In the study, the researcher conducted a qualitative systematic literature review and a document analysis of secondary data, to determine the viability of collective bargaining on a transnational level. This was achieved by conceptualising collective bargaining, the fundamental International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining, transnational labour relations, and transnational collective bargaining in the European Union (EU), in order to obtain an in-depth understanding of the new phenomenon that is transnational collective bargaining. Globalisation and powerful transnational corporations have caused employees and their representatives to lose power. This has led to transnational labour relations, a new form of labour law which is still in the developing stage. Collective bargaining is acknowledged as a basic human right, and has improved the working and living standards of employees. The ILO has been a significant actor in the promotion of collective bargaining on a national level. The EU is seen as the pioneer of transnational collective bargaining on company level, and established European Work Councils (EWCs) that have conducted transnational collective bargaining effectively. The researcher firstly discussed the parties, rules, and environmental context of the voluntary collective bargaining process. This was followed with the analysis of Conventions 87 and 98 of the ILO granting the right of freedom of association and collective bargaining. The study discusses the principles countries should implement in order to ensure that these rights are enforced, compliance with these rights, the ILO’s credibility and legal capacity. Thereafter, the terms transnational and transnationalism were defined. Furthermore, current transnational labour methods were described, such as the international framework agreements concluded by transnational union networks and transnational corporations. Global union federations, European trade union federations, non-governmental organisations, and EWCs were identified as the main transnational collective bargaining parties forming transnational networks. Transnational collective bargaining in the EU was investigated by identifying the EU strategies that have been put in place for the implementation of transnational collective bargaining, together with reasons why a voluntary collective bargaining framework has not been implemented in the EU. The researcher’s conclusion was that collective bargaining could be viable on a transnational level, but that it is hampered by various factors.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2018.