Consequences of strained Industrial relations - Industrial Relations Management

  1. Unrest and unnecessary tensions engulf the hearts and minds of all the people involved - labourers and senior management.
  2. There is economic loss due to conflicts because conflicts may result in strikes and lock-outs. This causes low or no production resulting in industrial loss.
  3. Industrial losses may cause economic depression because many industries are interlinked. A problem in one industry may drastically affect another industry.
  4. The lives of low-level labourers become worse when they are out of work. They may be the only working members of the family, and their joblessness may lead everyone in the family to poverty.
  5. When industrial conflicts get out of hand, they become a threat to peace and security. Workers may resort to violence and indulge in sabotage.


A strike is a very powerful weapon used by trade unions and other labor associations to get their demands accepted. It generally involves quitting of work by a group of workers for the purpose of bringing the pressure on their employer so that their demands get accepted. When workers collectively cease to work in a particular industry, they are said to be on strike. According to industrial disputes act of India 1947, a strike is “a cessation of work by a body of persons employed in an industry acting in combination; or a concerted refusal or any number of persons who are or who have been so employed to continue to work or accept employment; or a refusal under a common understanding of any number of such persons to continue to work or to accept employment”. This definition throws light on a few aspects of a strike. Firstly, a strike is a referred to as stoppage of work by a group of workers employed in a particular industry. Secondly, it also includes the refusal of a number of employees to continue work under their employer.

In a strike, a group of workers agree to stop working to protest against something they think is unfair where they work. Labors withhold their services in order to pressurize their employment or government to meet their demands.Demands made by strikers can range from asking for higher wages or better benefits to seeking changes in the workplace environment. Strikes sometimes occur so that employers listen more carefully to the workers and address their problems.

Causes of strikes:

Strikes can occur because of the following reasons:

  • Dissatisfaction with company policy
  • Salary and incentive problems
  • Increment not up to the mark
  • Wrongful discharge or dismissal of workmen
  • Withdrawal of any concession or privilege
  • Hours of work and rest intervals
  • Leaves with wages and holidays
  • Bonus, profit sharing, Provident fund and gratuity
  • Retrenchment of workmen and closure of establishment
  • Dispute connected with minimum wages

Lock out:

A lockout is a work stoppage in which an employer prevents employees from working. It is declared by employers to put pressure on their workers. This is different from a strike, in which employees refuse to work. Thus, a lockout is employers’ weapon while a strike is raised on part of employees.Acc to Industrial Disputes Act 1947, lock-out means the temporary closing of a place of employment or the suspension of work or refusal by an employer to continue to employ any number of persons employed to him. A lockout may happen for several reasons. When only part of a trade union votes to strike, the purpose of a lockout is to put pressure on a union by reducing the number of members who are able to work.

For example, if a group of the workers strike so that the work of the rest of the workers becomes impossible or less productive, the employer may declare a lockout until the workers end the strike. Another case in which an employer may impose a lockout is to avoid slowdowns or intermittent work-stoppages.Occupation of factories has been the traditional method of response to lock-outs by the workers' movement.

Lay off:

Means, failure, refusal or inability of an employer on account of shortage of fuel power or raw materials, or the accumulation of stock or the breakdown of machinery to give employment to a workman whose name is on the master rells of his industrial establishment and who has not been retrenched. It is a short term removal of workers. The essentials of a lay off are failure refusal in ability of the employers to give work The employees must be permanent in nature at the time of lay off .The failure to give work should be due to reason beyond his powers like

    a) A major break down of machinery
    b) Shortage of raw material, power, coal etc.
    c) Marketing problem of stocks resulting in accumulation
    d) Any other act of god beyond employer’s control.

The workman must not have been retrenched
Retrenchment section of 1.D Act means termination of the services of a workman by employer for any reason whatsoever otherwise them as a punishment inflicted by way of disciplinary action, but does not include,

    a) Voluntary retirement of the workmen, or
    b) Retirement of the workman or reaching the age of super mutation
    c) 10 Termination (natural) at the end of a contract
    d) Termination due to continuous ill health.

Essentials of retrenchment

  1. Termination of services of a workman not amounting to dismissal
  2. Termination on the ground of surplus labour or staff
  3. Service terminated must be a continuous one perpetual in nature.
  4. Termination not to victimize or due to unfair labour practice.
  5. The above 4 weapons may create industrial relations strain, cause dispute etc.
  6. Attempts by government to safeguard
  7. The strikes may be declared illegal if adequate notices are not given if given it becomes legal and they may get compensation etc if any action is taken by employer.
  8. During lay of which is beyond the control of employers, workers should be paid ½ the wages for sustenance at least up to 45 days.
  9. Lockout can be as a consequence to illegal strike. If strike is withdrawn work can resume, of course punitive action can be completed.
  10. Retrenchment is an extreme action, but when industry comes back to normal running, the retrenched workers can re establish their lien, and they will be given preference for absorption.
  11. Thus it can be seen every attempt is made by government and various acts to retain relationship between worker and management which only can give industrial peace for progress.

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