah
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Collective bargaining can be described as an interactive process that resolves disputes between the employer and employee. I t is a process whereby trade unions and employers' organisations come together to resolve a dispute of mutual interest to both parties. There has been significant worker movement in South Africa over the past few years, which is due to the fact that employees are becoming more involved in decision making at the workplace in order for their needs to be taken into consideration. Collective bargaining is central to the labour relationship. This study will analyse the process, functions, role, history and influences of collective bargaining. The purpose of this dissertation is to give the individual a clear understanding of the concept of collective bargaining. When one studies collective bargaining, the following points must be recognised: The reasons for collective bargaining, namely, power play between the parties, conflict and commonality. The history of collective bargaining is analysed to understand the development of collective bargaining. The bargaining agents in the labour relationship, namely: trade unions, bargaining councils, workplace forums and employers' organisations. The types of collective action that arise out of collective bargaining are strikes and lock-outs. The bargaining process begins when the trade union places its demands on the table. Management then compares the demands of the union with its own and then reacts to the demands of the union. Collective bargaining acts as an economic function in that it regulates the individual and collective relationships at the workplace. It also acts as a social function by establishing a system of industrial fairness for the employee to protect them from arbitrary action from management and to acknowledge their rights as an individual. It also fulfills a social function in that it allows employees to have a say in workplace matters that may affect them. Recommendations are made regarding the changes that need to be made, as well as matters, which need to be analysed and examined further.