Industrial Relations encompasses the relationship between the management and the staff and the role of a regulatory body to resolve any industrial disputes.
The role mainly covers the following aspects:
- Regulatory body to resolve industrial disputes (chairing a disciplinary hearing);
- Collective bargaining;
- Labor Legislation;
- Disciplinary policy and practice;
- Industrial Relations Training;
- Worker’s Grievance Redressal system; and
- Middleman role between management, unions and government.
Different perspectives of the IR role and their needs:
- Workers Perspective: Workers want better salaries/wages, job security and training as well as basic workplace safety.
- Employer’s Perspective: Employers higher productivity and flexibility of their workforce. They also want all industrial conflicts to be resolved quickly and as cost effectively as possible.
- Societal Perspective: Manages the living wages and rights of the employees and makes sure their Work-Life is balanced. Ensures equal opportunity for all employees. Acts as a liaison for the employers as well as the employees.
- Government Perspective: Keeping records for all employees and their salaries, disciplinary hearings etc. Urges to reduce the unemployment rate by finding alternative means to discipline. Encourages to globalize the market as well as keep prices steady to assist the economy.
What are the objectives?
- Steady continuity of production;
- Minimize the occurrence of industrial disputes; and
- Minimize wastage in terms of product loss, time and space.
Industrial Relations can be described as a system encompassing the following aspects:
- Inputs, which are derived from the company goals, values and power of everyone in the system;
- Procedures for converting inputs into outputs;
- Outputs, comprising the financial, social, and psychological rewards to employees; and
- A feedback loop through which he outputs flow back into the IR subsystem and into the environmental subsystems.
Industrial Relations work very closely with Human Resources and are often thought of as the same concept, but IR are more about resolving disputes and increasing productivity where HR is about employee grievances, salary/ wage and UIF etc. control as well as recruitment. Often companies will have both but sometimes it is better to outsource as one side may feel that there might be a conflict of interest.
By outsourcing IR the employer knows that there will be no conflict of interest and all disputes will be handled fairly for all parties concerned. If it is a long-term outsourced contract the company knows that the IR will have everyone’s best interest at heart.