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Introduction: The problem of industrial or labor management did not arise when the forms of business were of small type, but they developed only when elaborate organizational structures came on the scene during the late 19th century, when gigantic industrial empires of the financial tycoons came into existence followed by technology of mass production. The gradual evolution of industrial system has passed through the below stated stages: Primitive stage Agrarian economy stage Serfdom stage Handicrafts stage Cottage or putting-out stage Factory or industrial capitalism stage.
In India the industrial relations have been seen through the following three stages: 1. Occupations in ancient India (a.) Labor in medieval India (b.) Guilds and Unions. 2. Industrial Relations in India (a) Early British Rule (b) 1st World War to Pre-Independence Period (c) Post independence period. 1. Occupations in ancient India: In those days, the prime occupation in India was ―Agriculture‖. Trading was of second importance. Manual service formed the third area of preference. Majority of the states were ruled by kings. India was greatly advanced in the industrial field, this is evident from the ―Kautilya‘sArthashastra‖. This gives a comprehensive picture of the organizations and functions of the social and political institutions in ancient India. The caste system had great influence on the development and progress of these industries and occupation. The concept of caste systems was originally based on the transfer of skills and specializations which ultimately led to standardization of professions. The ―Atarvana‖ Veda divides the community into four categories: 1. Kshatriya 2. Vaishya 3. Shudra 4. Arya The following professions become hereditary: Industrial Relation and Labor Laws- Goldsmiths, weavers, potters, blacksmiths, carpenters, hunters, charioteers, architects, sculptors, armourers. Persons engaged in these occupations become separate communities. (a)Labor Medieval India: The caste system unified a number of persons belonging in particular occupations and formed the basis of occupational guilds. Indian works of art and crafts were badly ruined with the foreign invasions, which lasted 700 years. These artisans gradually lost the
As a result. Mining industry also started slowly. The situation improved only after restoration of law and order under the Mughals. Gana. Almost every craft. Lahore. members should pay the entrance fee to the president and the profits earned by the unions should be equally distributed among their members. Engineering and railway workshops. . Commercial character of the East India Company did not change the conditions of the workers. where employees could develop respective art. Shremi and Sangha have been used to indicate what Katyanyana calls group. The union followed democratic principles. if paid were very meager and insufficient for a day meal too. The modern industry in India owes a great deal to the initiative of the Europeans.traditional skills. These unions gradually gained strength and were helpful not only in the evolution of arts but were powerful centers of arts in themselves. They were also paid in the form of old. used and tattered clothes and such other articles. many disputes rose. Vrat. But collective Industrial Relation and Labor Laws relations in industry were modeled on the British pattern. India was expected to be colonial market for British goods till the second half of the 19th Century. However the workers were not satisfied with the working conditions and the worker-management relations were not cordial. A large number of occupations were also carried on by small manufacturers and traders in their cottages mostly on a hereditary basis. This led to the state that there was no difference between a slave and these artisans. as the case may be. There were no organizations of the workers during the Mughal rule which could deal with the difficulties and problems of the members. Hence the Factories Act of 1881 was passed which gave an impetus to the worker‘s approach for redressal. A majority of artisans lived in the fringe of starvation. The wages. Industrial Relation in India However due to the autocratic regime of the Muslim rulers. Their relations had been strained and the workers abstained themselves from work. which produced on a moderate scale. (b)Guilds and Unions: From early days. Tata Iron and Steel industry had been established in Jamshedpur. Gana and Ganapati in Vajasaneyi Samhita. According to him the work of unions should be controlled by the board of 3 directors. when the emperor and his officials dealt harshly with the workers cordial relations between layout and capitol could not be expected to exist. Fatehpur and Ahmedabad. Every ―Shreni‖ included about 1000 members. Laborers could be forced to leave home to work on wages. craftsmen and workers felt the need of being united. These guilds and corporations wielded considerable political power and influence. iron and brass foundries etc had also been developed in a moderate way prior to World War-I. The Shreni elected its chief who was called the ―Pramukha‖ or ―Jyeshta‖. (a)Early British Rule: There was not much if scope for industrial development in India during the early British rule. profession or occupation had its own union which was called ―Shreni‖. the king intervened and brought about conciliations. 2. the economic conditions of the employees was deplorable. while they were exploited by their contractors. The underdevelopment of the economy continued even under the British rule. In event of a dispute between the president and the members. Only responsible persons could become their members. as per the ―Forman‖ of the emperor or the Governor. Different terms such as Gana and Vrat as in ―Rigveda‖ Sheshthi in Aitareya Brahmana. Sreni in Arthashastra and Puga. In fact the growth of industries in different parts of the country was based on the need for good industrial relations. Kautilya has given a good description of the unions of employees. craftsmen or artisans. The workers were to work in subversive and deplorable conditions. government factories operated in Agra. Under Akbar. A cotton mill was established in Bombay and Calcutta.
