In every institution where employees of an organization have the opportunity to vote to unionize, the concept of collective bargain must be involved. Collective bargaining, therefore, is the act of encouraging negotiation between individuals selected to represent the employees of the union and the company. The principal objective of bargaining is that the management of an institution and the union representatives should reach a diplomatic agreement. The agreement should be time bound and under specified conditions. In a situation where the parties involved in the contract are incapable of achieving a common understanding, then the case is referred to as a bargaining impasse. An impasse may result due to exhaustion of new ideas or just due to resistance by individuals to useful options.
Every company must purpose to get the negotiation going in case of an impasse. There exist various techniques to help improve on bargaining and deal with the incident of an impasse, but the primary objective should be to encourage constructive negotiation and analysis by the parties to an agreement (Walpole and Kurt 210). The typical method of overcoming impasse is by the incorporation of interventions. The interventions are of three major categories which include arbitration, fact-finding, and mediation. Unique features and specific disadvantages accompany every form of intervention.
Mediation as a form of intervention is based on the concept of introduction of a knowledgeable and neutral individual in the process of negotiation to enable the management and the union to reach a voluntary non-coaxed consensus (Fisher and Ronald 40). The third party may be from the general public, the government or a professional and experienced person on the subject involved. The individual is tasked to perform procedural functions to assist in a peaceful resolution of the disagreement. The services apart from being procedural can also be categorized as substantive or communicative. The procedural duties may involve activities such arranging for meetings and come up with the agendas to be discussed in the meetings. Communicative functions ensure that there is a fluid flow of information between the disagreeing individuals. Substantive tasks involve the use of professional knowledge to catalyze the whole process of negotiation.
Fact-finding is based on the theory of rational persuasion as opposed to the application of power in getting individuals to subscribe to a contract (Fisher and Ronald 46) A fact-finding third party or parties in case of where a panel is involved collects factual data by the process of hearing. Parties to the agreement present evidence before the factfinder top help argue out their given proposals. The fact finder after hearing from both sides acts by providing an advisory opinion. Every single impasse is critically analysed, and a tentative solution is provided which is backed up with relevant rationale.
Arbitration is another form of intervention. It involves overcoming impasses by developing formal disagreement resolutions procedures. The process conclusively determines all the disputes based on pre-established judicial procedures (Fisher and Ronald 51). Arbitration has been used by most organisation to avoid the events of strikes due to its conclusive nature. The model involves a situation where the parties in dispute present their opinions before a panel of arbitrators. The arguments must be supported by concrete evidence. The panel then acts by developing a solution which is as close as possible to what the parties to the agreement could have reached.
Existence of an impasse in a collective bargain is not a new phenomenon and therefore any organisation has at one point experienced the scenario. Third party intervention has been used in the past and will continue to be used even in the future. The management of every company should therefore analyse the three basic methods of intervention to determine which best suits the particular case of impasse and apply it correctly.
Fisher, Ronald J. "Third party consultation: A method for the study and resolution of conflict." Ronald J. Fisher: A North American Pioneer in Interactive Conflict Resolution. Springer, Cham, 2016. 37-71.
Walpole, Kurt. "The Fair Work Act: Encouraging collective agreement-making but leaving collective bargaining to choice." Labour & Industry: a journal of the social and economic relations of work 25.3 (2015): 205-218.
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