A collective agreement is an agreement between an employer and a union representing employees, outlining terms and conditions of employment. In Singapore, unions negotiate collective agreements on behalf of their members. These agreements cover a wide range of issues, including wages, benefits, working hours, and job security.
The Singapore government recognizes the importance of collective bargaining and has established a legal framework to facilitate it. The Industrial Relations Act (IRA) sets out the procedures for negotiating and registering collective agreements. It also provides for the resolution of disputes between employers and unions.
The IRA requires employers to recognize and negotiate with unions representing their employees. If a union represents at least 50% of the workers in a particular category, the employer must recognize the union and negotiate with them in good faith. The union must also follow certain procedures, including giving notice of their intention to negotiate and providing a copy of their proposed agreement to the employer.
Once negotiations have started, both parties are required to attend mediation if they cannot reach an agreement. If mediation fails, either party can apply for a determination by the Ministry of Manpower. The ministry will then appoint a mediator to try and resolve the dispute. If this also fails, the matter can be referred to the Industrial Arbitration Court for a final decision.
Collective agreements in Singapore typically cover a period of two to three years. They must be registered with the Ministry of Manpower to be legally binding. Once registered, they can only be changed by mutual agreement between the employer and the union.
Collective agreements have several benefits for both employers and employees. They provide a clear framework for resolving disputes and ensure that employees are fairly compensated for their work. They also give unions a voice in the workplace, allowing them to advocate for the rights of their members.
In conclusion, collective bargaining is an important part of the employment landscape in Singapore. The government has established a legal framework to facilitate it and ensure that both employers and unions are held accountable. Collective agreements provide a fair and transparent way of resolving disputes and ensuring that employees are treated fairly.