however did not keep pace with this tendency. employers made enormous profits. Post independence industrial relations were very much influenced by the pre-independence industrial environments and labor management relations. (c)Post Independence Era: Immediately after independence. code of discipline. it was considered necessary to put a stop to strikes and lockouts that interrupted production. mechanisms and practices were evolved which formulate the need of minimum wage. . wage boards. During this period. certain norms. The economic distress brought workers together and an organized working class movement began in the country. A tripartite conference was adopted. With the rising prices. the factories act and Employees State insurance Act were all enacted 1948. The workers demanded a share in them. Industrial unrest and shattered worker management relations prevailed everywhere when India became independent in 1947. the trade unions act-1926 and the Trade disputes act-1917) During the second war. giving paramount importance to the maintenance of industrial peace. the profit also went up enormously. The minimum wages act. guidelines on rationalization. various laws were enacted (Workmen‘s compensation act -1923. as a result of ILO influence. scheme for workers participation in management.(b)World War-I: This was period of Boom for all employers. The unrest among the workers found an outlet in increased strike actions among which the one at Ahmedabad and other at Chennai are famous. During the second five year plan. the government tried to check dissatisfaction of workers and consequential strike activity by prohibiting strikes under the emergency rules. The wages of the workers. code of conduct. Bonus and dearness allowance were granted to them but as money wages did not increase in proportion to the rise in prices. in the interests of the national economy. Government has emerged as an arbitrator between management and workers.
growing indiscipline among the workers.State intervention in labor/ industrial relations had its beginning when the British Government in India was constrained to protect its commercial interests in this country. improved working conditions led to serious industrial troubles and labor problems.. two bills were brought by the government. Deterioration in working conditions. 2 major efforts were made to amend the Trade Unions Act 1926 –once in 1947 and. Conciliation Officers.R. govt. Besides the enactment. The beginning of industrial relations dynamics can be traced back to the inception of the Indian Labor Conference as far as 1942 by B. These Acts aimed at Protecting the social system against labor rather than protecting labor against the social system. Industrial Tribunals. 1. An ILO Publication observes ― Far from protecting the interests of labor. arbitration and adjudication/to prohibit strikes lock-outs during the pendency of conciliation and adjudication proceeding. This Act seeks: Industrial Relation and Labor Laws The prevention and settlement of industrial disputes in all industries through conciliation. They retained the provisions of the 1947 amendment. labor falls under the Concurrent List though NCL has made a recommendation for forming a common labor code. In India. when the policy of bringing together three parties namely.Ambedkar. Future of Industrial Relations in India. Adoption of this recommendation will go a long way in solving some of the problems that India‘s legislation process in facing. A law was enacted which defined unfair employer practices and unfair union practices. Unfortunately these amendments to Trade Unions Act never came into force. Labor courts were empowered to certify unions as sole bargaining agents. 1859. and Labor Courts: Making an award of a Tribunal or any settlement brought about by the conciliator binding on the parties and legally enforceable. Collective Bargaining is advocated where the parties involved have a fuller understanding. (b). and the Employer’s and Workmen‘s (Disputes) Act of 1860. These amendments were a break with the colonial British tradition and were influenced by the American National Labor relations. The second issue relates to the gaps that are occurring as a result of the variations that occur in Central and State legislation as far as labor matters is concerned. strained relations between labor and management the formation of ILO: the emergence of AITUC (1920) and demands for higher wages.a Labor Relations Bill and a Trade Unions Bill. 2. The state of Maharashtra has already passed a law for the creation of a sole bargaining agency in every unit and industry. In 1950. again in 1950. The first is the issue of strengthening collective bargaining by trying to determine a sole bargaining agent for negotiation. the workmen‘s Breach of Contract Act. management and labor on a common platform as consultative tripartite forum for all matter of labor policy and industrial relations was accepted. They also introduced the principle that―Collective bargaining would be compulsory for both employers and unions under stipulated conditions. which is yet to be adopted. This will help to arrive at a speedier settlement of disputes between themselves. . the earlier attempts to regulate labor consisted of enactments such as the Assam Labor Act. In Post-Independence India The Industrial Disputes Act (1947) provided for The establishment of a permanent machinery for the settlement of disputes in the shape of certain authorities like the Works Committee. because of greater development of industrial units: unduly low wages and consequent dissatisfaction of the working class.
The set of strategic choices must be made in the midst of economic and political difficulties that the country is undergoing. India has already experienced working of many forms of worker participation schemes but none of them seems to have made any headway. Another issue is that of worker‘s participation in management. The reasons for the failure of these schemes need to be probed into. . Its strategic importance extends beyond the limited frontiers of union-management relationship and overlaps with the future prospects for Indian democracy on one hand.3. and the basic concepts and assumptions of economic development on the other.
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