The term ‘Industrial Relations’ comprises ‘Industry’ and ‘Relations’. Industry means any productive activity in which an individual is engaged.
(a) Primary activities like agriculture, fisheries, plantation, forestry, horticulture, mining etc. etc. and
(b) Secondary activities like manufacturing, construction, trade, transport, commerce, banking, communication etc.
Economically speaking, industry means the secondary sector where factors of production (land, labour, capital and enterprise or four M’s; men, materials, money and machines) are gainfully employed for the purpose of production, and where a business organisation exists.
‘Relations’ means ‘The relations that exist in the industry between the employer and his work-force. Different authors have defined the term industrial relations in somewhat different way.
Some definitions are given below:
Manpower of the enterprise can, thus, be classified as management and workers or employers and employees and industrial relations can, thus, be treated as relations between the employer and the workmen.
According to Bethel and Others, “Industrial relation is that part of management which is concerned with the manpower of the enterprise whether machine operator, skilled worker or manager.”
According to V. Agnihotri, “The term industrial relations explain the relationship between employees and management which stem directly or indirectly from union-employer relationship.”
According to V.B. Singh, “Industrial relations are an integral aspect of social relations arising out of employer- employee interaction in modern industries, which are regulated by the State in varying degrees, in conjunction with organised social forces and influenced by prevailing, institutions. This involves a study of the State, the legal system, workers’ and employers’ organisations on the institutional level; and that of patterns of industrial organisation (including management), capital structure (including technology), compensation of labour force and the forces of market on the economic level.”
Industrial relations are relation between employee and employer in their day-to-day work. Hence, it is continuous relationship.
(a) Collective relations between trade unions and management. It is called union-management relations.
(b) Relationship among employees, between employees and their superiors or managers.
(c) Collective relations among trade unions, employers’ associations and government.
(d) The mechanism of handling conflicts between employers and employees, in case conflicts arise.
Major causes of industrial disputes are:
(a) Economic causes: Related to more wages, D.A. bonus, better service conditions etc.
(b) Non-economic causes
(i) Physical causes: Like better working conditions, supply of essential materials.
(ii) Psychological causes: Like unlawful lay-off and retrenchment, misbehaviour of managers to workers, defective transfer and promotions.
(iii) Organisational causes: Like non-recognition of unions.