Dr. C.S.RANGARAJAN Dr. S. JAISHREE Industrial Relations is concerned with employment relationships. Its central characteristics or focus is employment in all its aspects: micro, macro, individual and group. It has been defined as ‘the study of people in a situation, organization, or system interacting in the doing of work in relation to some form of contract either written or unwritten’. Labour and capital are engaged in a situation where production of goods and rendering of services are their prime task. While the entrepreneurs are interested in increasing more than a fair return on the capital employed, the labour on the contrary is interested in ‘equal pay for equal work’. The control over the ‘means of production’ lies in the hands of the employer. The ‘struggle to maintain or alter the frontier of control’ becomes central to the study of industrial relations. The system of industrial relations operates within the confines of ‘consent, constraint and conflict’. There are rules to which the labour offers its ‘consent’ to obey. The labour realises that some of the rules to which it had given ‘consent’, as a matter of fact, ‘constrain’ them beyond the bounds of belief. In such a situation, ‘conflict’ ensues which paves the way for ‘consent’ being evolved afresh after a closer look. This fits in with Karl Marx observations that ‘it is conflict through which conflict could be resolved’. Dunlop, the father of industrial relations, opines that ‘the central task of industrial relations is to explain why particular rules are established in particular industrial relations system and how and why they change in response to change affecting the system’. Harmonious industrial relations is a condition precedent for maintaining and increasing the level of production. The conditions necessary for establishing and maintaining good industrial relations are:1. Recognition on the part of the employees and employers that they have on hand a common objective. 2. When ‘equal pay for equal work’ is insisted upon by the labour, it is incumbent upon labour to develop an attitude to give their money’s worth of labour in return. 3. Employers should take efforts to redress employees’ grievances speedily and fairly. 4. Employees should try to avoid their being influenced unduly by political leaders.

5. A fair share of the gains of increased productivity should be passed on to the employees.
6. Introduction of suitable system of employees education at all levels. 7. Training in industrial relations and human relations to workers and other employees at all levels. 8. Removal of communication bottlenecks with a view to ensure that workers are informed about all decisions which affect their interests. 9. To create an atmosphere to enable employees to realize that they are no longer ‘a cog in the machine’, but ‘partners in industry’ with a ‘motto’ to continue their progress. 10. A transparent system to ensure fair wages and adequate wage structure.

Though these cannot be taken to be ‘ten commandments’, it is to be recognized that ‘goodwill is the only asset that no market fluctuation can tilt’. ‘Goodwill’ is not an one-way traffic. So long as it does not cross the minds of labour and capital that they are not at cross purpose, they are prone to cross swords and thus make the community at large to bear the cross.