Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) refers to a written contract negotiated through collective bargaining for employees by one or more trade unions or workers’ committee with the management of a company or employers organization in a particular industry, that regulates the terms and conditions of employees at work.
The Labour Act Chapter 28:01 recognizes CBAs negotiated between trade unions (registered or unregistered) and employers’ organizations in a particular industry. (See Part X of the Act.)
A collective bargaining agreement may make provision for the following among other things;
- rates of remuneration and minimum wages for different grades and types of occupations;
- benefits for employees;
- deductions which an employer may make from employees’ wages, including deductions for membership fees and union dues, and deductions which an employer may be required or permitted by law or by order of any competent court to make;
- methods of calculating, or factors for adjusting rates of pay, and the dates, times and modes of payment;
- all issues pertaining to overtime, piece-work, periods of vacation and vacation pay and constraints thereon;
- the demarcation of the appropriate categories and classes of employment and their respective functions;
- the conditions of employment for apprentices;
- the number of hours of work and the times of work with respect to all or some of the employees.
- the requirements of occupational safety;
- housing and transport facilities or in their absence, an allowance for the same;
The law further provides that a CBA shall not contain any provision which is inconsistent with the Labour Act or any other enactment, and any CBA which contains any such provision shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be construed with such modifications, qualifications, adaptations and exceptions as may be necessary to bring it into conformity with the Act or such other enactment.
The law also recognizes the right of the employer and his employees to agree on the introduction of rates of pay which are higher than those stipulated in the CBA in a particular industry. Put differently, a CBA is used as the minimum benchmark.
After negotiation, a CBA shall be submitted to the Registrar of Labour for approval and registration. Upon registration of a CBA the Minister shall publish the agreement as a statutory instrument. The terms and conditions of a registered CBA shall be binding and effective upon the date of such publication and/or any date specified in the agreement.
It is important to point out that failure to observe the terms and conditions stated in a CBA is an unfair labour practice which can result in the employer facing litigation.
The contents of this article are for general information purposes only and do not constitute our legal or professional advice. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage of whatsoever nature which may arise from reliance on any of the information published herein.
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