Collective bargaining - Collective Agreements Database - United Kingdom (en_GB)

Collective bargaining is key for wage setting and working conditions, but little is known about what exactly is agreed.
COLBAR-EUROPE aims to improve knowledge about the content of Collective Labour Agreements.
The project collects, annotates and compares collective labour agreements.
It does so for EU Member States and Candidate Countries and at European level.
COLBAR-EUROPE received funding from the European Commission - Industrial Relations and Social Dialogue Program - March 2019 - April 2021 (VS/2019/0077)

Explanation - Collective Agreements Database - United Kingdom

What is a collective bargaining agreement?

When trade unions and employers or employers’ organizations negotiate terms and conditions of employment, they undertake collective bargaining.
The written document resulting from such negotiations is a collective bargaining agreement.
Agreements can be signed at company level, at sectoral or inter-professional level, or at national level.
Where is the right of collective bargaining provided?
The right to collective bargaining is one of the fundamental labour rights laid down in two core Conventions of the International Labour Organisation ILO.
These conventions are the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention 1948 (No. 87) and the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention 1949 (No. 98).
ILO addresses the issue also through the Collective Bargaining Convention 1981 (No.154) and the accompanying Recommendation (No.163).

Why a Collective Agreements Database?

The importance of collective agreements is recognised worldwide, but only a few countries in the world maintain a database of the provisions agreed in these agreements.
And even in those cases – e.g. the UK, New Zealand, Netherlands, Brazil – the databases are not comparable across countries.
The WageIndicator team collects and codes agreements, which are comparable worldwide.
Since 2013 – when it was started - the Database has been an essential tool for many activities, reports and projects.
How are agreements collected and coded?
The WageIndicator team collects agreementss from negotiating parties or from the Internet, and uploads the texts in its database.
For each agreements, the team applies a coding scheme, covering twelve topics:

  • General agreements data
  • Job titles
  • Social security and pensions
  • Training
  • Employment contracts
  • Sickness and disability
  • Health and medical assistance
  • Work-life balance arrangements
  • Gender equality issues
  • Wages
  • Working hours
  • Coverage

For each topic, the relevant text is identified and stored in the Collective Agreements Database in a process known as “text annotation”.
The coding scheme for the twelve topics consists of 749 variables.
The resulting scheme as well as the full text are published on the national WageIndicator websites in the original language.
The coding scheme is also available in English.
A tool allows for a comparison across agreements within and across countries.

What can the database be used for?

Share the content of collective agreements by publishing texts and coded schemes online, giving employers and employees the opportunity to read full texts and understand provisions
Carry out research by comparing provisions across companies, sectors and countries
Check compliance of collective agreements with national labour law or see whether they improve the law
Compare collectively agreed wages with minimum wages
Train negotiators in analysing and applying the collective agreements
Find best practices and create model collective agreements

Send your Collective Agreements to our office

More information about the Database of Collective Labour Agreements


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