Agencies for Labour Welfare: Central Government, State Government, Employers, Trade Union

21/10/2020 1 By indiafreenotes

Labour welfare schemas have the following benefits:

(i) Workers’ efficiency is considerably enhanced.

(ii) Workers begin to feel interested in their work when they find that they are being well looked after by their employers. Thus, their morale is raised and industrial relations improve.

(iii) Labour turnover and absenteeism rates decline when the workers find the work-place congenial and the employer sympathetic towards them.

(iv) On humanitarian ground too, labour welfare is commendable, because it shows faith in the basic human values of life.

(v) From the social stand-point, labour welfare ensures healthier and more enlightened citizens.

Labour Welfare activities are now not exclu­sively within the jurisdiction of the employers, governments and trade unions. Strictly not with a view to rendering welfare services to workers as defined in the industrial dictionary, a number of service organisations, national and international in character, have come forwarded to uplift the conditions of the toiling masses. To educate them, to house them properly, to help them in medical facilities and health matters, the humanitarian institutions have been rendering no less service to­day in India.

In spite of all the efforts so far taken for the welfare of workers, it can be frankly admitted that there is yet enough scope and necessity for the welfare measures of the workers. Workers themselves have to press for their welfare on their unions as well as on the governments.

In India, Labour Welfare is a vast area of activ­ities. Welfare in its comprehensive sense is very difficult for a country like ours to achieve. Prob­lems are many to the acquisition of welfare facili­ties. Problems and obstacles, however difficult they are, must have to be solved and overcome, to establish industrial democracy and industrial peace.

As to the problems, housing poses a serious one. To this can be added the problem of accidents which must cover any programme of welfare to workers. Statutory measures for safety of workers have been undertaken and training in safety is also being imparted. Industrial legislations should be made more comprehensive in providing measures for safety and training in safety.

As to industrial housing problems, a national housing programme has been chalked out. Plantation La­bour Housing Scheme, Slum Clearance Scheme, Land Acquisition and Development Schemes, Mid­dle Income Group Housing Scheme, Rental Housing Schemes for State Government Employees, Social Housing Schemes all are on the list of govern­ment activities.

Subsidised Industrial Housing Scheme, Low Income Group Housing Schemes are additions to the Housing Schemes already under­taken by the governments, both Central and State.

The Code of Efficiency for the welfare of work­ers, with various suggestions for improvement of industrial relations and higher productivity and imposition of obligations on the part of the mana­gement for securing better standards of living of the workers did not receive equal attention and re­spect from all the labour wings of the political parties.

Labour Welfare in India: Necessity

The necessity of labour welfare work in India can easily be realized if we look into the working conditions of the labour class in Indian industries. India, an industrially backward country, is in its developing stage. The place of labour in industries in India is not recognised. The principles of personnel management and industrial relations have not been developed in India except in few big industrial units. Commodity concept of labour still prevails in the country.

Thus the scope of labour management relations has not been much widened in India, while in Western countries, the labour is regarded as the Partner in the affairs of the industry. The attitude of employers is sympathetic to workers in western countries and they provide various welfare facilities as a measure to improve industrial relations and better working conditions.

The working conditions in Indian industries are not satisfactory. The workers have to work for long hours under unhealthy surrounding, and have no means to remove the drudgery of their lives. They become easy victims of drink, gambling and other vices, in the uncongenial environment of urban industrial life. A contented, stable and efficient labour force cannot be built up without an improvement in the conditions of their life and work in industrial centres.

The workers in India are poorer than the workers in other western countries and as such they cannot be expected to spend anything for their own welfare. Our labourers, being illiterate and generally blamed for being irresponsible and lazy, require a lot of inducements and better working conditions. It is axiomatic that in all pursuits a high standard of efficiency can be expected only from persons who are physically fit and free from all worries and that is from persons who are properly housed, fed and clothed.

