99687306 labour-welfare
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  • 1. Labour Welfare .Introduction to Labour WelfareLabour welfare is an important facet of industrial relations, the extra dimension, givingsatisfaction to the worker in a way, which even a good wage cannot. With the growth ofindustrialization and mechanization, it has acquired added importance. The worker, both inindustry and agriculture, cannot cope with the pace of modern life with minimum sustenanceamenities. He needs an added stimulus to keep body and soul together. Employers have alsorealized the importance of their role in providing these extra amenities. And yet, they are notalways able to fulfill workers’ demands however reasonable they might be. They areprimarily concerned with the viability of the enterprise. Labour welfare, though it has beenproved to contribute to efficiency in production, is expensive. Each employer depending onhis priorities gives varying degrees of importance to labour welfare. It is because thegovernment is not sure that all employers are progressive minded and will provide basicwelfare measures that it introduces statutory legislation from time to time to bring about somemeasure of uniformity in the basic amenities available to industrial workers.Today, welfare has been generally accepted by employers. The state only intervenes to“widen the area of applicability”. It is now accepted that it is a social right.Definition of Labour Welfare:The term ‘Labour Welfare’ has been defined in different ways. In a broad sense, it meansthe adoption of measures to promote the physical, social, psychological and general wellbeing of the working people. According to Arther James Todd, “Anything done for thecomfort and improvement, intellectual and social well being of the employees over andabove the wages paid, which is not a necessity of the industry”.According to Proud it refers to “the efforts on the part of the employers to improve theconditions of employment in their own factories”Prof. Richardson includes under it “any arrangement of working conditions whichcontribute to the workers health and safety, comfort, efficiency, economic security,education and recreation”.As mentioned earlier the Encylopedia of social science defines it as “voluntary efforts of anemployer to establish working and sometimes living and cultural conditions of hisemployees beyond what is required by law the customs of industry and conditions of themarket”.From our part we prefer to include under it “anything done for the intellectual, physical,moral and economic betterment of the workers over above what is laid down by law orwhat is normally expected as part of the contractual benefits”.In 1947, ILO and Delhi Regional Conference defines welfare as, “such services, facilities andamenities, which may be established in or in the vicinity of undertakings to enable personsemployed therein to perform his work in healthy and congenial surroundings and to providethem with amenities conducive to good health and good morals”.The document which as submitted in the international social work conference by the LatinAmerican Countries in 1956 held in Munich describes welfare as “all kinds of servicesundertaken by the employer to promote the physical, social cultural and livingcondition of the employees and their families.” 1
  • 2. From all these definitions, it is apparent that none is complete or comprehensive. There areno precise definite outline or demarcation in this subject. However, what is defined is thatlabour welfare promotes the well being of workers in a variety of ways. Any kind ofvoluntary service will come under the purview of labour welfare if it aims at helping theworker to work better and in more meaningful manner, physically, socially, morally,economically and intellectually.Scope of Labour Welfare:The scope of labour welfare has to be elastic and flexible enough to suit the existingconditions of the workers and to include all the essential prerequisites of life and theminimum basic amenities. It also differs from time to time, region to region, industry toindustry and country depending upon the value system, level of education, social customs,degree of industrialization and general standard of the socio-economic development of apeople. It is also related to the political situation in a country. Sometimes, the concept is avery wide one and is more or less synonymous with conditions of work as a whole. It mayinclude not only the minimum standard of hygiene and safety laid down in general Labourlegislation, but also such aspects of working life as social insurance schemes, measures forthe protection of women and young workers, limitation of hours of work, paid vacation etc.In other cases, the definition is such more limited and welfare, in addition to general physicalworking conditions, is mainly concerned with the day-to-day problems of the workers and thesocial relationships at the place of work. In some countries, the use of welfare facilitiesprovided is confined to the workers employed in the undertaking concerned, while in others,the worker’s, families are allowed to share in many of the