Industrial Relation

Definition and concept of industrial relations:
Industrial Relations or Labor relations, is an expression used not only for relationships between employers and Trade Unions, but also for those involving Government with the aim of defining policies, facing labour problems.

As Industrial Relations definition we can accept the concept of the outfit of:
1) Rules for employment management;
2) Methods defining those rules;
3) Typology of actors (both employers and workers organisations and representatives, but also State and institutional bodies);
4) Interaction processes between these entities.
Many authors have quoted various definitions of Industrial Relations.

Some of the oft quoted definitions

• “The term Industrial relations explains the relationship between employees and management which stem directly or indirectly from union-employer relationship”– V. Agnihotri.

• “Industrial relations are broadly concerned with bargaining between employers and trade union on wages and other terms of employment. The day-to-day relations within a plant also constitute one of the important elements and impinge on the broader aspects of industrial relations” – C.B Kumar


• “Industrial relation is an art of living together for the purpose of production” – J.Henry

• “The subject of industrial relations deal with certain regulated and institutionalized relationship in industry” – Allan Flanders.


• “The field of industrial relations include the study of workers and their trade unions, management, employers’ association and state institutions concerned with the regulation of employment” – H.A Clegg

Nature of industrial Relations:

Industrial relations are concerned with the organization and practice of multi-pronged relationship between the workers and the union in an industrial enterprise. Such relationships may be either in organized form or unorganized plants.

Industrial relation do not function in a vacuum but multi-dimensional in nature and are conditioned with three determinants (i) Institutional factors (ii) Economic factors (iii) Technological Factors.

(i) Under institutional factors are included items such as state policy, labor laws, voluntary codes, collective agreements, laborers’ unions and employers’ organization, social institution like the community, caste, joint family, creed, system of beliefs, etc, attitudes of work, systems of power status, relative nearness to the centers of power; motivation and influence and industrial relations.

(ii) Under economic factors are included economic organization (socialist, capitalist, communist, individual ownership, company ownership, government ownership) power of labor and employers, the nature and composition of the labor force and the sources of supply and demand in the labor market.


(iii) Under technological factors come the techniques of production, modernization and rationalization schemes, capital structures etc.

The development of industrial relations is not due to any one single factor but rather been largely determined by the conditions existing at the eve of the industrial revolution in the Western Europe, and the social economic and political situation available in different locations.

The changes which took place, since earlier days, did not follow a uniform pattern in different countries but they reflected such economic and social forces which ad long times shaped the principle and practices of the industrial relations in the western countries.

From the earliest phase of industrialization from which the workers formerly working with their own tools entered into power driven factories, owned by owners: to minimization of breakdown due to industrial conflicts of later state and further to industrial peace and hence to human relations approach to raise productivity in an democracy based on labor partnerships not only for sharing the profits but of managerial decisions themselves has been a long journey indeed.

Scope of industrial Relations:

The concept of industrial relation has a very wide meaning and connotation. It means that the employer-employee relationship confines itself to the relationship that emerges out of the day-to-day association of the management and the labor. In its wider sense, industrial relations include the relationship between employers in the course of running an industry and may project it to spheres which may transgress to the areas of quality control, Marketing, price fixation and disposition of profits among others.

An industry is a social world in miniature. Associations of various persons, workmen, supervisory staff, management and employer in industry create industrial relationships. This affects the economic, social and political life of the whole community. Thus, industrial life creates a series of social relationship which regulate the relations and working of not only workmen and management but also of community and industry.

Industrial relations are inherent in an industrial life:

a) Labor relations: Relations between union-management(Also called Labor-management relations)
b) Employer-employee relations: relations between Management and employee
c) Group Relations: Relations between various groups of workmen
d) Community or public relations: Relations between industry and society.

Objectives of Industrial Relations:

Industrial Relations are a bonding between the employee and employer.. So the motto of any industry should be sustaining good relationships between the employer and employee.
Primary objective should be to bring about good and healthy relationship between two partners in the industry. As per Kirkaldy “The state of industrial relations in a country is intimately connected with the form of its political government and the objectives of an industrial organization may change from economic to political ends”

Labor management committees have recognized certain fundamental principles as objectives of social policy in governing industrial relation:

• Good labor management relations depend on employers and trade unions being able to deal with their mutual problems freely, independently and responsibly.
• The trade unions and employers and their organization are desirous of resolving their problems through collective bargaining though in resolving such matters the assistance of appropriate government agencies may be necessary in public interest, collective bargaining, therefore is the corner stone of the good relations and hence the legislative framework of industrial relations should aid the maximum use of their process mutual accommodation.
• The workers and employers organization should be desirous of associating with the government agencies in consideration of the general public, social and economic measures affecting employers and workers relations.

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