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Process of negotiation between representatives of workers (usually labour union officials) and management to determine the conditions of employment. The agreement reached may cover not only wages but hiring practices, layoffs, promotions, working conditions and hours, and benefit programs. Collective bargaining developed in England at the end of the 18th century. Although collective bargaining agreements are common in many countries, they are more scarce in developing countries that have large pools of surplus labour. Contract negotiations may occur at the national, regional, or local level, depending on the structure of industry within a country. See alsolabour union; strike.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on collective bargaining, visit Britannica.com.