benefits which are made available.The scope of Labour welfare has been described by writers and institutions in different waysand from different angles. The line of demarcation cannot be very precise but what should bethe common characteristics is that a welfare measure should improve the working and livingconditions of workers and their families and make their lives more meaningful.It follows therefore, that an extra-mural and intra-mural welfare activities as well as statutoryor non-statutory welfare measures undertaken by employers, government, trade union orvoluntary organizations fall within the scope of labour welfare.Objectives of Labour Welfare:The objectives of Labour Welfare is - to increase efficiency and productivity among workers - to improve moral & loyalty - to build up stable labour force and to lower turnover & absenteeism - to earn goodwill and enhance public image - to reduce the influence of union - to attract efficient employees - to reduce the threat of further government intervention.Classification of Labour Welfare:Labour welfare programs can be classified from different angles.They are as follows:A. On the basis of Status: Labour welfare can be considered as: a) Statutory: Statutory welfare is composed of those provisions of welfare work implementation, which depend on the coercive power of the government. The Govt. enacts certain rules regarding labour welfare in order to enforce the minimum standards of healthy and safety of the worker and the employers have to observer these rules. 2
  • 3. b) Voluntary: Voluntary welfare includes all those activities, which employers undertake for their workers on voluntary basis. c) Mutual: Mutual welfare is a “Corporate Enterprise” undertaken by the workers themselves.B. Labour Welfare is also classified under two categories i) Intra-mural ii) Extra-mural.i) Intra-mural activities: It includes services provided inside the factory premises. Intra-mural activities are welfare and amenities within the premise of the establishment are latrines and urinal facilities, rest rooms, canteens, drinking water, health services Occupational Safety etc. (According to ILO)ii) Extra-mural activities: It includes services and amenities outside the factory. Extra-mural activities are welfare out side the establishments i.e. maternity benefit, social insurance, medical facilities, education facilities, recreation facilities, transport to and from place of work etc. (According to ILO) The above categorization is used by ILO.General Classification:Labour welfare service is also classified under the following three heads in general based ontype of services.a) Economic services - Loans, insurance, gratuity, Provident Fund, Pensions etc.b) Recreational services - Sports and games, social events etc.c) Facilitative services - Medical service, housing, Educational facility, canteen, Co-operative store, Transport facility, Legal counselling etc.Need for Labour Welfare:Much management is sensitive to the needs and problems of their employees. They recognizethat at times employees face crisis, which is beyond their resources to handle. Left to theirown devices many workers would be unable to provide for themselves in their old age. Theyneed help form other sources. To provide protection against the various risk of living, theemployer pays part of the cost. There are two basic arguments for having the employercontribute toward employee services. One is that they are human beings. This point ofview can be bolstered by ethical and religious doctrines.The other argument is ‘enlightened self-interest’. The employer knows that anxieties,worries and family crisis that happen to a man outside his working hours tend to affect his jobperformance in the plant. Therefore it is to the Company own advantage to help its peopleout, financially and with personal assistance’s, when adversity strikes. 3
  • 4. Quite frequently management will establish certain benefits and services because it believethat these will enhance moral and create more positive attitudes towards the company.Sometimes Companies establish attractive fringe benefit programme in order to enhance theirpublic relations image. The Company may except thereby to improve its market position andenhance product acceptance in the minds of the buying public. The Company may alsoexpect to gain greater respect form the community because it has demonstrated aconsiderable measure of social responsibility by establishing a sound benefit programme.Union bargaining power is often the main reason; a Company adopts a particular benefitprogramme.Principles of Labour Welfare1) every type of welfare service should be subjected to periodic review and evaluation so as to see the effectiveness of the existing services,2) services available at the community level should always be watched to avoid the duplication of services so as to utilize them effectively for the welfare of their employees.3) employee’s welfare plans will be of no good if the wage, structure and working conditions are bad. These are foundations until this is sound, service plan should be delayed.4) a plan should not be taken up unless they