What is collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining may include negotiations between a union and employer on any terms and conditions of employment (such as pay, holidays, pensions, etc.) and/or on any procedural arrangements (such as discipline, redundancy, grievance, etc.). When an employer recognises a union, it is usual for the parties to agree the scope of these negotiations.

For the purposes of statutory recognition, through the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), the scope of these negotiations is limited to pay, hours and holidays, although there is nothing to stop the parties from voluntarily agreeing a wider range of issues.

Where an employer recognises a trade union for collective bargaining, the relevant workers' contracts of employment should expressly incorporate all collective agreements, so that individual workers benefit from the negotiated terms.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.