Industrial Relations – The Definitions and Main Aspects * Industrial relations has become one of the most delicate and complex problems of modern industrial society. * Industrial progress is impossible without cooperation of labors and harmonious relationships. * Therefore, it is in the interest of all to create and maintain good relations between employees (labor) and employers (management). “Industry” refers to “any productive activity in which an individual (or a group of individuals) is (are) engaged”.
History Of Industrial Relations Industrial relations has its roots in the industrial revolution which created the modern employment relationship by spawning free labor markets and large-scale industrial organizations with thousands of wage workers. Institutionally, industrial relations was founded by John R. Commons when he created the first academic industrial relations program at the University of Wisconsin in 1920. As society wrestled with these massive economic and social changes, labor problems arose.
Low wages, long working hours, monotonous and dangerous work, and abusive supervisory practices led to high employee turnover, violent strikes, and the threat of social instability. In Europe, the labour movement began during the industrial revolution, when agricultural jobs declined and employment moved to more industrial areas. The labour movement was active in the early to mid 19th century and various labour parties were formed throughout the industrialised world. The works of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx led to the formation of the first Communist International whose policies were summarized in theCommunist Manifesto.
Throughout the world, action by the labour movement has led to reforms and workers’ rights, such as the two-day weekend, minimum wage, paid holidays, and the achievement of the eight-hour day for many workers. Objectives of Industrial Relation 1. To safeguard the interest of labor and management who are participate in the process of production is being securing the highest level of mutual understanding and goodwill among all those sections in the industry. 2. To avoid industrial conflict or strife and develop harmonious relations, which are an essential factor in the productivity of workers and the industrial progress of a country.
To eliminate, as far as is possible and practicable, strikes, lockouts and gathers by providing reasonable wages, improved living and working conditions, said fringe benefits. 3. To raise productivity to a higher level in an era of full employment by lessening the tendency to high turnover and frequency absenteeism. 4. To establish and nurse the growth of an Industrial Democracy based on labor partnership in the sharing of profits and of managerial decisions, so that ban individuals personality may grow its full stature for the benefit of the industry and of the country as well. . To establish government control of such plants and units which are running at a loss or in which productions has to be regulated in the public interest. In fact the subsidy is to provide for stable of the productions. It is necessary for mankind. INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS PROGRAMME: A successful industrial relations programme reflects the personnel viewpoint, which is influenced by three main considerations: a) Individual thinking: Individualized thinking makes if imperative for the administrator to consider the entire situation in which the affected individual is placed. )
Law and Policy awareness: The Law and Policy awareness underscores the idea of the consistency of treatment and the precedent value which management takes decision. Other part, the union leader should know the implications of such laws and policy for the employees. c) Far sight of the expected reaction of group: while expected group reaction balances what we know of human nature in groups against an individual’s situation in the light of the policy that has been formulated and implemented. In all these different circumstances, reality demands that all he three aspects of the personnel viewpoint should be considered at once in terms of the past, the present and the future. This viewpoint is held at all the levels of management from the top to the bottom, from the top executives and staff to the line and supervisory personnel. Strikes * It is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work for the protecting their right and their interest * A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became important in factories and mines.
In most countries, they were quickly made illegal, as factory owners had far more political power than workers. Most western countries partially legalized striking in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. * Strikes are sometimes used to put pressure on governments to change policies. Type based on techniques * Slow-down strike * Quicki strike * Sit-down strike * Work to rule * Ordinary strike Types based on generic purposes * Sympathetic strike * Jurisdictional strike * Political strike * General strike Gherao One of method the method designed to exert pressure for the fulfillment of demands * The practice involves confinement of authority in their offices this can last for hours or even days and they are prevented from going out pending the fulfillment of the demands, * Persons under gherao are forced to remain without food and water for hours are at times * Another counter to a strike is a lockout, the form of work stoppage in which an employer refuses to allow employees to works, Layoff * The temporary suspension or permanent termination of employment of an employee or (more commonly) a group of employees for business reasons. Many synonyms such as downsizing exist, most of which are euphemisms and more abstract descriptions of the process, most of which can also be used for more inclusive processes than that of reducing the number of employees. Downsizing is the “conscious use of permanent personnel reductions in an attempt to improve efficiency and/or effectiveness”. Retrenchment * It is something akin to downsizing. * When a company or government goes through retrenchment, it reduces outgoing money or expenditures or redirects focus in an attempt to become more financially solvent. Companies can employ this tactic in two different ways. * One way is to slash expenditures by laying off employees, closing superfluous offices or branches, reducing benefits such as medical coverage or retirement plans, freezing hiring or salaries, or even cutting salaries. There are numerous other ways in which a company can employ retrenchment. * These can be non-employee related, such as reducing the quality of the materials used in a product, streamlining the process in which a product is manufactured or produced. Scope of industrial Relations 1.