are willing to support it with their time, effort and sometimes money. Free service is seldom appreciated.5) a plan should be started with minimum of financial allotment otherwise there is danger that employees will wonder whether or not plans are being financed at the expense of their low wages.6) communication between worker and management should also be improved through suggestion system in order to obtain the views of employees, reactions to management’s methods and practices.7) administration of welfare service must be done jointly, the Labour Welfare Officer, should only assist in a staff capacity- he plans the programme, arranges technical services, mobilizes the existing resources and generates participation by workers.The above labour welfare principles can be stated in the following way:1. The welfare service should satisfy real needs of the worker.2. The welfare service should be such as can be handled best by a group approach.3. The welfare service should be such as to avoid duplication.4. The welfare service should be established and implemented with the active support & cooperation of management and employees.5. The cost of the welfare service should be calculable and it’s financing established on a sound basis.6. There should be periodical assessment or evaluation of welfare services for timely improvement on the basis of feedback.7. Administration of welfare services must be done jointly.Characteristics of Labour Welfare Programme:1) they are of primary advantage and value to the employee. The many of course, also prove helpful to the employer in getting and holding better employees but their immediate and most obvious value is to employees.2) they are distinctly supplemental to regular wages and salaries. They are provided as benefits or services beyond the annual, monthly or hourly salary or wages.3) they are supported or financed in part of altogether by the employer. 4
  • 5. 4) they provide a type of assistance or aid that an employee in his own initiative and as an individual either cannot or is not likely to secure.Benefits fo Labour Welfare:1. Increased productivity2. More effective recruitment3. Improved morale and loyalty4. Lower turnover and absenteeism5. Good public relations6. Reduced influence of unions7. Reduced threat of further governmental intervention.Reasons for the rapid growth of Labour Welfare Programmes:The rapid growth of welfare programme can be traced to such sources as:1. A changed employee attitude2. Labour employer demands3. Statutory requirements4. Competition that forces other employers to match benefits to attract and keep Labour.5. High company income tax rates have also stimulated the offering of services. Evoluation of Labour Welfare ConceptsThe term Labour Welfare lends itself to different interpretations and had always the samesignificance in different countries.To have a look over the evaluation of labour welfare concepts, different definitions andthoughts related to labour welfare need to be considered.The transition from home production to the modern factory system took place in Europe andAmerica from about 1750 to 1830, a period coinciding with the Industrial Revolution inEngland.Although mankind as a whole benefited greatly by the Industrial Revolution,misunderstanding began to undermine the sympathy and cooperation that had previouslyexisted between the employer and the employees. Discontent and fiction began to exist athome and shop as a result of misunderstanding and more gap develop between the employersand their workers. The workers in a single group previously numbered a handful began tonumber hundreds and thousands. Previously, the employers enjoyed the friendship of theirassociates at the bench, gradually became impossible. He could know them only causally, byfaces and names, perhaps not their weakness and their strength, their interests, theirambitions, their hobbies etc. They became to him merely a group of workers whose labourmust be bought. Without the employer’s knowledge and probably against their real purposes,they came into being an attitude on the part of management towards the workers that hasbecome known as the ‘Commodity Concept of Labour”.Over the passage of time other concepts are developed:Most common concepts of labour welfare are described below:1. Commodity Concept: Wages were higher when the supply of labour as scarce in relation to the demand forlabour and wages were low, when supply was substantially in excess of the demand for it. 5
