Causes of Industrial Disputes

Causes of Industrial Dispute

Industrial relations may be harmonious or strained and acrimonious. In the latter case, there may be many causes which are divided into economic causes,  managerial causes, political causes and other causes. These are briefly described below:

  1. Economic causes
  2. Managerial causes
  3. Political causes
  4. Other causes
  1. Economic causes

Generally the reasons for industrial dispute are economic ones like demand for increase in wages, dearness allowance, bonus etc. The main economic causes are as follows :

i. Wages

Since the cost of living has generally showed an increasing trend, the workers have been fighting for higher wages to meet the rising cost of living and to increase their standard of living. Employers do not accept the demand easily and fully leading to strikes and other types of disputes in industry.

ii. Dearness allowance and bonus

Similarly, due to high rate of inflation and subsequent rise in its cost of living, the demand is made for increasing the dearness allowance, as the high rate of inflation or DA are correlated. If the former rises, the later should also be raised, if not, it may lead to unrest or even a strike. The employees may even resort to strike to get more bonus.

iii. Share in increase profits

Increasing industrial profits also incite workers to demand for share in profits as they think of themselves to be a partner in the industry, and hence, feel that it is their right to demand a share in increased profits.

iv. Working conditions

By and large, working conditions in factories are not proper. For example, even light and water arrangements are not suitable. Old machines are not replaced and security and safety measures are comprised. Long hours of work, mass layoffs and retrenchment also lead to several strikes.

v. Pre-supposition and forced leave

During depression, employer pre-supposing the economic loss, try to force labour to go on leave. Once this led to a prolonged strike in the textile industry for as long a period as three months. The strikes were done against this for three month continuously in textile industry.

vi. Demand for other benefits

Other extra facilities are also demanded by workers such as housing, medical facilities, education, transportation etc.

vii Miscellaneous

Leave, holidays, work load, standing orders etc. are some of the other causes responsible for disputes.

  1. Managerial causes

These reasons include wrongful managerial treatment and unfair labour policies and practices. These are as follows:

i. Non-recognition of labour unions

When management does not recognize a particular union or unfairly recognize its competitive union, this may also lead to unrest. Employers have never been sympathetic to the worker’s interest from the very beginning and therefore do not like to see workers united. Hence, they try to divide them to the extent possible.

ii. Defective recruitment and worker’s development policies

Sometimes industries recruit labour though faulty systems which create many problems. Besides the management’s partial treatment with regard to growing, promotion or demotion of workers also causes dissatisfaction among workers.

iii. Force leave and discharge

Labour disputes also arise due to sending worker(s) on forced leave and unlawful discharge of the innocent employees.

iv. Violation of awards and agreements

Workers also oppose whenever there is violation of agreements or terms of settlement of some disputes.

v. Disobedience to accept code of conduct or code of discipline

If the management does not abide by the Code of Conduct or the Code of Discipline, it may also lead to industrial disputes.

vi. Misbehavior by supervisors

At times, supervisors misbehavior has also been one of the major reasons for conflict. Internal struggle between the management and the employees also increase because of these small happenings.

vii. Inefficient and defective leadership

The reason for some industrial disputes is also the lack of able leadership in both management and trade unions. Inefficient managerial leaders do not care for the problems of workers. Neither do they attempt to improve the HR and labour relations, nor do they try to develop close contact and mutual understanding between the workers and themselves.

  1. Political causes

Sometimes, industrial disputes arise due to political reasons also . Such causes may be as follows:

i. Influence by politicians

All labour unions in India are connected with one or the other political party, which uses workers for its own selfish motives. Gheraos, strikes, lockouts and breakages are the effects of such strategies. Inter-union and intra-union rivalries, outside leadership, selfish leaders etc. are also responsible for many disputes.

ii. Strikes against Government

At times workers go on strike against the improper policies of the government, like price rise, the so called labour reforms etc.

  1. Other causes

Other causes include modernization of plant and introduction of computers and automatic machinery, recognition of  union, trade union rivalry, non-recognition of trade union, etc.

Thus industrial disputes do not arise only when workers are dissatisfied on economic grounds, they also arise over issues which are of non- economic nature. The whole concept of industrial relations revolves around the principles of friction dynamics which is the key to the establishment of harmonious relations between labour and management. We cannot think of any society completely obliviant of some of friction between labour and management.