Industrial harmony can only be maintained when the workers feel that they are adequately remunerated for the work and are treated fairly by the employer. Much of the irritation and frictions which embitter industrial relations is due to the feeling that they are not being received by the employer properly. If the labourers are properly behaved and certain amenities are supplied, they feel satisfied and find no scope for resentment against employers.

The money spent on labour welfare work by the employer is bound to react directly or indirectly to their own benefits and to the direct benefit of the employees. If work conditions are improved it will certainly improve the health and efficiency of the workers and which, in turn, increase the production and the productivity of workers. The employer may contribute something towards the amenities of the workers to which the employees spend nothing in India because of their poor financial conditions.

Labour welfare force, lower absenteeism and labour turnover. These results may not have been achieved if the benefits are extended in the form of cash wages, because it may be spent on drinking, gambling and extravaganza. It seeks to promote a better understanding between the employer and the employees.

The inefficiency and bad habits of Indian workers are not so much due to his own character but it is the result of the environment which must be improved to make them good citizens. It can, thus, be said that if suitable welfare activities are undertaken in this country, there is no doubt that Indian labourers cannot remain inefficient than the average worker in the west.

  1. Central Government:

Ours is a welfare state wedded to the policy of doing welfare to the people of the country. For the economic rejuve­nation of the country, the toiling masses must be taken care of, their lots must be improved. In this regard, the Government has an active role to play.

The Government has to come forward to bring about intellectual, physical, moral and economic betterment of the workers, so that their whole-hearted and willing co-operation may be readily avail­able for the economic upliftment of the county in our Plan objectives, workers have been accepted as an essential part of the Apparatus of industrial and economic administration of the country.

The Central Government has paid attention to improve the condi­tions of workers. Various enactments have been promulgated to safe­guard the interests of workers, to extend to them economic benefits and social security.

The Factories Act, for example, is a bold attempt to extend various facilities to factory workers their housing facilities, economic benefits, social security’s and physical safety etc. The Mines Act is another piece of legislation that aims at providing welfare to mine workers.

So far as mines are concerned, Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund has been instituted to boost the morale of coal mine workers under the Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act. Similarly, Mica Mines Labour Welfare Fund and Iron Ore Mines Labour Wel­fare Fund have been created by specific Acts of the Central Govern­ment. Again, we find Plantation Labour Act for the welfare of planta­tion workers.

Besides the various Acts passed for the welfare of labour in mines, plantations and factories, the Central Government has kept its Labour Ministry alive to the conditions of workers. Measures have now been adopted to provide medical aid, legal and financial aid to workers un­der various schemes.

To ensure industrial safety, various precaution­ary measures have also been enforced. Prevention of the possibility of accidents has been one of the objectives of the Government’s welfare measures and actually the incidence of accidents has come down.

The Government of India has introduced an industrial housing scheme for the accommodation of industrial workers. Social Security legislations such as The Workmen’s Compensation Act, Maternity Benefit Act and The Employees’ State Insurance Act have been in force.

  1. State Government:

The State Governments in India were more or less indifferent to labour welfare, prior to independence. But now vari­ous State Governments are very alive to the conditions of labour and are up and doing for the upliftment of the lots of the workers.

There are popular governments in some states where workers are adequately taken care of Labour fronts of different political parties are now suf­ficiently strong to press the demands of workers to the Government and the link between the State Governments and the labour wings of political parties is so close that various facilities are now being made available to the workers through the State Government’s machinery.

  1. Employers:

Employers in India today have started realizing that they should identify their interest with those of the employees. No pru­dent management can now ignore the interests of their workers and expect to reap the benefits of higher labour productivity.

So, for their own interest, employers are being compelled to adopt welfare measures for the workers. There are only a few employers in India who have been sympathetic to labour welfare but others are extending various benefits to workers only under compulsion.

Several industries such as cotton, jute, textile, engineering, sugar, cement, glass, chemical etc. have been brought under legislative measures to give facilities provided by different industries either under legal compulsion or under union pressure.

