Industrial Disputes

“All our problems, all our disputes, all our disagreements can be resolved quickly to mutual satisfaction if we address the question.”

Benazir Bhutto

An Industrial Dispute can be defined as a disagreement, conflict or difference of opinion between management and workers. An Industrial Dispute may also be called as an industrial conflict. In simple terms, it may refers to any disagreement in industrial relations which may be in the form of strike or any other form of action between employer and employee. The disagreement between employer and employee arises due to wages or terms and conditions of employment like hours of work, safety, health, welfare issues, etc and if these are not resolved on time it may result in dissatisfaction among the parties involved and this often leads to industrial disputes or conflicts. Whenever an industrial dispute occur both the parties that is employee or workmen and the management tries to pressurise eachother. If the dispute is not resolved on time the workers may resort to strikes, picketing or gheraos and the management may resort to lockouts. Industrial disputes are very costly and damaging to companies and employees. This results in increase in the average cost of production as the fixed cost is incurred continuously. This also leads to fall in sales and rate of turnover which further leads to fall in profit. An industrial dispute may also harm the organisation’s prestige and goodwill, psychological and social consequences may also arise. So, inorder to reduce these problems, the organisation should seek to avoid or resolve any potential conflict. However, it is not always possible to prevent industrial disputes which arises in an organisation. But if it arises then in this situation the organisation should know how to handle and resolve any conflict that develops. As resolving the disputes can substantially reduce the financial cost and the damage done to employee relations and productivity. There are many types of disputes and this can be classified as follows:-

Interest disputes is related to new wage level and other conditions of employment. Rights disputes which is also described as grievance disputes. It is a dispute in which claim is made that workmen are not treated according to the rules, laws and regulations, contract of employment. The grievance may be regarding retrenchment, dismissal, payment of wages, overtime, working time, demotion, promotion, transfer. The next dispute is recognition dispute which arises when organisation refuses to recognise a trade union for the purpose of collective bargaining. The various causes of industrial disputes are as follows:-

  • Demand for High Wages- As the cost of living is rising and in order to meet the rising cost of living index and standard of living the workers demands for more wages. And this is the thing which brings both the parties into conflict as the employer is never willing to pay more wages to workers.
  • High Industrial Profits- At the present scenario, workmen consider themselves as a partner of the industry and that’s why they demand there share in the profit and this leads to conflict between them.
  • Working Hours and Conditions – As we know in some industries the working condition is not hygienic. There is no proper facility for drinking water, heating, lighting, safety, etc. And the working hours are also greater. So, these are the causes of disputes.
  • Automation of Plant and Machinery – In today’s scenario, when the whole world is moving towards modernization. India is also running on the same track of modernization and introduction of automatic machines which is replacing labours. And this is the major cause of disputes which is taking place in the organisation and the workers are going on strikes more frequently, to resist the rationalisation.
  • Non-recognition of Trade Union- The employers don’t like the interference of trade union and that’s why they don’t recognise them and this brings the workers into conflict with their employers.

So lastly, industrial disputes should be resolved on time as it impacts the organisation and the nation very badly.

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