Wages and Collective Bargaining (intro text)
Collective bargaining constitutes one of the core tools for trade unions. The ILO defines it as "voluntary negotiations between employers or employers' organisations and workers' organisation, with a view to the regulation of terms and conditions of employment by collective agreements" (ILO Convention No.98). Furthermore, collective bargaining refers to the process or means of bargaining through dialogue between the partners involved. The result thereby is not necessarily an agreement. Collective bargaining is used as a method to improve terms and conditions of employment. Key issues for the collective bargaining process are wages, working time, training and education, safe and healthy and equal treatment. It can also institutionalise dispute settlement methods through dialogue. Since it facilitates coordination between the actors involved, trade unions may use collective bargaining also in order to cope with economic and social change by consensual solution finding process with the employers or employers' organisation. Trade unions and employers share power of rule making in this process. Outcomes of the collective bargaining process, as agreements are, may provide for ensuring security for workers as well as for industrial peace for employers. Thus, collective bargaining can improve the industrial relations' climate. This is also the base for a trusty relationship between the social partners which are the trade unions and workers representatives on the one side and the employers and employers' organisations on the other side. Because of the sharing of decision power, collective bargaining is also called "social partnership" if it concerns a partnership between organised employers institutions and organised labour institutions. The aim of this web site is to provide a basis of information and orientation for practitioners like trade unionists, trade union leaders and secretaries, for works councils and shop stewards as well as for researchers and scholars.