Collective bargaining is a form of consultation and negotiation which takes place between employers and trade unions. Collective bargaining takes place when employees of an organisation are members of a trade union and that trade union undertakes to negotiate with the employer in respect of employee terms and conditions.

Currently in Ireland, employers are not obliged to recognise trade unions and therefore are not obliged to engage with trade unions in collective bargaining. Accordingly, collective bargaining only takes place in Ireland where the employer recognises the trade union as being a legitimate bargaining representative of the employees in question. However, this position is liable to change as Ireland is a signatory to a number of European Treaties and Charters which may in fact require Ireland to allow for greater collective bargaining practices and mandatory trade union recognition.