Meaning and Causes of Industrial Dispute

  • An industrial dispute is defined as a conflict or difference of opinion between management and employees on the terms of employment. It's a disagreement between an employer and employee representative, usually a trades union, over pay and other working conditions and may lead to industrial disputes. When an industrial dispute occurs, both the parties, that's the management and the workers, try to pressurize one another.
As per Section 2(k) of the Industrial Disputes Act,1947, an industrial dispute is defined as any dispute or difference between employers and employers, or between employers and workmen, or between workmen and which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of labor, of any person.

  • This definition includes all the aspects of a dispute. It does not only include the disagreement between employees and employers but also emphasizes the difference of opinion between workers. The disputes generally arise due to poor wage structure or bad working conditions. This disagreement or difference could be on any matter concerning the workers individually or collectively. It must be connected with employment or non-employment or with the conditions of labor.

Causes of Industrial Dispute 

  1. Wages Demand: Management general apathy (lack of interest) towards workers or employees due to their contention that worker demands for more and more monetary rewards and want to do lesser work ends up in industrial disputes. And strikes are being organized to increase the wage rate due to an increase in prices and the cost of living.
  2. Non-cooperation: A spirit of non-cooperation and a general tendency among workers to oppose or disapproving management policy decisions even when they may be in the right direction.
  3. Strict discipline: A fall within the standard of discipline among employees largely due to wrong or improper leadership, often leading to insubordination or disobedience on the part of employees.
  4. Working Condition and Working Hours: Bad working condition results in an industrial dispute. If there's no proper availability of water, heating, lighting, safety, etc. or working hours also greater. The demand for good working conditions and lessor working hours are responsible for labor disputes.
  5. Defective Recruitment Policies: The recruitment practices in the Indian industry are defective. Recruitment generally made by the firms who make use of the workers and suppress their individuality. The imperfect promotion, status., transfer, and placement policies create dissatisfaction among the workers.
  6. Defective Leadership: Defective management leadership ignored the labor problems and due to inefficient labor leadership, lack of coordination resulting in disputes. 
  7. Unfair Labour Practices: Unfair practice likes wrongful pressure, and termination while under collective bargaining agreements. Differences in regards to sharing the gain to increase productivity result in industrial disputes. 
  8. Disrespectful: Bad behavior at the workplace cause stress and a combination of too much law and too little respect for law even at high levels resulting in a dispute.
  9. Political Interference: Political environment of the country and agitation and wrong message propagated by selfish labor leaders to further their own interests of their own party.

Edited by: Imaduddin Khan (BMS, MA in Business Economics,M.Com)
Reference: Bhavana Chauhan-Lad

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