Question Les Ansell Business & Management

Impacts of Collective Bargaining

What is the effect of collective bargaining on pay for males and females?

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According to the ETUC (2014), collective bargaining (a negotiation process through which the employer and the representative(s) of the workers discuss salaries, working hours, working conditions … etc.) could contribute to the elimination of pay discrimination between males and females performing the same job in the organisation. Reegard (2013) argued that collective bargaining eventually leads to a more equal society, because through collective bargaining, wage inequalities could be discussed more openly and those people involved could better demonstrate their wage interests towards their employers and communities. The ETUC (2014) exemplified this with Norway and the Czech Republic where collective bargaining helped to transform gender relations and to lower wage inequality between males and females.

Elvira and Saporta (2001) studied the phenomenon in the United States investigating the effects of unionisation across nine manufacturing industries. Similarly to Reegard (2013) and the ETUC (2014), they observed that there is a relationship between an industry’s unionisation and wage inequality, however, this relationship was only prevalent in six out of the nine industries reviewed. While Elvira and Saporta (2001) agree that unionisation may reduce wage inequality, other moderating factors, such as the characteristics of the labour union and the overall proportion of women in the industry influence this relationship.


Elvira, M. M. and Saporta, I. (2001) 'How does collective bargaining affect the gender pay gap?', Work and Occupations. 28(4), pp.469–490.

ETUC (2014) Bargaining equality. Available at: (Accessed: 29 October 2016).

Reegard, S. (2011) Strengthen labour market institutions over big finance. In Priorities for a new political economy: Memos to the left. London, Policy Network.