Collective bargaining is the process which facilitate an agreement between workers on one side and employer on the other in which each side promises to carry out an obligation in exchange for its demand. The general purpose of this study is to ascertain the relevance of collective bargaining as an alternative approach to conflict resolution in industries, but focuses on the telecommunication industry Asaba, Delta State. The study utilized primary data gathered through self-structured questionnaire while secondary data were used from the internet and journals. Respondents were selected purposely from members of MTN and Airtel, and customers; 90 subjects were used for the study which includes 42 male and 48 female. The simple percentage statistical tool and regression analysis were used to critically analyze and test the data collected. The findings revealed that collective bargaining has a significant impact on conflict resolution in public companies. The study concludes that dialogue and compromise, arbitration and pluralism have an impact on industrial relations, labor relations and industrial harmony. It was recommended that an attempt to forestall industrial conflict, organizations should enhance mutual understanding for peace and harmony to exist in the workplace, collective bargaining strategy is appropriate for labour conflict resolution.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The decline in the quality of public companies services and Infrastructure in Nigeria is evident. This assessment is apt given the effort of various agencies (governmental and non-governmental) which have yield marginal successes, especially in term of the relatively low access to basic industrial services. Public companies workers have over the years engaged in recurring negotiation with government at the different level to bring about necessary and important reform to the public sector. The result has however been inconsistent in term of implementation at the state level and local government levels. Available evidence also reveal that Nigeria public companies are still relatively weak, majority as a result of the lack of coordination and integration amongst the human and material resources attributed to this sector (Obansa and Akinnagbe,2013)).
Many industries, particularly pubic enterprise have recognized the value of collective bargaining to become relevant as a means of dispute resolution by institutionalization and containing conflict. Collective bargaining is traditionally the main function of trade union. It is the process by which employers and organizational group of employees seek to reconcile their conflicting goals through mutual accommodation thereby reaching a collective agreement that regulate terms and conditions of employment.
Matters relating to collective bargaining and dispute resolution are often very crucial because organization comprises of various group of people who came together under the organization umbrella, but have diverse interest that need to be met. Recently, organization are facing stiff competition and struggling with the need to manage dispute, restructure their organization and remuneration policy. These problems are compounded by other difficulties such as the determination of freedom of association, industrial harmony and social peace etc.
Uvieghere(2001) opined that ”the term collective bargaining is applied to those agreement under which wages and conditions of employment are settled by a bargain in the term of agreement between employers and their employees/workers”. He expatiated that ”the long term interest of government, employers and trade union alike would seem to rest on the process of consultation and discussion which is the foundation of democracy in industry”.
Moreover, dispute is a normal phenomenal in every enterprise which has its positive and negative effect on the organization. It brings about mutual understanding and great test of knowledge of the two parties (Ojo, 1998) and also slow down the activities and term, that refers to a number of processes that can be used to resolve a conflict, dispute or claim.
Dispute resolution can be used to form any type of case including family, neighborhood, housing, personal injury, consumers and environmental dispute. They are less formal and have more flexible rules to legal process (court). The nature of the relationship between parties in collective bargaining distinguishes the negotiation from normal commercial negotiation. It may take a form of haggling; ideally it should involve adjusting the respective position of the parties in a way that it is satisfactory to all (Bangako, 1998).
Several research work have been done in which manner conflict are resolved, how they are implemented and put to use and the implication/outcome it have on companies situation (Forsyth A.2012). Basically, much emphasis has not been placed on the situations faced by most public companies to improve its performance and interrelationship. Although, past studies provide knowledge regarding the nature and important of collective bargaining, employers-employees relation, business turnover-(seen from both management and employees) (Gordon et al 1990).
The widely held misconception that union management interaction must be adversary and combative is anchored on the existence of dual interest groups (in organization) with different goals and motivation. One group is reaped by employers of labour whose primary concern is profit maximization or service delivery at any and all cost. The second group is made up of workers-their goal is to achieve improved welfare and better working conditions. The achievement of these seeming disparate goals dictates attitude and strategies that bring the interest group on collision path and ultimately conflict. Collective bargaining then rises to these challenges.
Some questions remain unanswered. For example why is there no long lasting relationship and strategic out coming tool to conflict resolution. Collective bargaining is mostly directed to financial and other fringe benefit in any given organization. Hence, the main aim of research is to fill the gap of unsettled issues in public industries through the act of dialogue and compromise, pluralism, in order to achieve social peace, industrial harmony, and conciliation among others.