Prevention of Industrial Disputes<br />The following measures can be taken to avoid disputes in industry:<br /><ul><li>Model Standing Orders: the purpose of these orders is to prescribe guidelines for regulating relations between employers and employees under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act 1946. Every factory employing 100 or more workers is required to frame standing orders in consultation with the workers. These orders must be certified and displayed properly by the employer for the information of workers. The Central and State Govt. have framed model standing orders which can be adopted by any industrial establishment.
Standing orders define and regulate terms and conditions of employment and bring about uniformity in them. These also specify the duties and responsibilities of both employers and employees and regulate standards of their conduct. Therefore, standing orders can be a good basis for maintaining harmonious relations between employers and employees.
Code of Industrial Discipline: The Indian Labour Conference at its 15th session in 1957 envolved a code of industrial discipline. The code voluntarily binds the employers and workers to settle all grievances and disputes by mutual negotiations, conciliation and voluntary arbitration. The main features of this code are:
Both employers and employees should recognize the rights and responsibility of each other and should willingly discharge their respective obligations. There should be no unilateral action on either side.
There should be no strike or lockout without proper notice and efforts should be made to settle all disputes through the existing machinery for the settlement of industrial disputes.
Neither party will have recourse to coercion, intimidation, litigation and victimization but will settle all differences by mutual negotiations, conciliation and voluntary arbitration.
A mutually agreed grievance procedure will be set up and both the parties will abide by it without taking arbitrary action.
Both employers and trade unions will educate their members regarding their mutual obligations.
Management will not increase work loads without prior agreement or settlement with the workers.
Employers will take prompt action for the settlement of grievances and for the implementation of all awards and agreement.
Management will take immediate action against all officers found guilty of provoking indiscipline among workers.
The employers will provide all facilities for the unfettered growth of trade unions. They will recognize unions according to the criteria laid down in the code. They will discourage the use of unfair labour practices like victimization of the members of recognized trade unions.
Unions will avoid demonstrations,rowdyism and all forms of physical duress and workers will not indulge in union activity during working hours.
Unions will discourage negligence of duty, damage to property, careless operation, go-slow tactics, insubordination and other unfair labour practices on the part of workers. They will also take action against their office-bearers and members who work against the spirit of the code.
Thus, the Code of Discipline consists of three sets of principles, namely (a) obligations to be observed by management, (b) obligations to be observed by trade unions, and (c) principles binding on both the parties.
Works Committee: Under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, every establishment employing 100 or more workers is required to constitute a works committee. Such a committee consists of equal number of representatives of employer and workers. The main purpose of works committees is to provide measures for securing and preserving amity and good relations between the employer and employees. Work committees deal with matters of day to day functioning at the shop floor level. According to the Indian Labour Conference(1959) works committees are concerned with:
Conditions of work such as ventilation, lighting, temperature and sanitation including latrines and urinals.
Amenities such as drinking water, canteens, dining rooms, medical and health services.
Safety and accident prevention, occupational diseases and protective equipment
Implementation and review of decisions arrived in the meetings of works committees.
Joint Management Councils:These councils were set up in 1958 consequent upon the acceptance of socialistic pattern of society. These consist of equal representatives of management and workers, not exceeding twelve, at the plant level in selected industrial units.
The council is to be consulted by management before introducing changes in the modes of production, production schedule, general administration problems, etc.
The council is to receive information, discuss and give suggestions on general economic situation, state of the market, production and marketing programmes, organization and general functioning of the concern, methods of production and work, balance sheet and profit and loss account, long term capital budgeting decisions, plans for expansion, modernization and development, etc.
The council is to take up accident prevention, management of canteens, water, meals, safety, issue and revision of work rules, avoidance of waste of time and materials, absenteeism, indiscipline, training, etc. Thus the council is entrusted with the responsibility of administering welfare measures, supervision of safety and health schemes, vocational training, apprenticeship schemes, scheduling of working hours, breaks and holidays and reward for suggestions.
Wages, bonus, individual grievances, personal problems of workers and matters of collective bargaining are outside the scope of Joint Management Councils.
Suggestion Schemes: Under this scheme, workers are invited and encouraged to offer suggestions for improving the working of the enterprise. A suggestion box is installed. Any worker can write his suggestions and put it into the box. Periodically all the suggestions are scrutinized by the Suggestion Committee. Good suggestions are accepted for implementation and suitable rewards are given to the concerned workers. Suggestion schemes encourage worker’s interest in the functioning of the enterprise.
Joint Consultative Machinery: Service conditions in the Government sector are dealt with at National Council (for Central Govt. Employees), Departmental Councils and Regional or Office Councils.
Tripartite Bodies: Several tripartite bodies have been constituted at Central and State levels. The Indian Labour Conference, Standing Labour Committees, Wage Boards and Industrial Committees operate at the Centre. At the State level, State Labour Advisory Boards have been set up. All these bodies play an important role in reaching at agreements on various labour matters. The recommendations of these bodies are advisory in nature but carry a great weight on employers, trade unions and the Govt. All these bodies constitute the consultative machinery for the private sector.
Labour Welfare Officer: The Factory Act 1948 provides for the appointment of a Labour Welfare Officer in every factory employing 50 or more workers. The Officer looks after all facilities in the factory provided for the health, safety and welfare. He keeps liaison with both the employer and the workers and serves as a communication link. He may contribute towards healthy industrial relations through proper administration of standing orders, grievance procedures, etc.