An industrial relations system consists of the whole gamut of relationships between employees and employees and employers which are managed by the means of conflict and cooperation.
A sound industrial relations system is one in which relationships between management and employees (and their representatives) on the one hand, and between them and the State on the other, are more harmonious and cooperative than conflicting, and creates an environment conducive to economic efficiency and the motivation, productivity and development of the employee and generates employee loyalty and mutual trust.
Actors in the IR system: Three main parties are directly involved in industrial relations:
Employers: Employers possess certain rights vis-à-vis labors. They have the right to hire and fire them. Management can also affect workers’ interests by exercising their right to relocate, close or merge the factory or to introduce technological changes.
Employees: Workers seek to improve the terms and conditions of their employment. They exchange views with management and voice their grievances. They also want to share decision making powers of management. Workers generally unite to form unions against the management and get support from these unions.
Government: The central and state government influences and regulates industrial relations through laws, rules, agreements, awards of court ad the like. It also includes third parties and labor and tribunal courts.
SCOPE: The concept of industrial relations has a very wide meaning and connotation. In the narrow sense, 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 an employee and an employer in the course of the running of 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.
The scope or industrial relations is quite vast. The main issues involved here include the following:
- Collective bargaining
- Machinery for settlement of industrial disputes
- Standing orders
- Workers participation in management
- Unfair labor practices