Labour-Management -Government Cooperation is key to productivity and growth of every nation. It is the base for a robust industrialised environment that is attractive for both local and foreign investment.
Above the direct and indirect costs of a strike or lockout prevention, improved LMG Cooperation can make a huge economic contribution to an economy through the enhanced productivity of its workforce.
Labour-Management-Government Cooperation provides an opportunity for labour, management and government to jointly resolve problems outside of the crisis environment caused by contract negotiations and implementation blues and does not require either party to lose its identity or relinquish its role. Both parties must recognise that cooperation, problem-solving, and long-range planning are in the self-interest of their members, and the wider society.
It should be seen as a long-term effort designed to improve organisational effectiveness and not merely as a means to create problem-solving teams. Labour-management-government cooperation must be fully integrated with contract negotiations and administration as well as organisational goals and values.
The success of labour-management-government cooperation often depends on how it is initiated. Labour-management-government cooperation is characterised by joint initiation, structure, ownership, control and implementation. The plan for implementing labour-management-government cooperation should contain provisions for monitoring and evaluation and feedback.
For this to be achieved, change becomes essential for the survival and growth of any organisation, and therefore, both Labour- management and government must be willing to modify their values and norms to institutionalise cooperation and participation.
Successful change, however, depends upon an accurate understanding of the status quo, the defining of a vision for the future, and jointly creating a realistic means to fulfil that vision.
Even though a good Labour-management-government cooperation can aid positive change, it is not by itself a cure for shifts in the economic, political, and social arenas. But can, however, serve as a tonic to support improved working relationships, promotion of productivity, economic growth and progress.
Labour-management-government cooperation is enhanced by joint decision-making, through the process of brainstorming, generation of options, participative management, consensus techniques, and improved skills in problem-solving and communications.
A good Labour-management-government cooperation should result in measurable outcomes. These outcomes, equally weighed, include human development, human dignity, democracy, quality, and productivity.
Another essential element in building and sustaining a good Labour management cooperation is setting up of adequate safeguards which should be built into the process including joint control, a written agreement, fundamental fairness, and adherence to principles of labour-management-government cooperation. A successful labour-management-government cooperation process establishes structures for:
- Direct and representative participation in decision-making, open to all members of an organisation and the society in general.
- Frequent and timely feedback of information and rewards.
- The sharing of relevant information and expertise.
- Guarantees of individual rights and liberties (fundamental fairness, i.e., providing for the right of review and appeal of proposals).
- Establishing supporting attitudes and values and translating those into behaviours.
These must be uniquely tailored to reflect the needs and culture of the specific location. There is no one formula to be imposed from outside, but there is a set of fundamental principles necessary to guide initiation processes and design, which requires enormous commitment from all parties and one, which will not be held “hostage” when problems occur in the relationship.
It is significant to note that a successful labour-management-government process is not “free”. There are significant costs involving time, resources, and training. The parties must be willing to view these costs as an initial investment on which they expect to gain a long-term return in improved quality, employment security, productivity, and mutual benefit.
However, Labour-management-government cooperation, with its underlying values of democratising and humanising the workplace, is simply a preferred way to work and live.
ADRDaily News Desk