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Collective bargaining is a process of decision-making between parties representing employer and employee interests which implies the “negotiation and continuous application of an agreed set of rules to govern the substantive and procedural terms of the employment relationship ….” [Collective Bargaining in Industrialised Market Economies: A Reappraisal, J.P. Windmuller et al, ILO, Geneva, 1987].

In most OECD countries, basic rules pertaining to collective bargaining are laid down in labour law, although there are important differences in the extent to which governments intervene in labour-management relations.

Bargaining takes place in many forms. For example, it can occur between trade unions and individual companies (single-employer bargaining), or between union federations and employer associations (multi-employer bargaining). Moreover, these levels are not mutually necessarily exclusive; different issues can be taken up at different levels.

Source Publication:
OECD Employment Outlook, July 1994, Chapter 5, Collective Bargaining: levels and Coverage, page 168.

Cross References:
Collective agreement
Collective bargaining coverage

Created on Thursday, May 2, 2002

Last updated on Thursday, May 2, 2002