Evolution of Such Bodies - Industrial Relations Management

The importance of bipartite consultative machinery was first recognized as early as in 1920, when a few joint committees were set up in the presses controlled by the Government of India. They were also introduced in Tata Iron and Steel Company at Jamshedpur. The importance of bipartite consultation was further highlighted by the First-Five-Year Plan which maintained: “There should be the closest collaboration, through the consultative committee at all levels, between employers and employees for the purpose of increasing production, improving quality,reducing cost and eliminating waste,” The second Plan also stressed the need for “joint consultation and progressively associating the workers and technicians, wherever possible, in management.

Bipartite Bodies

The two important constituents of bipartite consultative machinery are

  1. Works Committee,
  2. Joint Management Councils. A brief review of these bodies is given here.
  1. Works Committees

    In the case of any industrial establishment in which one hundred or more workmen are employed or have been employed on any day in the preceding twelve months, the appropriate Government may by general or special order require the employer to constitute in the prescribed manner a Works Committee consisting of representatives of employers and workmen engaged in the establishment so however that the number of representatives of workmen on the Committee shall not be less than the number of representatives of the employer. The representatives of the workmen shall be chosen in the prescribed manner from among the workmen engaged in the establishment and in consultation with their trade union, if any, registered under the Indian Trade Unions Act,1926 (16 of 1926).

    It shall be the duty of the Works Committee to promote measures for securing and preserving amity and good relations between the employer and workmen and, to that end, to comment upon matters of their common interest or concern and endeavor to compose any material difference of opinion in respect of such matters.

  2. Joint Management Council
  3. If in respect of any industry, the state Government is of opinion that it is desirable in public interest to take action under this section. It may, in the case of all undertakings or any class of undertakings in such industry, in which five hundred or more employees are employed or have been employed on any day in the proceeding twelve months, by general or special order, require the employer to constitute in the prescribed manner and within the prescribed time limit a Joint Management Council, consisting of such number of members as may be prescribed, comprised of representatives of employers and employees engaged in the undertaking, so however, that the number of representatives of employees on the Council shall not be less than the number of representatives of the employers. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act,the representative of the employees on the Council shall be elected in the prescribed manner by the employees engaged in the undertaking from amongst them:

    Provided that a list of industries in respect of which no order is issued under this sub-section shall be laid by the State Government before the State Legislature within thirty days from the commencement of its first Session of each year.One of the members of the Council shall be appointed as Chairman in accordance with rules made in this behalf.

    The council shall be charged with the general duty to promote and assist in the management of the undertaking in a more efficient, orderly and economical manner, and for that purpose and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provision, it shall be the duty of the Council

    1. to promote cordial relations between the employer and employees;
    2. to build up understanding and trust between them;
    3. to promote measures which lead to substantial increase in productivity;
    4. to secure better administration of welfare measures and adequate safety measures;
    5. to train the employees in understanding the responsibilities of management of the undertaking and in sharing such responsibilities to the extent considered feasible : and
    6. To do such other things as may be prescribed.

    The Council shall be consulted by the employer on all matters relating to the management of the undertaking specified in sub-section (1)and it shall be the duty of the council to advice the employer on any matter so referred to it.

    The Council shall be entrusted by the employer with such administrative functions, appearing to be connected with,or relevant to, the discharge by the Council of its duties under this section, as may be prescribed


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