Progressive Industrial Relations in case of new plant
Before finalizing the employment conditions, company should consider the definition of workmen as per Industrial Dispute Act. Most of the companies designate blue collar workmen as Associate to show that they are not blue collar workmen. However Industrial Dispute Act does not recognize the designation, but the nature of work employees are doing.
It is always better to align the employment conditions with the company vision.
You can hire ITI employees or even B Sc graduates to operate the machines.
You can designate them either Trainee Associate or Trainee operator, doesn’t matter. The designation is just for the psychological feeling which connects the employee with the company values. The trainee period can be for one year and after one year you can put the trainee operators on probation. Once the probation is completed you can confirmed them in the services. However during 1.5 years all should undergo through strict evaluation process and the attitude of employees should assessed with due care.
Some companies hire these employees for specific period and give the break so that they do not complete 240 days, however this is also not a smart trick and company can not do this with repetitions.
Unskilled jobs should be outsourced as far as possible. If we do so, these unskilled employees will come under the preview of Contract Labour Abolition and Regulation Act. This Act itself is the dangerous Act and the contract labour should be governed with due care. All the contracts should be job contract and not labour contract, however as the Principal Employer, it is company duty to check if all the contact employees are getting the benefits as per the applicable labour legislations.
The retention of skilled blue collar employees is also a challenge; however we should encourage the specific percentage of turnover/attrition for avoiding future complications. The blue collar employees are vulnerable to form the union.
To avoid this, HR practices should be very sound and concrete.
Following things needs to be done for avoiding union formation:
- Take utmost care in recruitment and check affiliation with political parties / union.
- Be careful in local recruitment. Make recruitment process more stringent.
- Start communication forum monthly to address grievance and resolve small issues.
- Identify trouble makers and watch their actions. Take timely actions.
- Make your information system stronger. Have some loyal people. Identify some opinion makers.
- Provide basic facilities to cater their needs like canteen and transport.
- Involve them in safety committee, canteen committee, bus monitor and daily cell meeting
- Plan more employee engagement activities.
- Create the performance base culture and plan periodical performance reviews.
- Even contract labour (workmen hired through third party agency or contractor) can form the union.
- Ensure that payment is made on our gate and in presence of company representative in case of contract labour.
- Do not allow contract workmen to work more than 240 days in your premises.
- Under contract labout act following criteria is deciding factor for permanency
1) Perennial nature of work
2) 240 days
3) Employer and employee relationship
4) Work in core activity
· If these criteria meet then contract labour can also claim permanency.
· It is better to enter into Job contract rather than labour contract but JC shall be full proof and it should not sham or bogus.
· Follow the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition Act)