The concept of industrial relations has a wide meaning. The expression industrial relations by itself means relationship that emerges out of day-to-day working and association of labour and management. But when taken in its wider sense, it includes ‘the relation between an employee and an employer in the course of running of an industry’.
Actors in the IR system
Three main parties are directly involved in industrial relations:
Employers: Employers possess certain rights vis-à-vis labors. They have the right to hire and fire them. Management can also affect workers’ interests by exercising their right to relocate, close or merge the factory or to introduce technological changes.
Employees: Workers seek to improve the terms and conditions of their employment. They exchange views with management and voice their grievances. They also want to share decision making powers of management. Workers generally unite to form unions against the management and get support from these unions.
Government: The Government influences and regulates industrial relations through laws, rules, agreements, it also includes third parties and labor and tribunal courts.
Objectives of Industrial Relation
- 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 increase productivity to a higher level in an era of full employment by decreases the tendency to high turnover and frequency absenteeism.
- 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 eliminate, as far as is possible and practicable, strikes, lockouts and gheraos by providing reasonable wages, improved living and working conditions, said fringe benefits.
- To establish government control of such plants and units as are running at a loss or in which productions has to be regulated in the public interest.
- Improvements in the economic conditions of workers in the existing state of industrial managements and political government.
- Control exercised by the state over industrial undertaking with a view to regulating production and promoting harmonious industrial relations.
Importance of Industrial Relations
The healthy industrial relations are key to the progress. Their significance may be discussed as under-
1. Uninterrupted production – The most important benefit of industrial relations is that this ensures continuity of production. This means, continuous employment for all from manager to workers. The resources are fully utilized, resulting in the maximum possible production. There is uninterrupted flow of income for all.
2. Reduction in Industrial Disputes – Good industrial relation reduce the industrial disputes. Disputes are reflections of the failure of basic human urges or motivations to secure adequate satisfaction or expression which are fully cured by good industrial relations. 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. It helps promoting co-operation and increasing production.
3. High morale – Good industrial relations improve the morale of the employees. Every worker feels that he is a co-owner of the gains of industry. The employer in his turn must realize that the gains of industry are not for him along but they should be shared equally and generously with his workers. In other words, complete unity of thought and action is the main achievement of industrial peace. It increases the place of workers in the society and their ego is satisfied. It naturally affects production because mighty co-operative efforts alone can produce great results.
4. Mental Revolution – The main object of industrial relation is a complete mental revolution of workers and employees. The industrial peace lies ultimately in a transformed outlook on the part of both. Both should think themselves as partners of the industry and the role of workers in such a partnership should be recognized. On the other hand, workers must recognize employer’s authority. It will naturally have impact on production because they recognize the interest of each other.
5. New Programs – New programs for workers development are introduced in an atmosphere of peace such as training facilities, labor welfare facilities etc. 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. It will help increase production. Wastages of man, material and machines are reduced to the minimum and thus national interest is protected.
Industrial Relations in my organization-
1. Trade Union
- No Trade union activities in my organization.
2. Employers’ Federation
- No Employer’s federation activities in my organization.
3. Wages and Industrial Relations
Basically the wage components are Basic wages, dearness allowance, allowance including over time, bonus, and fringe benefit etc. The determination of an employees’ wage in my organization is governed by variety of factors, some controlled by the management and some by others. As we all know each job has its own price, depends on the skill, experience and training. We try to concentrate on that and ensure the wages accordingly. Of course we are not out of society as we ensure the Govt. declared minimum wage. From my point of view every employee are getting their respective wages well over the minimum rate.
4. Collective Bargaining
- No collective bargaining agent in my organization.
5. Employee Grievances
In an organization where human relationships are involved there are likely to be instances when employees feel that they are not treated properly, that conditions of employment are not those stated or promised, that the work environment is not conducive, that promotion policy is unfair and so on. When human beings work together there is a likelihood of friction and misunderstanding. Some of these areas of friction could lead to unhappiness or dissatisfaction among workers. In my organization, to resolve these issues, we follow the Step Ladder policy rather than Open Door policy.
Under Step ladder policy, the aggrieved employee has to follow a step by step procedure for getting his grievance redressed. In this procedure, whenever an employee is confronted with a grievance, he presents his problem to his immediate supervisor. If the employee is not satisfied with superior’s decision, then he discusses his grievance with the departmental head. The departmental head discusses the problem with joint grievance committees to find a solution. However, if the committee also fails to redress the grievance, then it may be referred to Managing Director. If Managing Director also fails to redress the grievance, then such a grievance is referred to voluntary arbitration (as per our existing labor law) where the award of arbitrator is binding on both the parties.
6. Disciplinary Issue
Discipline is very essential for a healthy industrial atmosphere and the achievement of organizational goals. My organization takes discipline as one of the major issue for going forward toward the success. Disciplinary action takes only when any kind of misconduct exists, of course we follow the law accordingly. Depending on the gravity of the misconduct, the past record of the employee and the judgment of the management, appropriate punishment is awarded. The forma of punishments are-
- Demotion to a lower grade
- Withholding of increments
- Warning or Censor
From the above categories, dismissal, discharge and suspension may be categorized as major punishments while awarding of a fine, warning or censure are regarded as minor punishments.
7. Industrial Dispute
Industrial dispute is the disagreement between an employer and its employees, usually represented by a trade union, over some aspect of the terms or conditions of employment. A dispute is often followed by industrial action, in the form of a strike or a work to rule. In my organization, there is no such incident happened since the establishment. Actually probability is always very low since we ensure all the factors related to the workers’ interest.
8. Labor welfare and social security
Labor welfare is an important facet of IR, the extra dimension, giving satisfaction to the worker in a way which even good wage cannot. My organization provides some facilities as given below-
- Health & Medical facilities by our own Doctor
- Cooking facilities by company’s own cook with a hygienic Dining area
- Recreation facilities, like annual Picnic
- Daily Tiffin in the evening
9. Workers’ participation in management (WPM)
The concept of workers’ participation in management is considered as a mechanism where workers have a say in the decision making process of an organization. The workers expect that WPM schemes will lead to the achievement of security of employment, better wages, bonus etc. In my organization, sometimes this kind of activities happens, but not quite frequently.
10. Worker development
Human Resource Development (HRD) scheme in my organization is very little. Sometimes employees get the opportunity to make them developed through proper training but depend on the situation and the importance.
It is evident that good industrial relation is the basis of higher production with minimum cost and higher profits. It also results in increased efficiency of workers. New and new projects may be introduced for the welfare of the workers and to promote the morale of the people at work. An economy organized for planned production and distribution, aiming at the realization of social justice and welfare of the massage can function effectively only in an atmosphere of industrial peace. 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.
(C) Mahmud Hasan and Laila Hossain