Worker’s participation is a system
where workers and
management share important
information with each other and
participate in decision taking.
WPM encompasses the
It provides scope for employees in
decision-making of the organization.
The participation may be at the shop
level, departmental level or at the top
The participation includes the
willingness to share the responsibility
of the organization by the workers.
It is conducted through the mechanism
of forums which provide for association
of workers representatives.
Definition of WPM
A system of communication
and consultation, either formal
or informal, by which
employees of an organization
are kept informed about the
affairs of the undertaking and
through which they express
Participation refers to the
mental and emotional
involvement of a person in a
group situation which
encourages him to contribute
to group goals and share the
responsibility of achievement.
Participation in Management gives
the worker a sense of importance,
pride and accomplishment; it
gives him the freedom of
opportunity for self-expression; a
feeling of belongingness with the
place of work and a sense of
workmanship and creativity.
To elevate worker’s status in
To promote democratic
Increase productivity with joint
Promote cordial relations.
Importance of WPM
Less resistance to change
Creativity & Innovation
Involves a high degree of sharing of
views of the members and giving
them an opportunity to express their
Members are consulted on matters
such as:– Welfare amenities (work, health)
– Adoption of New Technology
– The problems emanating from it
It ensures that employees are able to
receive information and express their
views pertaining to the matters of:– General economic situation.
– The state of market, production &
– Organisation & general running of
– The annual balance sheet & profit &
loss account statement & connected
Involves a greater degree of
sharing of authority and
responsibility of the management
It ensures greater share of
workers’ participation in discharge
of managerial functions.
Employees take part in decisions,
Members are given little for
autonomy in the exercise of
administrative and supervisory
powers with regard to –
– Welfare measures
– Supervision of safety measure
– Operation of vocational training
& apprenticeship schemes
– Preparation of schedules of
working hours, breaks, holidays
Highest form of participation.
Maximum delegation of authority and
responsibility of managerial function.
Decisions mutually taken.
Matters concerned are
Extension of consultative
Management here is under the
moral obligation to accept and
unanimous(agreed) decisions of
Levels of Participation
Shop / Department Council
Workers Ownership of Enterprise
1. Collective Bargaining
ILO has defined,
"Collective bargaining as, negotiation a
bout working conditions and terms of e
mployment between an employer and
a group of employees or one or more
employee, organization with a view to
reaching an agreement wherein the
terms serve as a code of defining the
rights and obligations of each party in
Collective :-because both the
employer and the employee act as
a group rather than as individuals.
Bargaining :because the method of reaching an
agreement involves proposals and
counter proposals, offers and
counter offers and other
Thus collective bargaining:
– is a continuous process which aims at
between the parties involved.
a collective process in which
– not only involves the bargaining agree
ment, but also involves the implement
ation of such an agreement.
Loopholes in Collective
The process of CB cannot be called
WPM in its strongest sense as in
CB is based on the crude concept of
exercising power for the benefit of
– WPM, on the other hand, brings both
the parties together and develops
appropriate mutual understanding and
2. Works Committees
Under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947,
every establishment employing 100 or
more workers is required to constitute a
It consists of equal number of
representatives from the employer and the
The main purpose of this committee is to
provide measures for securing and
preserving amity and good relations
Functions of Work
Works committee deals with matters of
day-to-day functioning at the shop floor
level. Works committees are concerned
Conditions of work such as ventilation, lighting
Amenities such as drinking water, canteens,
dining rooms, medical and health services.
Educational and recreational activities.
Safety measures, accident prevention
Loopholes in Works
Lack of competence and interest on
the part of workers’ representatives.
Employees consider it below their
dignity and status to sit alongside
Lack of feedback on performance of
Undue delay and problems in
3. Shop / Department
Government of India on the 30th of
October 1975 announced a new
scheme in WPM.
In every Industrial establishment
employing 500 or more workmen,
the employer shall constitute a
Shop council represents each
department or a shop in a unit.
The employers’ representatives will
be nominated by the management
and must consist of persons within
The workers’ representatives will be
from among the workers of the
department or shop concerned.
The total number of employees may
not exceed 12.
All decisions taken will be
Functions of Shop Council
Assist management in achieving
monthly production targets.
Improve production and efficiency,
including elimination of wastage of
Study absenteeism in the shop or
department and recommend steps to
Suggest health, safety and welfare
measures to be adopted for smooth
functioning of staff.
4. Joint Councils
The joint councils are constituted for the
whole unit, in every Industrial Unit
employing 500 or more workers.
Only such persons who are actually
engaged in the unit shall be the
members of Joint Council.
A joint council shall meet at least once
in a quarter.
The chief executive of the unit shall be
the chairperson of the joint council.
The vice-chairman of the joint council
It for a period of two years.
The decisions will be binding on both
parties and will be implemented within
In 1977 the above scheme was
extended to the PSUs like commercial
and service sector organizations
employing 100 or more persons.
The organizations include hotels,
hospitals, railway and road transport,
post and telegraph offices, state
Functions of Joint Council
Fixation of production norms
Achieving production targets
5. Board Representation
This would be the highest form of
The workers’ representative on the
Board can play a useful role in
safeguarding the interests of
The worker can serve as a guide
and a control element.
The worker can prevail top
Loopholes of Board
Focus of workers’ representatives
different from the focus of the remaining
members of the Board
The worker tends to become alienated
from the workers.
The worker may be less effective with the
other members of the Board in dealing
with employee matters.
