Collective bargaining can be described as an interactive process that resolves disputes between the employer and employee. It is a process whereby trade unions and employers’ organisations come together to resolve a dispute of mutual interest to both parties. There has been significant worker movement in South Africa over the past few years, which is due to the fact that employees are becoming more involved in decision making at the workplace in order for their needs to be taken into consideration. Collective bargaining is central to the labour relationship.
The bargaining process begins when the trade union places its demands on the table. Management then compares the demands of the union with its own and then reacts to the demands of the union. Collective bargaining acts as an economic function in that it regulates the individual and collective relationships at the workplace. It also acts as a social function by establishing a system of industrial fairness for the employee to protect them from arbitrary action from management and to acknowledge their rights as an individual. It also fulfils a social function in that it allows employees to have a say in workplace matters that may affect them.
Any country’s employment relations system is shaped by its history and various socio-political, economic and technological forces both inside and outside the country. It is the legislative framework in particular that helps to shape employment relations paradigms. In turn, the employment relations system helps to shape a country’s history, simultaneously affecting other subsystems both inside and outside a country. In an attempt to defuse the generation of conflict, most societies have developed rules, institutions and procedures for the regulation of conflict. Some rules are prescribed by the state in various labour laws, other rules have been developed through agreements between employers and unions. These institutionalise the process of collective bargaining, which is accepted by many Western countries as being the best means of resolving conflict between employers and workers. Successful labour relations demand a basic knowledge of labour legislation. Labour legislation, broadly stated, is that set of official rules within which the individual and collective relations between the parties – employers and workers; employers mutually; workers mutually, and between the government, employers and workers – are arranged.

Project Question (100 Marks)

Negotiation can be regarded as a specialised field of communication and requires more skills by public managers with colleagues or subordinates. There is a need to negotiate with other stakeholders on the best interventions to respond to societal needs. Elaborate on the importance and role of negotiations in the public sector and analyse and discuss some of the key basic approaches to negotiation. Your discussion should be founded on research information obtained from a Government Department of your choice
Project Guidelines

Marks will be awarded for your own introduction and conclusion and for correct structuring. All headings and subheadings should be numbered correctly and should be listed in your index page. All sources used should be acknowledge in your document (Harvard method) and should also be reflected in your bibliography.

Students are advised to use the structure BELOW when doing this project.


Index Page
1. Introduction
2. Discussion of the negotiation process in your department
The Team
Role and function of team members
Al of the above should be critically discussed in detail
3. Conclusion
4. Bibliography
Critical discussion and examples to illustrate your understanding is very important.

Answers on the Questions on Collective Bargaining

Answer 1: Negotiation is an important way of resolving any type of dispute. It is important to negotiate properly and that requires good communication skills. The role and importance of negotiation in the public sector is also highly significant because it helps in resolving the situation in an amicable way between two parties. There are different approaches available to negotiation, and this section of analysis therefore focuses on the importance of negotiation in the public sector and the key approaches to negotiation available to people in government departments.


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