Industrial Relations or Labour 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. 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 labour. 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. Handy, (1993) Thus an industrial relations system consists of the whole gamut of relationships between employers 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 conflictual and creates an environment conducive to economic efficiency and the motivation, productivity and development of the employee and generates employee loyalty and mutual trust. The essay with a help of relevant examples explains the role of industrial relations actors. Ellem, (2004) Actors and their roles in industrial relations
Three main parties are directly involved in industrial relations: That is employers, Trade unions and the government. 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. Employers and management are increasingly seen as the driving force behind the development and transformation of national industrial. Industry management on behalf of employers is one of two key players in the realm of industrial relations. Top-level management must communicate and negotiate with employee organizations to avoid strikes, law-suits and protests. This level of management interacts with employee organizations on a large-scale, as opposed to lower tiers of management which mostly rely on human resources to conduct employee interactions. Low-level (or local) management interacts with employees on an individual basis (often through a human resources department). All levels of management are involved in industrial relations, but low-level management has little or no say in big-picture decisions (employee compensation and benefit alterations). In an industrial relations negotiation, management represents the interest of the company (and shareholders if applicable). Management must work with employees to develop compensation packages and policies that are acceptable for both parties. When the relationship between management and employees sour, management may be forced to develop a crisis-management plan. If an employee organization initiates a large-scale strike or protest, management must act quickly (either give-in to employee demands or find an alternate solution) to avoid crippling profit losses. Handy, (1993) Historically, management is depicted as a foe of employees and their organizations. While this stereotype is not entirely true, the media often portrays management as the "bad guy" of the two organizations (unions are usually cast as the hero of the "little guy"). This negative media attention (and historical stereotype) can lead to extremely damaging public relations, which can eventually cripple an entire industry. Trade unions
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...
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