Industrial Relations Industrial relations is an art,
Introduction • 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).
Meaning • The term ‘Industrial Relations’ comprises of two terms: ‘Industry’ and ‘Relations’. -“Industry” refers to “any productive activity in which an individual (or a group of individuals) is (are) engaged”. - By “relations” we mean “the relationships that exist within the industry between the employer and his workmen.” • The term industrial relations explains the relationship between employees and management which stem directly or indirectly from union-employer relationship.
In the broad sense, industrial relations cover all such relationships that a business enterprise maintains with various sections of the society such as workers, state, customers and public who come into its contact. • In the narrow sense, it refers to all types of relationships between employer and employees, trade union and management, workers and union and between workers and workers. It also includes all sorts of relationships at both formal and informal levels in the organization. • The term ‘industrial relations’ has been variously defined: • Industrial relations are viewed here as the “ process by which people and their organization interact at the place of work to establish the terms and conditions of employment. • J.T. Dunlop defines industrial relations as “the complex interrelations among managers, workers and agencies of the governments”. • According to Dale Yoder “industrial relations is the process of management dealing with one or more unions with a view to negotiate and subsequently administer collective bargaining agreement or labour contract”.
Importance of Industrial Relations • It establishes industrial democracy • It contributes to economic growth and development • It ensures optimum use of scare resources • It improves morale of he work force • It discourages unfair practices on the part of both management and unions • It prompts enactment of sound labour legislation
It ensures uninterrupted production. • It reduces the industrial disputes. • It has brought a mental revolution. • It helps in reducing wastages
Objectives of IR • To safeguard the interest of labor and management by securing the highest level of mutual understanding and good-will among all those sections in the industry which participate in the process of production. • 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 raise productivity to a higher level in an era of full employment by lessening the tendency to high turnover and frequency absenteeism. • To establish and promote 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 eliminate or minimize the number of strikes, lockouts and gheraos by providing reasonable wages, improved living and working conditions, said fringe benefits. To improve the economic conditions of workers in the existing state of industrial managements and political government. Socialization of industries by making the state itself a major employer Vesting of a proprietary interest of the workers in the industries in which they are employed.
Present Status of IR • Prior to 1991, the industrial relations system in India sought to control conflicts and disputes through excessive labor legislations. These labor laws were protective in nature and covered a wide range of aspects of workplace industrial relations like laws on health and safety of labors, layoffs and retrenchment policies, industrial disputes and the like. The basic purpose of these laws was to protect labors. However, these protectionist policies created an atmosphere that led to increased inefficiency in firms, over employment and inability to introduce efficacy. With the coming of globalization, the 40 year old policy of protectionism proved inadequate for Indian industry to remain competitive as the lack of flexibility posed a serious threat to manufacturers because they had to compete in the international market.
With the advent of liberalization in1992, the industrial relations policy began to change. Now, the policy was tilted towards employers. Employers opted for workforce reduction, introduced policies of voluntary retirement schemes and flexibility in workplace also increased. Thus, globalization brought major changes in industrial relations policy in India. The changes can be summarized as follows: Collective bargaining in India has mostly been decentralized, but now in sectors where it was not so, are also facing pressures to follow decentralization. Some industries are cutting employment to a significant extent to cope with the domestic and foreign competition e.g. pharmaceuticals. On the other hand, in other industries where the demand for employment is increasing are experiencing employment growths. In the expansionary economy there is a clear shortage of managers and skilled labor.
The number of local and enterprise level unions has increased and there is a significant reduction in the influence of the unions. Under pressure some unions and federations are putting up a united front e.g. banking. Another trend is that the employers have started to push for internal unions i.e. no outside affiliation. HR policies and forms of work are emerging that include, especially in multi-national companies, multi-skills, variable compensation, job rotation etc. These new policies are difficult to implement in place of old practices as the institutional set up still needs to be changed. HRM is seen as a key component of business strategy. Training and skill development is also receiving attention in a number of industries, especially banking and information technology.
Concepts and models of Industrial Relations The IR can be viewed from the various angles which may range from the economic to social, political to legal and psychological and managerial: 1. Psychological Approach: The psychologists are of the view that the problem of industrial relations are deeply rooted in the perception and the attitude of focal participants. • Sociological Approach: Industry is a social world in miniature. The management goals, workers’ attitudes, perception of change in industry, are all, in turn, decided by broad social factors like the culture of the institutions, customs, structural changes, status-symbols, rationality, acceptance or resistance to change, tolerance etc. Industry is, thus inseparable from the society in which it functions.
3 Human Relations Approach: Among all the areas of management, perhaps one of the most delicate and complex is concerned with human resources management. Their handling is radically different from that of physical, material and financial resources because these are not inanimate or passive but are composed of pulsating human beings having their own emotions, perception, attitude, personality. Socio-Ethical Approach: Though not much widely accepted but one of the often discussed approach to industrial relations is the socio-ethical approach. This approach holds that industrial besides having a sociological base does have some ethical ramifications. As good industrial relations can be only maintained when both the labour and management realize their moral responsibility in contributing to the said task through mutual cooperation and great understanding of each other’s problems