  • 6. This gave rise to the idea that labour, affected by the law of supply and demand, was like acommodity, the price of which was determined by the supply and the demand for it.2. Machinery Concept: The commodity conception overlooked the fact that the employer bought and sold,not the actual labour, but the products the labour produced. He determined the value of labourby the value of the goods and profit. The employers thus started to regard their employeeslargely as operating organisms or machine capable of a certain amount of out-put. Just as wetry to purchase machinery and plant with the lowest direct outlay, so we can hire labour ascheaply as possible. Just as we try to keep plant and equipment operating economically aslong as possible and junk them for better when necessary, so we can use and discard humanlabour.3. Charity Concept: According to this, the human sufferings were the manifestations of divine justice forthe sin committed by the sufferers. It was the duty of those who were in fortunate positions toassist those who are in need. Charity was given for salvation of the donar or out of humansentiments and with pity towards the distrssed. Thus labour welfare was mainly based on human and religious motive and socialworkers were conceived as kind hearted persons who devoted their efforts to the care andprotection of the needy and the distressed people of the society.4. Paternalistic Concept: It is a concept that management started to assume a fatherly and protective attitudetowards employees, partially to suppress the movement of union. It is not believed that merely supplying many benefits such as housing, recreation andpensions make a management paternalistic. It is the attitude and the manner of installationthat determine whether or not a management is peternal in its dealings with employees. To bepaternalistic, two characteristics are necessary.Firstly, the profit motive should not be prominent in management’s decision to provide suchemployees services. They should be offered because the management has decided that theemployee needs them, just as a parent decides what is good for his children.Secondly, the decision concerning what services to provide and how to provide them belongssolely to management. The father makes the decision that the feels is the best for the child.5. Natural Resource Concept: Some statesmen began to conceive of labour as natural resources, which the stateshould protect. Out of this conception came child labour laws, restrictions of hours of womenworkers, workmen’s compensation and Health ans Safety Legislation.6. Democratic Concept: It is also know as citizenship concept. The workers are considered as citizens of theindustry in which they are employed and entitled to a right to have a voice in terminating therules and regulations under which they work. The result of this realization was industrialdemocracy with its shop committee, industrial councils, employee representation plans and soon. 6
  • 7. 7 Partnership Concept: The partnership relationships imply mutual responsibilities as well as the sharing ofthe fruits of the joint endeavours. The earliest efforts to translate this idea in to action werethe fostering of stock-ownership plans. Recently, profit sharing has come into prominence.Some argue that the partnership concept is fallaciousthat their can be no mutuality ofinterest between owner who are seeking large profits and workers who desire high wagesthat the two interests are incompatible and cannot be reconciled.8. Social Welfare Concept: In the past, social welfare was mainly based on humanitarian and religious motives.This concept, in course of time, became inadequate and unsatisfactory to meet the needs ofmodern societies. The modern concept of social welfare is based on the recognition of the rights andworth of the individuals. It is characterized by an “organized effort through a range ofprogramme, services and agencies to promote social well-being and to prevent oralleviate social malfunctioning”. In short, social welfare is conceived with a broad range ofactivities and programmes directed to human well-being. The profession of social work accepts the following main principles: i) Social work accepts the importance and dignity of every man and rejects the jungle doctrine of the survival of the fittest. ii) It recognizes that human sufferings are undesirable and should be prevented or at least alleviated whenever possible. iii) All classes of persons in the community have an equal right to the social services; there is community responsibility to provide services; without discrimination to all.The adoption of this conception towards labour is becoming increasingly widespread. Inshort, citizenship, partnership and social welfare conceptions are at present playing veryimportant roles in industrial welfare activities.The concept of labour welfare established on seven theories. They are: i) The Police Theory ii) The Religious Theory iii) The Philanthropic Theory iv) The Trusteeship Theory or Paternalistic Theory v) The Placating Theory vi) The Public Relations Theory vii) The Functional Theory. 7
  • 8. LABOUR WELFARE ACTIVITIES/ SERVICES IN BANGLADESH1. Sanitary & Hygiene facilities2. Canteen facilities3. Rest facilities4. Medical facilities5. Family welfare & community development facilities: a. Family planning b. Community development6. Housing facilities7. Transport facilities8. Recreation and culture facilities9. Educational facilities10. Cooperative & savings facilities11. Cooperative credit societies facilities12. Personnel counseling facilities13. Distress relief & cash benefit facilities14. Social securities facilities: a. Workmen’s Compensation b. Maternity Benefit c. Medical leave d. Gratuity/ Pension e. Provident fund f. Group insurance g. Lay off compensation 8