Unilateral regulation is the case when the rules are created and imposed by one side, that is by employer or workers’ union. The rules are related to pay or working conditions. Unilateral regulation happens when both the parties fails to get into collective bargaining. The employer or union, whichever is strong can unilaterally apply regulations on pay or work conditions.
If the workers are unskilled and union is not strong or not headed by strong leaders, they fail to develop collective bargaining with employers. Then employer would make decisions unilaterally about certain things like wages and all. If there are multiple unions and they don’t end up with consensus on setting up wages or standards for working conditions among themselves, in that case also the employer gains the authority of setting up wages and working conditions by looking into current labor market wages. It can lead to unrest or dissatisfaction among workers as they might not get paid as per the amount and quality of work they are delivering.
However, in certain cases, where the relation of employer with labor union is not cordial, union can get involved in disputes. Union comes out too strong and threat to strike or something violent, then it becomes difficult for employer to impose his decisions. In these cases often the labor union decides their own wages and working conditions as per the labor market. Sometimes the regulations implied by union unilaterally are not acceptable by employer. It leads to the intervention of third party as mediator or conciliator to facilitate the discussion and helps in bringing both the parties on some common grounds.
Many instances of labor unrest has been seen in past due to unilateral regulations from the management. The regulations caused harsh working conditions and no beaks in between the work hours. The unrest had led to strike and damaging of plant, for example, Maruti Suzuki ‘Manesar’ case.