Collective bargaining: On May 5, the International Labor Organization (ILO) published the Social Dialogue Report 2022, in which it reports on the contribution of collective bargaining to inclusive and effective labor governance. The organization sees collective bargaining as a form of co-regulation, as it offers unique mechanisms for regulating employment conditions through the exchange of employer and employee interests. The document includes a series of priorities that the organization recommends should be taken into account to exploit the benefits of collective bargaining and contribute to an inclusive and sustainable recovery.
In the report, the organization presents an analysis of the collective bargaining landscape, looking at aspects such as regulatory coverage, representative organizations of employers and workers, and its development during the pandemic. At the regulatory level, the ILO emphasizes that all ILO member states, even if they have not ratified the core conventions, have an obligation to promote and respect fundamental principles, such as the right to collective bargaining. The specific ILO instrument on the subject is Convention 98. It includes two essential aspects to be taken into account: action by the authorities to promote collective bargaining and the voluntary act of negotiation between the parties.
In terms of recommendations, the ILO maintains that trade unions must strengthen their capacity to analyze and understand the transformations that are occurring in the world of work, as well as to be able to influence economic and social policies. The organization also urges the relevant government authorities to review national regulatory frameworks to ensure that they provide clarity and legal certainty in the face of the proliferation of diverse work arrangements.
In the report, the ILO presents priorities that are of interest to the development of collective bargaining and that need to be addressed by government authorities, the private sector and workers. These include the revitalization of employers’ and workers’ organizations and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining for all workers, among others. These recommendations could be taken into account by the different sectors involved to improve and strengthen the terms of collective bargaining, or update the regulatory frameworks based on the diversification of labor activities and their modalities.
Opportunity for engagement
The private sector should take into account the current trends and challenges posed by the ILO in order to anticipate possible regulatory changes and work with workers’ organizations to reach agreements that benefit both parties. If governments decide to advance in the regulation of collective bargaining processes, the private sector will also be able to be part of these tripartite discussion processes.