Industrial relations simply refers to the relationships that exist within the industry between the employer and his workmen, and it is key for the growth and sustainability of every nation’s economy. It is for this reason that Labour laws of most countries spell out terms and conditions that will enhance healthy industrial relations and an environment that can be attractive enough for foreign investors. Since it is a relationship, both the national labour laws and internal organisational policies are tailored in such a manner to provide safeguards and fair operational rules for all the parties involved.
The level of engagements between Labour and Management has a spillover effect on not only an individual organisation but society as a whole. The essential aspect of industrial relations include the following:
To safeguard the interest of labour 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 labour partnership in the sharing of profits and managerial decisions to 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 and lockouts 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 management 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.
However, it is important to note that healthy Industrial Relations can only be fully achieved where the principles of labour Management Cooperation are meticulously adhered to.
The significance of a healthy Industrial Relations may range from continuous production, reduction in industrial disputes, high morale, a mental revolution and reduced wastage of time and other resources.
- 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 utilised, resulting in the maximum possible production. There is an uninterrupted flow of income for all. The smooth running of an industry is of vital importance for several other industries; to other industries if the products are intermediaries or inputs; to exporters if these are export goods; to consumers and workers if these are goods of mass consumption.
- Reduction in Industrial Disputes – Good industrial relations 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 and grievances are some of the reflections of industrial unrest which do not spring up in an atmosphere of industrial peace. It helps to promote co-operation and increase in production.
- High morale – Good industrial relations improve the morale of the employees. Employees work with great zeal with the feeling in mind that the interest of the employer and employees is the same, i.e. to increase production. Every worker feels that he is a co-owner of the gains of industry. The employer in his turn must realise that the gains of the industry are not for him alone, but they should be shared equally and generously with the 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.
- 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. It is the business of leadership in the ranks of workers, employees and the government to work out a new relationship in consonance with a spirit of true democracy. Both should think themselves as partners in 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 an impact on production because they recognize the interest of each other.
- Reduced Wastage – Good industrial relations are maintained on the basis of cooperation and recognition of each other. It will help increase production. Wastage of human labour, material and machines are reduced to the minimum, and thus national interest is protected.
It is evident that good industrial relations in totality is the basis of higher production with minimum cost and higher profit, resulting 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 organised for planned production and distribution, aiming at the realisation of social justice and welfare of the message can efficiently function only in an atmosphere of industrial peace. Therefore, if the twin objectives of rapid national development and increased social justice are to be achieved, there must be a harmonious relationship between management and labour.
ADRDaily News Desk