THE PRACTICE OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR AS AGAINST WHAT IS OBTAINABLE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR
This research work focuses on: The Practice of Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector as against what is Obtainable in the Private Sector. The population of the study composes of staff of Lagos State University, Ojo and staff of DAAR Communication PLC. However, seventy (70) academic staff and thirty (30) non-academic staff of Lagos State University, including fifty staff (50) of DAAR Communication will be randomly selected to serve as sample for the study. Three research hypotheses were proposed and tested using Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient. Based on the result of findings from the study, there is a significant relationship in the practice of collective bargaining in both public and private sectors. Also, there is a significant relationship in the practice of collective bargaining in both public and private sectors and employees’ welfare. However, there is no significant relationship in the practice of collective bargaining in both public and private sectors and employees’ productivity. Recommendations are offered based on the result of findings from the study.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Collective bargaining is said to have originated from Great Britain and is traceable to the Webbs. Sydney and Beatrice in the early 191h century. In Nigeria, 1937, collective bargaining started with the colonial masters when the then government established the provincial wage committees throughout Nigeria. Collective bargaining has been variously defined; the following are some of the important definitions. Dafe Otobo (1995) writes that collective bargaining is a phrase which stands for or represents the totality of relationship among and between all the actors in industry: how this relationship arises and how rules, regulations and convention are developed to govern the conduct of all parties. Collective bargaining implies groups or collective negotiation of a contractor or understanding between a management representative on one side and workers representative on the other.
According to the International Organization ILO, collective bargaining is the negotiations about working conditions and term of employment between an employer and a group of employee organizations with a view to reaching an agreement where in the term of serve as a code of defining the right and obligations of each party in their employment relations with one another. Collective bargaining is a system where wages and conditions of service are determined. The employer share administrative decision making responsibility with the workers through the trade union or workers representatives. The scope of collective bargaining covers, the company wise bargaining and industry wise or national wide bargaining. The company wide collective bargaining is between workers representatives and management of concerned company while the industry wide or national bargaining involves mainly the employers’ body and one or more trade unions.
In Nigeria, industry-wide collective bargaining is more amendable than company level bargaining to official pressures for wage restraint. Etukudo. (1995) pleaded for a policy of structural reform for greater centralization or sectorization of collective bargaining as being useful in furthering the objectives of economic stabilization policy income policy. For collective bargaining to bear fruits in the private sector, Etukudo (1995) suggests the following:
· A corporatist industry industrial relations system of the European type.
· A flexible two tier industry wide collective bargaining.
· Enforcement of no work no play clause in collective bargaining agreements.
· The setting up of joint consultative committees in companies to consider issues affecting the enterprises but which are not considered for collective bargaining.
· Strong and effective sectorial employers’ associations.
· Non generalization of public sector/wages/salary awards into the private sector. For a peaceful collective bargaining in the public sector the following suggestion should be worked upon. A reinforced ministry of labour. Are-invigorated national labour advisory council. A centrally coordinated wage/salary fixing machinery with zones to reflect cost of living, as well as ability to pay.
PRINCIPLE-NEGOTIATION TACTICS FOR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Collective bargaining in its flexibility; prolonged negotiation may become counterproductive. The opening bids should not be too little. We should strive to reach the zone of agreement. Four issues relevant in a principles negotiation approach are as follow: Separate the people from the problem. Substance merit and reality should be the touch stone in negotiation and not emotions and feelings.
· Argues more on interest rather than positions. One position is something one decided upon while one’s interest are what caused one to adopt the position.
Thus, interest should be more paramount than position. In bargaining, we can adopt various positions but interest may not be so.
· Eventual options for mutual gain. In bargaining we should always strive to gain as much as we can but not in winning all.
· Insist on objective criteria. An uncompromising negotiation could be irritating. He may remain unrealistic. The main objective should not be allowed to slip away.
CONDITIONS FOR EFFECTIVE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Below are some of the points or foundations which must be put in place for effective bargaining:
· The spirit of give and take must be there between the workers and employers or workers and management.
· Industrial relations must be between workers and management which represents the employers and in this case, the workers should be represented by the unions which are recognized.
· The purpose of collective bargaining should be to reach a positive agreement on the disturbing issues and not just to talk.
· The two parties negotiating must have the facts before them so that the facts and fingers will speak for themselves.
· It must be necessary and very important that neither side plays any hanky-panky on the other which might bring in bad blood.
· In case an agreement is reached by both sides, it must be written, sealed, signed and genuinely implemented.
· In case no agreement is reached, both parties should agree to meet again. They should continue talking until they agree because strikes and lockouts are damaging to company in particular and the country in general.
· In case a dispute persists, a third which is honest can be called 111 to interpret or arrive at a final decision.
The above mentioned points must be in place for collective bargaining to become effective. We would also add that an enlightened and serious trade union with a strong, genuine and caring management is needed to make collective bargaining successful.
PROCEDURE FOR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
In any collective bargaining procedure or technique, the following are very essential; negotiation may be taken by the representative of each party.
· Be willing to listen.
· Be friendly in negotiation, introduce everybody, relieve the existing tension.
· Give everybody an opportunity to state his position and point of view.
· Know something about the personal history of the other party’s representatives.
· Don’t let the negotiation reach the stage of stalemate. Help to define the problem and provide solution.
· Define issues clearly and discuss it in the light of all the available facts,
· Both parties should strive to maintain an objectives approach to a problem grievance.
· Search for the correct solution at all times.
· A void sharp practices.
· Keep the members of the conference as small as possible
· Lastly, both parties should at all times respect the right and bear in mind the interest of the public.
Management must ensure that those they are going to negotiate with are the genuinely representatives of workers. Matters of common interest and even controversial matters must be tackled and those doing the negotiation must have the knowledge of industrial relation.
FUNCTIONS OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Collective bargaining as a method of redressing and containing industrial disputes and maintaining industrial progress, peace and harmony has many functions to perform:
· It sees that grievance are taken care of
· It strives for peace stability, progress in organization
· It prevents disruption at workplace
· It enhances economic growth.