Workers’ Participation at Plant Level in India
The workers’ participation in management, especially at plant level, has been a substantial part of Indian industrial relations. Following its independence, India introduced Gandhi’s concept of trusteeship in workers-management relations. Indian government, induced by its constitutional promise to promote industrial democracy, took the initiative to create an environment for the active participation of workers in the management of business. The employers’ and workers’ approach towards their respective participation in management had been non-supportive due to fear of losing power. The experience of about seven decades has been mixed in the sense that there has been successful participation at plant level while it has largely remained on paper at the national level. The concept of participatory action has always occupied central stage in India’s pattern of governance. In the sphere of industrial management, the government took initiatives to promote workers’ participation in management. India took policy decision to introduce workers’ participation in the management of industrial establishments, although on a voluntary basis. It was implemented in the government-owned enterprises. The private sector enterprises on the other hand saw it as a threat to their control of enterprises. Infrequent dialogues caused distrust among social partners. In an environment of almost negligible progress, the government tried to give it legislative support by introducing a bill in the Parliament. Workers’ participation in management has, however, so far failed to become a way of life at the national level although there are cases of success at the enterprise level.
KeywordsIndustrial policy Labor laws Workers’ participation in management Trade unions Joint Management Council Works Committee
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