Definition: Bargaining Levels

Bargaining levels are the various levels or hierarchies at which collective bargaining is done to resolve the dispute between the employer and trade union. The different bargaining levels can be unit level, plant level, industry level, territorial / geographical level & national level bargaining.

By referring to the rungs in the hierarchical levels at which the bargaining takes place, the bargaining levels are explained below:

Unit Level Bargaining: This is decentralized approach to bargaining. Unit level means individual level bargaining. In companies like MNCs belonging to IT industry, there is educated and well aware workforce. There are no unions in this type of industry. So whenever negotiation has to take place, it happens at individual level.

Plant Level bargaining: This type of bargaining takes place between an employer and a union. If there are multiple unions, the bargaining can take place between an employer and multiple unions. The basis of bargaining are the parameters set by a particular plant/company.

Industry Level Bargaining: At this level, the bargaining generally takes place in a tripartite form involving the union/unions, employer and government officer/officers. The parameters for this kind of bargaining varies from industry to industry. For example, bargaining takes place in different form in Jute/Textile industry than Steel industry.

Territorial / Geographical level: The employment provisions and say pension schemes made by state/ territorial government changes depending upon area. Companies set up in varies geographical locations cannot use same grounds or parameters for bargaining.

National Level Bargaining: This is a centralized bargaining unit. National level bargaining is common in public sector where wages, compensation and various other employees benefit schemes are decided at national level. If we compare internationally, Norway is ranked highly in collective Bargaining in national level bargaining.

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