Comparing collective bargaining agreements for developing countries - 2015

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to fill several knowledge gaps regarding the contents of collective agreements, using a new online database. The authors analyse 249 collective agreements from 11 countries – Benin, Brazil, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Peru, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda. The authors research to what extent wage and other remuneration-related clauses, working hours, paid leave arrangements and work-family arrangements are included in collective agreements and whether bargaining topics cluster within agreements.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors use the web-based WageIndicator Collective Bargaining Agreement Database with uniformly coded agreements, that are both collected and made accessible online. The authors present a quantitative multi-country comparison of the inclusion and contents of the clauses in the agreements.

Findings – The authors find that 98 per cent of the collective agreements include clauses on wages, but that only few agreements specify wage levels. Up to 71 per cent have clauses on social security, 89 per cent on working hours and 84 per cent of work-family arrangements. The authors also find that collective agreements including one of these four clauses, are also more likely to include the other three and conclude that no trade off exists between their inclusion on the bargaining agenda.

Research limitations/implications – Being one of the first multi-country analyses of collective agreements, the analysis is primarily explorative, aiming to establish a factual baseline with regard to the contents of collective agreements.

Originality/value – This study is unique because of its focus on the content of collective bargaining agreements. The authors are the first to be able to show empirically which clauses are included in existing collective agreements in developing countries.


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