Due to the differences in the cultural
,educational backgrounds and behaviour,
employees’ representative may feel inferio
r to the other members, and may feel
6.Worker’s Ownership Of
This involves making the workers’
shareholders of the company by
inducing them to buy equity shares.
• In many cases, advances and financial
assistance in the form of easy
repayment options are extended to
enable employees to buy equity shares.
Examples of this method are available in
the manufacturing as well as the service
• Advantage: Makes the workers
committed to the job and to the
• It consists of seven to ten people from the same
work area who meet regularly to define,
analyze, and solve quality and related problems
in their area.
• These circles require a lot of time and
commitment on the part of members for regular
meetings, analysis, brainstorming etc
• Most QCs have a definite life cycle – one to
three years. Few circles survive beyond this limit
either because they loose steam or they face
• QCs can be an excellent bridge between
Advantages of QC
Employees become involved in
communication and analytical
skills and improve efficiency of
the work place.
Organization gets to enjoy higher
Chances of QC members to get
promotions are enhanced
It is also called as “Continuous
It is a policy of constantly introducing
small incremental changes in a
business in order to improve quality
This approach assumes that employees
are the best people to identify room
for improvement, since they see the
processes in action all the time.
Features of Kaizen
Improvements are based on many, small
changes rather than the radical changes that
might arise from Research and Development
As the ideas come from the workers
themselves, they are less likely to be radically
different, and therefore easier to implement
Small improvements are less likely to require
major capital investment than major process
The ideas come from the talents of the
existing workforce, as opposed to using R&D,
consultants or equipment – any of which
could be very expensive
All employees should continually be seeking
WPM in India
In 1920 Mahatma Gandhi had
suggested that workers contributed
labour and brains, while
shareholders contributed money to
enterprise, and that both should,
therefore share in its prosperity.
The influence of Mahatma Gandhi
bore fruit and for the first time Joint
Consultation was adopted in the
Workers’ participation in
Management Bill, 1990 was
introduced in Parliament which
provided scope for upliftment of
The Industrial Policy Resolution had
suggested that labour should be
consulted in all matter concerning
industrial production & works
The Joint Management Councils
were established in 1950 which
Reasons for failure of WPM in
Lack of initiative & interest.
Delay in implementation.
Narrow scope of participative forum
with limited issue.
Not decisive participation.
Employers resist the
participation of workers.
Dual roles of workers’
spokesman and a co-manager.
“Born to serve and not to rule”.
Lack of lower-level
Unwillingness of the employer to
Decisions affecting WPM
Three groups of managerial decisions
affect the workers of any industrial
establishment and hence the workers
must have a say in it
• Economic Decisions – Economic
Decisions like methods of
manufacturing, automation, shutdown,
• Personnel Decisions – Personnel
Decisions like recruitment and
selection, promotions, demotions,
transfers, grievance settlement, work
Workers' Participation at
• Since Tata Iron and Steel Company are the
pioneers in establishing joint consultation in India,
it is worthwhile to look at workers' participation at
• Closer association of employees with management
at TISCO began in 1919 and was formalized in
• The purpose was to promote increased
productivity, provide a better understanding to the
employees of their role and importance, and to
satisfy the urge for self expression. The scheme as
set up at TISCO consist of a three
– Tiered system with joint department councils (JD
The specific functions of these three bodies
were as follows:
– JDCs were “to study operational results
and production problems, advice on the
steps deemed necessary
to promote and rationalize production, imp
rove productivity and discipline and econo
mize cost. Promotion of welfare and
safety, encouragement of suggestions and
improvement of working conditions also
fell within their purview.”
– JWCs were “to discharge special function
of reviewing every month the working of
• In order to ensure that these
committees did not overlap the
functions of other committees, separate
task groups were formed.
• Special courses were offered to prepare
both management and union
representatives to effectively utilize the
• TISCO's experience with workers'
participation has been satisfactory.
From 1957 to the middle of 1972 JDCs
Workers' Participation at
BHEL stands for “Bharat Heavy
According to BHEL, WPM is the
process, by which authority and
responsibility of managing
industry are shared with workers.
Significance of WPM in BHEL
To improve the efficiency of
To establish harmonious
To attain industrial peace and
To give the workers and
To increase the productivity level
with mutual understanding.
Easy to implement the change
may by possible by WPM.
Information sharing and decision
Improving the self control
Factors considered by BHEL in
No. of workers
BHEL’s principle for WPM
People building and mutual
BHEL’s ways & methods of
Maximum adopt the method of
Total Quality Management
Pre-requisites for successful
participation:Strong & Democratic union.
Mutually agreed objectives which
should be clearly defined &
Feeling of participation at all levels.
Favourable attitude of all.
Training of participants is essential.
Free flow of communication and
Participation of outside trade union
leaders to be avoided
Strong and effective trade unionism.
Workers’ education and training.
Lack of positive attitude.
Trade unions and government needs
to work in this area.
Trust between both the parties.
How can WPM be more
Employer should adopt a progressive
outlook. They should consider the
industry as a jointendeavour in which
workers have an equal say. Workers
should be provided and enlightened
about the benefits of their participation
in the management.
Employers and workers should agree
on the objectives of the industry. They
should recognize and respect the rights
of each other.
There should be effective
communication between workers
and management and effective
consultation of workers by the
management in decisions that have
an impact on them.
Participation should be a continuous
process. To begin with, participation
should start at the operating level of
A mutual co-operation and
commitment to participation must be
developed by both management and