Settlement of labour disputes is centered on the rights of individuals as opposed to their respective interests. These rights are usually provided by statute, established practice or by collective bargaining between the representatives of the employer and employee in order to achieve a collective agreement. It is important to note that the rights and interest of workers have different objectives. While the rights are already established guidelines protecting the worker under a contract of employment, the interests are usually demands which the worker intends to achieve in the process of a dispute settlement mechanism. In this regard, disagreement over the rights of the worker are justifiable disputes and can be adjudicated upon whilst disputes over interest are frequently settled by hoggling out the differences or by other direct actions like strikes. The various settlement mechanisms will be illustrated below;
- Collective Bargaining: This is the democratic process whereby both the workers and the management mutually and voluntarily bargain on specific issues in which their interests disagree and are likely to affect the company set up with a view to finding common grounds of acceptance and collaboration. According the Labour Act of 1974, collective bargain was described as the process of arriving at, or attempting to arrive at collective agreement. Collective bargaining perform three casual roles which are;
. It is a method through which wage rates and other employment conditions are determined,
. It sets up rules to guide the relations between the parties during the life time of collective agreement,
. It provides for an ordinary method to settle grievances.
- Statutory Procedure: These are procedures backed by statute and regulation. In line with the 1992 labour code of Cameroon, the procedure for settling disputes has been broken down into two. The procedure for settling individual disputes on the one hand and the procedure for settling collective disputes on the other hand. The finality of the statutory procedure to settle labour disputes are either;
. Conciliation which could be total, partial or non-conciliation.
. Arbitral awards.