Labour relation or what we call industrial relation is the heart of any industrial system. It is know as the relation between employees and employers of a company. For a successful growth of business of big or small firm this relation are needed to be smooth and healthy. Many writers have tried to define labour relation in different ways. Meaning of labour relation has kept on changing with the change in nature of work, technology and most important globalization. Before industrialization companies had such environments in which employer played a major role. They had the power over the employees forcing rules and regulation formed by the management. Interest of employers was above the interest of employees. Employees had less support from the management and they had to bear entire work load mental and physical. But now with the improvement in industrial work environments and laws have made the work of employees and employer easy. Influence of new political system, legislation, growing economies, technology, globalization, labour unions and private organization have led to enhanced working places, trained and educated employers and employees (Hodgetts, Luthans, Doh, P. 478, 2006)
Today labour relation approaches differ from country to country influenced by their culture, political system and economy. Labour relation is the process of identifying and determining job relationships which will take place in the work place by joint efforts of management and workers (Hodgetts, Luthans, Doh, p. 468, 2006). The study of this essay will give you idea how labour relation are addressed in countries like India, Australia, United States, Ireland and China and also how it affects the competitiveness. And how industrial disputes and conflicts between management and employees are resolved and role of trade unions in these countries.
Looking at the labour relation of India it has went through four phases of unionism. The first phase (1950 to mid 1960s), Unions were highly centralized governed by the two main federations: nationalist Indian National Trade Union Congress and communist All India Trade Union Congress. During this period there was significant growth in the public sector employment and public sector unionism. The government played major role in deciding the labour relations at the work place.
The second phase (mid-1960s to 1979) was period of low economic growth due to high inflation rate and low industrial production growth and political imbalances. This had caused loss of employments; rivalries between unions had increased, increase in strikes and lockouts were more. The Industrial Dispute Act of 1947 did not give the status or rights to the employees to get the rights form the employers.
The third phase period between 1980-1991 had created more imbalances in the economic growth of the country. Rising inflation and oil bills caused major imbalance in the balance of payments. These changes had major effect on the political economy of trade union and the labour markets which had changed the structure of industrial relations. Strikes between workers and managements increased. The longest strike during the post independence period started in few textile mills and later developed into a industry wide stoppage in Mumbai 1982. There were major changes in Union structure they demanded there rights through military bargaining which lead to slow employment growth.
The 4th and final phase of unionism 1991-2000 was the phase for recovery. Economy of the country grew at slower rate. Government steps of adopting stabilization and structural adjustment programme of World Bank – IMF in June 1991 had significant impact on the growth of economy of the country. Voluntary retirement was given more importance and use of causal, temporary, contract workers was increased. Changing political system of the country, globalization, changing work organization and outsourcing of workers had impacted...