Development of Healthy Labor-Management Relations The promotion of healthy labor management relations pre-supposes: The existence of strong, well-organized, democratic and responsible trade unions and associations of employers. This can lead to: * Job security of employees * Increased workers’ participation in management * Negotiations, consultations and discussions * Good labour-management relations. 2. Maintenance of Industrial Peace Industrial peace pre-supposes the absence of industrial strife. Industrial peace is essential for increased productivity and harmonious labour-management relations.
The industrial peace can be largely nurtured through the following means: * Machinery should be set up for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes * The industrial peace can also be attained by the creation and maintenance of implementation cells and evaluation committees which have the power to look into implementation of agreements, settlements and awards and also violations of statutory provisions laid down under various labour laws. 3. Development of Industrial Democracy The idea of industrial democracy states that the labour should have the right to be associated with the management of an industry.
To achieve this objective, the following techniques are usually employed: 4. Establishment of the Shop Councils and Joint Management Councils at the floor and plant level. These councils aim at * Improving the working and living conditions of employee * Improving productivity, encourage suggestions from employees * Assisting the administration of laws and agreements * Serve as a channel of communication between the management and employees * Creating among the employees a sense of participation in the decision-making process and * Sense of belonging to the industry.
Contemporary issues in IR Low wage: In many of the factories, workers are still given wages below subsistence level, which leads to high degree of dissatisfaction and subsequent decrease in productivity. Employment of women: There are special provisions regarding the employment of women in the Factories Act, which prohibit employment of women during the night shift and also on heavy machinery. Under the Equal Remuneration Act, women are entitled to equality of wages at par with the male workers. Ignorance and illiteracy: Various labour laws that have beer made would be beneficial to the workers if implemented properly.
For this it is important that the workers themselves understand the underlying principles and provisions of the law and demand whatever is due to them. Industrial Housing: Here the problem is that the firms are not able to provide accommodation to the employees and further that the house rent allowance (HRA) that they provide is not sufficient to keep pace with the ever -rising demands of the landlords Child labour: The Supreme Court has passed a ruling strictly prohibiting the employment of children in any kind of factory. But still one finds instances of violation of law. Measures to Improve IR Progressive Management out look * Strong & Stable Unions * Mutual Trust. * Mutual Accommodation * Sincere Implementation of Agreements * Workers participation in Management * Sound personnel policies * Government’s Role. IMPORTANCE OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS – The healthy industrial relations are key to the progress and success. Their significance may be discussed as under: 1. Uninterrupted Production: The most important benefit of industrial relations is that this ensures continuity of production. Satisfied employees efficiently utilize the available resources which ultimately results in maximum possible production. . Reduction In Industrial Disputes: Good industrial relations reduce the industrial disputes. Strikes, lockouts, go-slow tactics, gherao and grievances are some of the reflections of industrial unrest which do not spring up in an atmosphere of industrial peace. 3. High Morale: Good industrial relations improve the morale of the employees. Employees work with great zeal with a feeling that their employers value them and they both share similar interests. 4. Mental Revolution: The employer and his employees should think of themselves as partners at work and the role of workers in such a partnership must be recognized.
