1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Collective bargaining allows both workers and managers to discuss specific terms that can, depending on national law, determine the rules that govern their relationship, determine wages, deal with other maters of mutual interest such as hiring practices, lay offs, promotions, job functions, working conditions and hours, (Herman, 2003) work safety, workers discipline and termination, and benefit programme. It is the process where by worker organize collectively and bargaining with employers regarding the work place. In a broad sense, it is the coming together of workers to negotiate their employment (Namit, 2007).
Collective bargaining involves workers organizing together (usually in union) to meet, discuss and negotiate upon the work conditions with their employers. There are two types of collective bargaining units which are: The United Faculty of Florida (UFF), The Police Benevolent Association (PBA). The term “Collective Bargaining” was first used in 1891 by economic theorist Beatrice webb. However, collective negotiations and agreement had existed since the rise of trade unions during the nineteenth century. While organizational performance comprises the actual output or results of an organization as measured against its intended out puts or (goals and objectives).
Collective bargaining is a formal process that involves negotiation, consultation and the exchange of information between employees and workers, the end goal being an agreement that is mutually acceptable to all parties. It is traditionally a bi-partite process (i.e. a process involving two parties), although in many countries the state plays an important role in promoting collective bargaining by establishing relevant national legislation (Namit, 2007). The agreement reached through collective bargaining are legally binding and apply to all workers whether or not they actively participated in the bargaining process (Liontos, 2007). For example in the United State, the National Labour Relations Act (1935) covers most collective agreement in the private sector. This act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate, spy on, harass, or terminate the employment of workers because of their union membership or to retaliate against them for engaging or organizing campaigns or other “concerted activities” to form “Company Union”, or to refuse to engage in collective bargaining with the union that represent their employees. Union are also exempt from antitrust law in the hope that members may collectively fix a higher price for their labour.
In the words of De Gennaro, William, and Kay Mich elfeld.(2006), for effective collective bargaining to take place, regular and timely meeting must be hold between the bargaining teems. Sufficient time and human resources must also be allocated to the consultation process and assembling data in preparation for collective bargaining negotiations (Buidens and Wayne, 2001). At a work place where a majority of workers have voted for union representative, a committee of employees and union representative negotiate a contract with the management regarding wages, hours, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment, such as protection from termination of employment without just cause. Individual negotiation is prohibited. Once the workers committee and management have agreed on a contract, it is then put to a vote of all workers at the work place. If approved, the contract is usually in force for a fixed term of years, and when that term is up, it is then renegotiated between employees and management. Sometimes there are dispute over the union contract, this particularly occurs in cases of workers fired without just cause in a union workplace. These then go to arbitration, which is similar to an informal court hearing; a neutral arbitrator then rules whether the termination or other contract breach is extent, and if it is, orders that it be corrected.
Collective bargaining allows workers and managers to discuss issues and settle disputes through consensus and dialogue rather than through confrontation or labour dispute (Herman, 2003). Both parties know that there is an agreed method for handling disagreements. In addition, collective bargaining allows both employers and workers, or their representatives, to participate in the decision making process on a variety of topics such as benefits, leave, work hours and overtime as well as grievance procedures, discipline and dismissals.