We can say that employers in India with their professional training background are becoming more and more conscious about the workers whom they now consider the most essential tool to gear up their organisational activities.

Employers who are still maintaining a negative attitude or an indifferent attitude towards workers are surely to pay for their foolishness. Days have changed. All over the world is the slogan for workers to unite. Moreover, employers who fail to un­derstand the potentialities of the labour force, the fullest utilisation of which can bring miraculous results for the organisation, are sure to suffer.

  1. Trade Union:

Last but not the least important agent for the welfare of workers is the “Workers’ union.” Conflicts between labour and capital existed since industrialisation, they still exist and will con­tinue to exist. The complete harmony and amity between the two op­posite-interest groups cannot be achieved.

Not only in India, but nowhere in the world has industrial peace been ensured? Here is the role for the Trade Union to play in the matter of bargaining. Various facilities of different nature economic, social, cultural are made available to workers by Trade Unions.

The Indian Trade Unions have not yet been able to do much to ameliorate the lot of their members. Their participation in this sphere has been mainly through their association with the Labour Welfare Advisory Committees constituted by the Governments.

It is worthwhile to mention that trade unions in the textile industry (Textile Labour Association) and the Mazdoor Sabha have made provisions for vari­ous welfare facilities to the workers.

Educational and cultural upliftments through trade unions have been made possible. With the change in the attitude of the employers (many of whom are govern­ments themselves), the nature of trade unions in India from mili­tancy to conciliatory is now noticeable.

Various welfare services are now made available to the workers through Trade Unions after the trade union leaders’ direct discussions and deliberations with the em­ployers across the table.

However, trade unions should take some mea­sures for the welfare of workers. They should come forward to assist the employers and the Government in formulation and administration of welfare schemes. To find out the needs of the workers and to bring them to the notice of the employers should also come under the pur­view of trade union activities.

A modern Trade Union has to educate its members, organize for them various inexpensive programmes and to act as a watch-dog of workers’ interests. Trade Unions have, as a matter of fact, a great role to play for the welfare of the workers.

Labour Welfare in India 8 Important Labour Welfare theories in India

  1. Functional Theory:

This theory assumes that employee welfare is a part of the personnel/HR function of the organization. In this regard, organizations depute a labour welfare officer or manager to manage the welfare activities in the organization.

  1. Social Theory:

This theory assumes that organizations take benefits, resources and raw materials from the society for producing their products and services and by providing labour welfare activities in their organization and outside the organization (Extra Mural Activities) they are showing their concern for the development and wellbeing of the society.

  1. Policing Theory:

This theory assumes that organizations provide ample opportunities for owners and managers of capital to exploit workers in unfair ways like by compelling employees with long working hours, by paying low wages, by not improving the quality of life at the workplace. The statutory norms and legislations provided by the state with respect to welfare activities acts as a stringent measure to prevent these unfair activities towards the workforce.

  1. Religion Theory:

From the investment perspective, the religion theory implies that by committing towards welfare activities the management could reap the benefits of employee loyalty and trust in the near future. On the other hand, from the atonement perspective the religion theory implicates that it is the moral responsibility of the management to be concerned for the wellbeing of the employees.

  1. Philanthropic Theory:

This concept mainly proposes that labour welfare should provide good working conditions, rest rooms, drinking water facilities, common rooms, canteens etc. that would contribute to improve the standard of living and wellbeing of the employees in the organization.

  1. Paternalistic Theory:

According to this theory, the social responsibility and the responsibility of an employer of an organization with respect to the employee welfare is conceived as a “paternalistic duty or responsibility” towards the society and the employees who are being employed in the organization.

  1. Placating Theory:

Placating theory considers that labour welfare initiatives taken by an organization are like appeasement and its works for the management particularly when the workers are organized and violent in terms of charting their demands from the management.

  1. Public Relations Theory:

This concept assumes that labour welfare can create a good corporate image and enhance the employability brand of the organization.