At the same time workers should also recognize employer’s authority. 5. New Programmes: New programmes for workers’ development such as training facilities, labor welfare etc. are introduced in an atmosphere of peace. It increases the efficiency of workers resulting in higher and better production at lower costs. 6. Reduced Wastage: Good industrial relations are maintained on the basis of cooperation and recognition of each other. Wastages of man, material and machines are reduced to the minimum and thus national interest is protected.
Conclusion: If the twin objectives of rapid national development and increased social justice are to be achieved, there must be harmonious relationship between management and labor. TYPES OF CONFLICTS IN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS Conflict is a process in which one party perceives that its interests are being opposed or negatively affected by another party. * Industrial conflict resulting from employee behavior: Unorganized withholding of efforts, intentional waste and inefficiency, high labor turnover and absenteeism, complaints and grievances, violation of rules and regulations, etc. Industrial conflict resulting from management behavior: Autocratic supervision and over strict discipline and penalties, unnecessary and discriminatory firing, demotions, discharge and dismissal, and unofficial speedups. Few suggestions for the improvement of industrial relations and reduce disputes 1. Trade unions should be strengthened democratically so that they can understand and toe with the main stream of the national industrial activities. They can drop the some how survive attitude by promising impossibles and consequent perpetual strain. 2.
Employers should have more transparency in their dealings with workers to build Confidence and have progressive out look. 3. They should have open minded flexible collective Bargaining. 4. Workers should be allowed to participate in the management through forums, committees and councils, 5. Sound labour policy, planning 6. Proper leadership and communication 7. Enforcement of discipline 8. Try to have union with in workers fold. 9. Equity in distribution of wealth by acknowledging workers as team members Industrial Relations Affects * Economic Performance * Business Success * Employees Experience of Work Case Study Introduction
On July 25, 2005, the management of the Honda Motorcycle ;amp; Scooter India (Private) Limited, (HMSI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Company Limited (HMCL), encountered violent protests from workers that disrupted production at their plant in Gurgaon. HMSI workers were severely beaten up by the police, and newspapers and TV channels gave wide coverage to the violence of the action. The protest followed six months of simmering labor unrest at the HMSI factory in which the workers also resorted to job slowdown (since December 2004 when the workers’ demand for an increase in wages was rejected by the HMSI management).
With their demands being rejected by the management, the workers tried to form a trade union and this resulted in a confrontation with the management. Fifty workers of the production team were suspended and four others dismissed in May 2005. Apparently there was a show of strength between the management and workers. While the management alleged that the workers were resorting to ‘go-slow’ tactics and were threatening not to return to work until their colleagues had been reinstated, the workers alleged that the management was using pressure tactics such as victimization of active union members and a ‘lock-out’ to break the back of the union.
On July 25, 2005, the workers of the plant were demanding reinstatement of the suspended employees when some workers allegedly attacked policemen on the plant premises. This led to police intervention and a violent tussle ensued between the police and the workers in which workers protesting peacefully were also beaten up. The police were reported to have overreacted and it was alleged that they had been overzealous in protecting the interests of the HMSI management, even without any direct request from the company’s management (Refer to Exhibit I for some images of violence during the HMSI protest).
For companies, the incident brought to the fore the need to maintain sound industrial relations to ensure productive and profitable operations The Blame Game The management and the workers traded allegations and counter allegations on what the root cause of the dispute was. They blamed each other for the situation that ultimately took an ugly turn on July 25, 2005. The management held the workers responsible for indiscipline and for slowing down production, while the workers insisted that there had been no indiscipline on their part and that the management was bringing up this issue only to prevent the formation of a trade union at HMSI.
Violation of Laws Some analysts charged that the incident was fallout of the long-term oppression and malpractices at the Gurgaon factory by the HMSI management. They alleged that HMSI’s management had violated certain laws relating to the welfare of workers. It was reported that a worker had allegedly been kicked by a Japanese manager on the shop floor in December 2004. The services of four other workers who had come to his rescue were allegedly terminated.
Could This Ugly Situation Have been Averted Several factors can lead to a conflict between the workers and the management of any company, and as such, companies should be prepared to trace the root cause of the problem and solve it. Industry experts opined that with proper understanding of the industrial laws and causes of disputes, the management and the workers of any company could avoid incidents such as the one at HMSI.