Participation aux décisions et négociation collective
Volume : 30-4 (1975)
Participation in Decision-Making and Collective Bargaining
By definition industrial relations are relations between agents with devient interests, and most of the observers concur in judging that the double-notion « collective dispute — collective bargaining » makes up its main topic.
Collective bargaining is one of many phases of union's activity. The other one is representation, and the joint committee, in France as in other European countries, being an example. The joint committee was created as a mean of cooperation ; but finally and as now employed, it is not that much paradoxal to the dispute. The mode of participation in decisions therefore becomes conflictual.
The joint committee was not intented at source to become a mean of bargaining, but rather a medium of consultation and information in the professional and economic field. At the enterprise's level, collective bargaining is the prerogative of union sections which, in some European countries, tempt to gradually bring in options of strategical order, such as employment policy and investment program of the enterprise.
Consequently, we close in to a « full and deliberative participation of great strategical options » (Heckel) with the result that collective bargaining becomes conclusive, and indeed, even co-conclusive in a more and more wide sphere, and curbs accordingly the manager's unilateral powers.
The social responsibility of an enterprise seemingly is to become the stake of collective bargaining between social partners — Governments included. This will enable unions to take a more and more prominent part in social change.
In France, moreover, we are witnessing the vulgarizing of the bargaining process : collective bargaining born in an industrial world of work are now carrying on elsewhere : everywhere bargaining is a must in order to set up a common rule.
At firms' level, collective bargaining tends toward decentralization with a possible constitution of bargaining structures at the workshop level, and upwards towards to the decision-making level : a process almost simulteneous of centralization and decentralization.
By way of summary, the author wishes the enterprise will be considered as a bargaining system : a study of bargaining practice within the big enterprises would gain a great deal by bringing together theorists of their own and the ones from Industrial Relations. The importance gained by conflict and collective bargaining within the behavioral sciences could make possible to consider the enterprise as a bargaining system at all levels, either contractual or non-contractual.