An Overview of Collective Bargaining, a Decision Making Process in the United Kingdom

Collective bargaining is the decision-making process between parties that either represents the employer and those that represent employee interests. Bargaining occurs in various forms. For instance, the single-employer bargaining that takes place between the trade unions and individual corporations, or the multi-employer bargaining that takes place between trade union federations and associations of employers. The main goal of collective bargaining is to see eye to eye on the various rules in order to facilitate negotiations on conflicting interests of employment’s terms and conditions.

Formation of institutions in order to improve the workers’ bargaining position has always been a significant force for collective bargaining. In the United Kingdom, coverage and unionization rates that are as a result of collective bargain are considerably lower because the country has been characterized by the single-employer bargaining. Third bargaining level which involves the establishment and/or company has progressively increased its importance in the United Kingdom (Millward et al. 1992). Collective laissez-faire is a prescriptive standard of failure in creating adequate facility for the public interests’ maintenance (Dukes 2009).

Collective Bargaining in the U.K

In the United Kingdom, collective bargaining is and will always be an important feature of the country’s industrial relations. The decline in multiemployer bargaining is always accompanied by taking down the extension protocols and procedures. In the 1975 Employment Protection Act, a company could be compelled to pay salaries that are favorable compared to those set by the collective bargaining within the industry. This stipulation is widely used and was withdrawn in 1980.

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Likewise, the 1946 Fair Wages Resolution that required contractor from the government to conform to the working conditions as decided by collective accords within the industry, was withdrawn in 1983 (Siebert 1991). Another pointer on the significance of collective bargaining is the percentage of workers that is affected by its coverage. In the EU which United Kingdom is a component, 2/3 or 66% of workers are within the coverage of collective bargaining with some other countries having very high levels of up to 80% or above coverage of collective bargaining. This number is well higher than the union density levels. In the United Kingdom, the figures reflect the precise legal framework on collective bargaining where high collective bargaining coverage is directly related to high union density. Unions in the UK possess the ability to necessitate that there be negotiation on their members’ terms and conditions.

In the United Kingdom, agreements are signed at the industrial level so as to automatically extend the same to all the employees within that industry. Competitive bargaining not only holds the interests for individual employing companies, but also, bargaining with trade unions can be beneficial for the entire economy. For instance, by the labor legislation instituting rules for collective bargaining is promoted to ensure social peace and stability. In the United Kingdom, there exists an autonomous employment conditions law that was put in place by the powerful bargaining partners frees the government from direct liability thereby heightening the legitimacy level of the political system. The closed shop and union shop organizational characteristic in the United Kingdom are the traditions in the industrial sector whereby the workers within a bargaining unit are mandated to be members of the unions and consequently keep union memberships high (Dukes 2009).

In the United Kingdom, collective bargaining coverage is at times vague and some agreements that are signed do not reaffirm the prevailing minimum legal requirements and thus they do not have much impact on the workers’ terms and conditions. Incentives that may cause opting out of competitive bargaining may also arise if the inter-venture salary discrepancy gets to a decisive level. The efficiency of collective accords that encourage on-the-job training may also be weakened if companies that are not in the agreement hunt down the trained others’ employees (Soskice 1990). The United Kingdom, special arrangements involves workers who are covered by Pay Review Bodies that have representatives from trade unions, the employers and other government departments. These organizations can suggest recommendations to the government. Employees’ groups such as those of teachers and nurses are moved from free collective bargaining to the wagesetting Pay Review Bodies. If the competitive bargaining figures are treated with caution, this would solve most of the problems within competitive advantage.

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An Overview of Collective Bargaining, a Decision Making Process in the United Kingdom. (2022, Jul 22). Retrieved from

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