Introduction To Industrial Relations

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).

Concept of Industrial Relations:
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.

Industrial relations are the relationships between employees and employers within the organizational settings. The field of industrial relations looks at the relationship between management and workers, particularly groups of workers represented by a union. Industrial relations are basically the interactions between employers, employees and the government, and the institutions and associations through which such interactions are mediated.

The term industrial relations has a broad as well as a narrow outlook. Originally, industrial relations was broadly defined to include the relationships and interactions between employers and employees. From this perspective, industrial relations covers all aspects of the employment relationship, including human resource management, employee relations, and union-management (or labor) relations. Now its meaning has become more specific and restricted. Accordingly, industrial relations pertains to the study and practice of collective bargaining, trade unionism, and labor-management relations, while human resource management is a separate, largely distinct field that deals with nonunion employment relationships and the personnel practices and policies of employers.

The relationships which arise at and out of the workplace generally include the relationships between individual workers, the relationships between workers and their employer, the relationships between employers, the relationships employers and workers have with the organizations formed to promote their respective interests, and the relations between those organizations, at all levels industrial relations also includes the processes through which these relationships are expressed (such as, collective bargaining, workers’ participation in decision-making, and grievance and dispute settlement), and the management of conflict between employers, workers and trade unions, when it arises.


Industrial Relations

Industrial relations is used to denote the collective relationships between management and the workers. Traditionally, the term industrial relations is used to cover such aspects of industrial life as trade unionism, collective bargaining, workers’ participation in management, discipline and grievance handling, industrial disputes and interpretation of labor laws and rules and code of conduct.

In the words of Lester, “Industrial relations involve attempts at arriving at solutions between the conflicting objectives and values; between the profit motive and social gain; between discipline and freedom, between authority and industrial democracy; between bargaining and co-operation; and between conflicting interests of the individual, the group and the community”.

The National Commission on Labor (NCL) also emphasize on the same concept. According to NCL, industrial relations affect not merely the interests of the two participants- labor and management, but also the economic and social goals to which the State addresses itself. To regulate these relations in socially desirable channels is a function, which the State is in the best position to perform.

In fact, industrial relation encompasses all such factors that influence behavior of people at work. A few such important factors are below:

Institution: It includes government, employers, trade unions, union federations or associations, government bodies, labor courts, tribunals and other organizations which have direct or indirect impact on the industrial relations systems.

Characters: It aims to study the role of workers unions and employers’ federations officials, shop stewards, industrial relations officers/ manager, mediator/conciliators / arbitrator, judges of labor court, tribunal etc.

Methods: Methods focus on collective bargaining, workers’ participation in the industrial relations schemes, discipline procedure, grievance redressal machinery, dispute settlements machinery working of closed shops, union reorganization, organizations of protests through methods like revisions of existing rules, regulations, policies, procedures, hearing of labor courts, tribunals etc.

Contents: It includes matter pertaining to employment conditions like pay, hours of works, leave with wages, health, and safety disciplinary actions, lay-off, dismissals retirements etc., laws relating to such activities, regulations governing labor welfare, social security, industrial relations, issues concerning with workers’ participation in management, collective bargaining, etc.

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