Negotiating the Agreement

  • R. B. McKersie
  • L. C. Hunter


The purpose of this chapter is to examine the negotiating process by which the parties actually agree on terms for a productivity improvement scheme. In most situations, the negotiation is a logical and necessary step in the overall programme, and takes place after the parties have become sufficiently troubled about existing achievement and reward relationships to seek a revised work-wage system. The parties first agree upon the character of the change and subsequently, after the agreement has been signed, they proceed to put the change into practice. This approach can be termed the direct method of productivity improvement.


Collective Bargaining Industrial Relation Union Negotiator Wage Increase Indirect Approach 
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  1. 2.
    These concepts are elaborated in: R. E. Walton and R. B. McKersie, A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    For an account of the events at Alcan, see M. Walker, ‘Productivity Bargaining at Alcan’, in A Productivity Bargaining Symposium, ed. D. C. Alexander (London: Engineering Employers’ Federation, 1969). Walker observes that when the proposals were first put forward by management in 1964, the craft unions rejected them out of hand: ‘They said that there were not immediate benefits to a substantial minority of their members. They also thought that the proposed wage levels were inadequate and they objected strongly to being required to negotiate together with the T. & G.W.U. people. … The Craftsmen pressed their opposition to a point where we had to withdraw the proposals’ (op. cit., p. 86).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Joy Larkom, ‘Planning for Productivity’, Personnel Management, I, 5 (September 1969) 41.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Final Report of the Committee of Inquiry under the Rt Hon. Lord Devlin into certain matters concerning the Port Transport Industry (London: H.M.S.O., 1965) 83. The question might be raised as to why the early discussions on the docks were not more fruitful, given management’s exploratory approach. Integrative bargaining was not feasible in an atmosphere of insecurity — as we indicated in Chapter 5, when workers are striving to achieve minimally acceptable financial arrangements, in this instance, adequate weekly guarantees, negotiations will be forced into the pressure-bargaining mode. For a complete discussion of the Devlin Committee and for a general analysis of recent experience on the docks, see Vernon H. Jensen, Decasualisation and Modernisation of Dock Work in London (Ithaca, N.Y.: New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, 1971).Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    A. N. Oppenheim and J. C. R. Bayley, ‘Productivity and Conflict’, Proceedings of the International Peace Research Association Third General Conference (The Netherlands: Assen, 1970) 87.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    See National Economic Development Office, Plant Bargaining (London: N.E.D.O., 1969) 10.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    N.B.P.I. Report No. 8, Pay and Conditions of Service of British Railways Staff, Cmnd 2873 (London: H.M.S.O., 1966) 10.Google Scholar
  8. 16.
    N.B.P.I. Report No. 151, Bread Prices and Pay in the Baking Industry, Second Report, Cmnd 4428 (London: H.M.S.O., 1970) 9.Google Scholar
  9. 24.
    This account is based on our own fieldwork at Mobil. For a separate perspective, that of a consultant, and one that essentially parallels our own, see F. E. Oldfield, New Look Industrial Relations (London, 1966) pp. 49–53.Google Scholar
  10. 27.
    D. C. Alexander (ed.), A Productivity Bargaining Symposium (London: Engineering Employers’ Federation, 1969) 92.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© R. B. McKersie and L. C. Hunter 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. B. McKersie
    • 1
  • L. C. Hunter
    • 2
  1. 1.New York State School of Industrial and Labor RelationsCornell UniversityUSA
  2. 2.University of GlasgowUK

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