A case for sample Collective Bargaining Agreement - Oscar Mkude, Douglas Opio

  1. Introduction

Collective bargaining is one of the major approaches to redress disputes and uphold welfare in industrial settings for social partners. Normally it is a lengthy process and aims to effect a long-term agreement between the parties. The method however, remains beset with many problems and issues.

 

From our engagement with social partners during debates we have had in a span of four years, often times issues of ensuring that the principals of both parties agree to the settlement, ensuring that the process addresses core issues, and ensuring the relevance of the settlement in a fast paced business environment that demands constant change have been reported as the primary challenges of collective bargaining. To avoid the impact of these challenges on the CBAs, the partners have opted to “go-slow” approach where they engage in a series of meetings to dialogue on one or two issues before they reach agreement. This is costly in terms of time, money and sometimes trust. To complicate the matter, they start the process without any proper reference point to guide them.

 

Aware of the benefits and challenges associated with Collective bargaining; Wage Indicator Foundation through its online CBAs database, have developed the so called sample CBA to guide the parties whenever they initiate the process. This sample is adoptive to various sector, size and nature of business. It is a model of agreement which contains the best clauses and provisions for each topic for a specific country. Hence whereas the sample benefited from global dataset, it drew the practices from respective country practices.

 

  1. The role of Sample CBA

A collective agreement is usually an agreement in writing between an employer and a union, on behalf of workers employed by the employer. It contains provisions reflecting terms and conditions of employment of the workers, and conferring to them their rights, privileges and responsibilities.

Normally the first step in the collective bargaining process is to organize as a group of workers recognized by the employer and developing a body of proposals to submit to the employer as the basis of a collective agreement. The process of developing a proposal to be submitted on behalf of workers is a delicate process over which great care has to be taken – since it has to ensure the element of “collectivity” and yet maintain the expected benefits.

After reviewing the CBAs we have collected we observed pretty significant amount of CBAs have replicated the provisions in the labour laws instead of drawing their point of departure from the law. As such the CBAs fail to offer the expected utility to the parties – particularly the employees. We are convinced that it is not by choice the parties agree to replicate the laws, it is out of capacity to formulate such provisions which are feasible in their situation and yet some steps above the law. The challenge is exacerbated with high degree of secrecy various work places emphasis on their concluded agreements. Those with low capacity cannot learn from their capable counterparts. The sample CBA is expected to easy this process and enable the parties develop and agree on the better CBA – the one which offer above the legal provisions.

  1. Applications of the tool

Wage Indicator Foundation through its global dataset has made available the information one would not imagine in a decade ago. One can have global scan of the agreements concluded in different parties of the world. Besides through the use of graphic tool, one can research on various topics such as maternity rights, social security, occupational safety and health, employees welfare and more others to appreciate the registered progress but also challenges which can then be addressed by learning from countries which are relatively better-off in the respective topic practices. Thus the tool is good for trade unions, employers association, academic institutions and even students. It is wonderful tool that has been made available – thanks to Wage Indicator, Trade unions and employers all over the world.

  1. Conclusion

Through the use of research tools provided by the Wage indicator Collective Agreements Database a sample CBA model has been developed for a couple of East African countries and Ghana. The samples are uniqe of their kind as they are country specific, generic, and adoptive enough to allow the social partners to develop a more workplace based CBAs which is not just replication of basic labour law but true improvement from the provision of the existing labour laws. Through such CBAs the partners can move to better workplace relation, more engaged employees, high productivity, less workplace injuries and happy workplace. It is thus good not only to employees, but also to employers and their family.

Check all Collective Agreements http://wageindicator-training-modules.silk.co/

Check the Sample Collective Agreements from a set of Countries