Health And Safety Collective Agreement

The ZCTU has also called for an increase in penalties that can be imposed on employers who have violated health and safety laws. The Bethlehem Agreement runs from August 1, 1993 to August 1, 1999. It comprises 17,000 workers in six factories. The full agreement is 275 pages; 17 pages are devoted to safety and health. Workers` organizations and collective bargaining will face difficult challenges in the years to come. Almost all collective bargaining takes place at the level of companies, industry or Member States. On the other hand, the economy is increasingly global. However, beyond Europe, workers` organisations still need to put in place effective mechanisms for long negotiations. Such negotiations are a top priority for international labour organizations. The best way to encourage it is to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of international trade union structures, to put in place strong social clauses in global trade agreements and to adopt appropriate international instruments, such as those of the International Labour Organization. For example, the ILO`s tripartite declaration on multinational enterprises focuses specifically on collective bargaining and occupational health and safety. Many trade unions develop direct links with their counterparts in other countries to coordinate their negotiations and provide mutual assistance. The relationship between mining unions in the United States and Colombia (Zinn, 1995) is an example.

However, safety and health have rarely been an explicit subject in early labour disputes. Workers in hazardous trades have been overwhelmed by more pressing problems such as low wages, oppressive hours of work and the arbitrariness of factory and mine owners. The safety risks were obvious in terms of the daily number of injuries and deaths, but workplace health was not well understood. Workers` organizations were weak and were constantly attacked by landlords and governments. Simple survival was the priority of workers` organizations. As a result, abuses by 19th-century workers have rarely manifested themselves in campaigns for safer conditions (Corn 1978). Power is also important in the negotiations on safety and health. A company may be less interested in reducing the accident rate if it can outsource accident costs. If injured workers can be replaced easily and cheaply without substantial compensation, management may be tempted to avoid costly safety improvements. This is particularly the case for occupational diseases with long latency periods, for which the cost of controls when installing controls is paid, while the benefits may not be incurred for many years.

As a result, a labour organization is more likely to succeed if workers have the power to stop production or call a government inspector if the parties do not negotiate a solution.