Understanding Labour Welfare – A match between Government schemes and employer’s commitment towards workers
Why labour welfare?
In India, the need for labour welfare has always been a major concern. Firstly, as an industrially backward and developing country, India goes unrecognized. The working condition of labourers is uncongenial. The workers are compelled to work for long hours under unhealthy surroundings. They are often treated as commodities, subjected to ill treatment from higher authorities, tricked of their financial dues, and constantly victimized and oppressed. The principles of labour management and industrial relations are still at its nascent stage. In fact, these are only some of the reasons that compelled the Government of India to take serious measures to remedy the situation.
New Industrial Policy: Beginning of a New Era
In July 1991, the Government of India announced a new industrial policy with the aim of introducing economic reforms and structural adjustments in the industrial and the financial sectors. The major policy measures included privatization or disinvestment of the public sector organizations, modernization and technological advancement, manpower training, skill upgradation, rehabilitation of the sick industrial units and provision of VRS packages to employees. It was mainly due to absence of appropriate social safety net, that the Indian workers faced enormous problems after the introduction of sudden separation schemes by many public and private sector organizations. In this context the welfare schemes of Government of India and employer’s duties towards workers were to be revisited for true growth of the employees.
Second National Commission on Labour
The Government set up the Second National Commission on Labour on 15th October, 1999. The Commission suggested rationalization of the existing laws relating to Labour and Labour Welfare in the organised sector and umbrella legislation for ensuring a minimum level of protection to the workers in the unorganised sector. The Commission submitted its report within two years i.e. by 15.10.2001.
Occupational Safety and Health
The Constitution of India contains specific provisions for the occupational safety and health of workers. The Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) and Directorate General of Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) has been constantly striving to achieve occupational safety and health in mines, factories and ports.
The Labour Bureau is responsible for collection, compilation and publication of statistical and other informations regarding employment, wages, earnings, industrial relations, working conditions, and so on. It also compiles and publishes the consumer price index numbers for industrial and agricultural workers.
Labour Research and Training
V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, a fully funded autonomous body of the Ministry of Labour, conducts action-oriented research and provides training to grass-root level workers in the trade union movement, both in the urban as well as the rural areas, and to officers dealing with industrial relations, personnel management, labour welfare, and others.
Commitment Oriented HR Welfare System
Creation of commitment oriented HR welfare system is the building block of employee growth. Commitment oriented HR welfare system focuses on employer’s commitment towards employee welfare. Employers’ commitments towards human welfare can encourage employer sponsored employee benefit programmes. to protect workers’ interest and ascertain true welfare, employers must allow -Openness – Employers should make the organization transparent. Workforce psychology should be properly understood for success.
Creativity – Organizations should provide proper environment for innovation and creativity so that tensions can be busted.
Trust – Trust building between employer and workers can be a key issue. Mistrust and suspicion should be eliminated.
Attitude – Employers should provide proper working environment so that workers’ attitude towards the organization stays positive.
Proactivity – Employers should encourage proactive attitude towards constructive development of the organization.
Association – Proper teamwork can build true association. It breeds empathy towards the organization.
Change Management – Changes are inevitable. Proper training on change management should be provided.
Labour welfare sets those basic standards of living conductive to leading a decent and healthy livelihood. It also facilitates the employee’s family to lead a good social life. The need for labour welfare is on a rise in India. Most companies are seriously looking after, to ensure maximum assistance. Let’s be hopeful that the situation will become better and fruitful, both to employer and to employee.