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Industrial Rrelations

Industrial Relations (IR) refers to all types of relationships between all the parties concerned with industry, i.e. employees, employers, trade union, management and the State Government who regulate these relations. Thus, IR is concerned with the relationship between management and workers and the role of regulatory mechanisms in resolving any industrial dispute. Parties to IR are workers, employers, unions and government.

Scope of  Industrial Relations:

  • It deals with the collective bargaining of workers.
  • It explains the role of government, unions and management.
  • It gives machinery for resolving industrial disputes.
  • It helps in handling individual grievances.
  • It provides labor legislative policies.
  • It assists in industrial relations training.

Approaches to IR:

Unitary Approach:

It believes in mutual cooperation, teamwork and shared goals. Workplace conflict is the result of poor management. The underlying assumption is that everyone benefits from the promotion of common interest and harmony at work. It considers conflict as unnecessary and destructive. Advocates of this approach oppose the role of union and government and advice direct negotiations between employee and employer.

Pluralistic Approach:

It perceives organizations as coalitions of competing interests, where the union has a role of mediate between employees and management. It considers conflict as conducive for innovation and growth. It believes that employees' interests are protected by union and state intervention through legislation. It considers conflict as inevitable which can be resolved by collective bargaining and arbitration only.

Marxist Approach:

It believes that conflict arises not because of a mental gap between management and workers but because of the division in the society between the owner of resources (capitalist) and those who have only labor to offer (labor class). Marxist view as conflict is a synonym for class conflict, social and political unrest. For Marxists, all strikes are political. Marxist regard State Legislation and the creation of industrial tribunals as supporting management's interest rather than balancing between employees and capitalists. 

Significance of IR:

  • Voice for grievances of employees which leads to better working conditions.
  • Open communication between management and workers facilitates shared decision-making.
  • Fair wages and social benefits raise the confidence of employees towards the management.
  • Industrial peace, cardinal IR brings peace between management and labor unions.
  • Facilitates positive change as there is a climate of cooperation and confidence.

Parties to IR:

Workers and their Organisations: They are known as trade unions which are political organizations.

Employers and their Organisation: When the employer's demands and very high from their employees then it results in unrest.

Government: The government exerts influence on industrial relations by regulating bonuses, wages and compensation regulations, intervening in working relationships, giving employement.


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