Indian Industrial Relations Association

National Workshop on Impact of Transforming Workplace on Employment Relations; August 16-17, 2012, Kolkata

iRecent development in the world of work has caused major concerns among the trade unions as they have been at the receiving end.  The IIRA workshop had states in the eastern region at its focus.  The West Bengal Government’s Principal Secretary, Dr. Subesh Das, highlighted problems of static employment opportunities and wide skills gaps.   IIRA’s Secretary General said that the practice of outsourcing and contract employment have created tensions at the workplace.  There is increasing tendency to arrive at conclusions and most of the time the same is against the unions.  Prof. S. C. Srivastava, highlighted mains provisions of various Act and that the same is  expected to provide protection to workers.  However, there has been laxity in their implementation in recent time. 

This was followed by presentation of cases studies of power, coal, automobile and IT sectors.  The following open discussions as also presentations by trade unions emphasised the need to have closure examination of cases of industrial conflicts.  The employment relations is a matter of understanding among direct parties, i.e. employer and employees.  As such importance of social dialogue can not be denied.  It is also important that effort be made to highlight positive work of trade union through active engagement with government, media and community at large.  The workshop ha participations of trade union functionaries, HR/IR Managers, academic and NGOs activists.  

Consultation of Role of Negotiation in Resolving Workplace Conflicts; February 24, 2012; Delhi

The Consultation held on February 24th at New Delhi was jointly organised by the Indian Industrial Relations [IIRA] and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung- India [FES]. Opening the Consultation the IIRA Secretary General said that the year 2011 was one of the most turbulent periods.  The year experience large scale industrial disputes in practically all industries, caused by declining demands, particularly from external markets.   India had one of the most comprehensive laws but the same remain not fully enforced.  The NLLA Secretary General opined that blaming laws for causing hurdle in progress in not fair, particularly since most of the laws remain non-implemented.  He however cautioned that the rights guaranteed are conditional and not absolute.  The HMS National Secretary, R. A. Mital, said that ‘right to form union’ and ‘ineffective implementation of labour laws’ were two main caused behind recent disputes.   He further said that the employers’ preference for individual as against collective agreement is not suit able for healthy workplace relations.  ASSOCHAM’s representative G. P. Srivastava assured that they are neither against collective agreement nor against effective enforcement of labour laws as also grant of rights under these laws.  Michael Dias of Employers’ Association – Delhi emphasised that they don’t support those employers who violates the laws.

Workshop on Containing Workplace Conflict; November 25-27, 2011; Panaji, Goa

Click to add text, images, and other content

Workshop on Containing Workplace Conflict: Role of Social Partners; November16, 2011; New Delhi

Click to add text, images, and other content

Consultation on Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining; June 29, 2011; New Delhi

Unions Call for the Ratification of Core Labour Conventions

 It is unthinkable that the world’s largest democracy and the founder member of the International Labour Organisation is dillydallying on the issue of the ratification of ILO’s Core labour Conventions.  Incidentally these conventions have been defined as human right convention and under the ILO’s Declaration on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, 1998 are mandatory for member nations to respect.   The views were expressed by representatives of Central trade union organization [CTUOs] participating a Consultation on the Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining.  The Consultation, held on June 29th was organized by the Indian Industrial Relations Association [IIRA] in association with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung [FES] in New Delhi.  Inaugurating the Consultation, the INTUC Vice President Mr. Ram Chandra Khuntia, M. P. said that under the present situation when any body can seek information under RTI, the reasons given for non-ratification of Conventions 87 and 98 does not hold ground , as such the Government of India must ratify the concerned Conventions.  By now the Government of India ought to have generated confidence in its employees, said Shri Khuntia.  Former Labour Secretary Dr. P. D. Shenoy opined that the laws are not intune with current realities as such are coming in ways of exercising democratic rights.  For inclusive development and sound industrial relations it is imperative that the workmen have right to organized as also to collectively bargain.

 The Consultation, organized in the backdrop of similar issue seminars organized by INTUC and HMS that drew time-bound road map toward securing ratification of Convention 87 and 98 by the Government of India, had two panel discussions.  Panel one looked at the two Conventions from the legal perspective.  Dr. S. C. Srivastava of the National Labour Laws Association said that nonexistent legal provisions with regards to recognition of trade union as collective bargaining agent is marginalizing unions power as a social partner.   Citing various articles of the constitution as also laws relating to registration, etc. of trade unions, Dr. Srivastava said that it is disheartening that large scale violations of labour rights are going on.  He further said that one ought to draw lesions from the ongoing industrial conflicts and work towards brining parity between the social partners.   Prof. Babu Mathew of the National Law University of Delhi while tracing the history of trade union as also of the establishment of the ILO, said that interest of the Western World are directing developments at the global level.  According to him it is more important to secure right for the workers in the informal / unorganized sector first.  Quoting Thailand President he said ‘if you want to have inclusive growth then abandon export-led growth and work towards self reliance” the mantra that was espoused by Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru. 

 The second panel discussion looked at the two conventions from non-legalistic perspectives.  Recent industrial unrests at Maruti, Air India, etc. were caused by employers’ restricting workers’ right to form union, said the AITUC Deputy General Secretary Com. H. Mahadevan.  The AITUC’s goal had been to “organize the unorganized” while the other forces are working towards “unorganising the organized”.  Ratification of the Conventions 87 & 98 is not an issue for the Government, said Mahadevan.  There is need for joint effort of all the trade unions in the country to pressurize the government towards seeking the ratification.   Shri Subbha Rao of the BMS said that there exist wide gap in information, even among trade union leaders and Members of Parliament.   Further enforcement machinery is weak and, even, corrupt.  As such mare ratification may not be enough.  BMS is for the ratification of the two Conventions as also for their effective enforcement so that democratic rights of workers become reality.  Mr. R. A. Mital of Hind Majdoor Sabha [HMS] questioned the very notion of depriving the rights to majority in the background of an excuse of government employees.   The Government decision to not to ratify the convention is depriving over 350 million workers in the unorganized sector of their democratic right, said Mr. Mital.  He called for exerting pressure on the governments for effective enforcement of labour laws.  He further called on the employer to join hands with trade union movement to secure ratification of the said conventions as the same is in their interest as well.   Coen Kompier, the  ILO’s Senior Specialist on International Labour Standards, said that the ILO is in consultation with the Government of India and there are indications that it may ratify of Convention 98.  He further informed that ILO will soon be holding a meeting on Freedom of Association.     

  Shri Subba Rao suggested that to equip the trade union leadership on the subject of the said convention an expert committee be constituted that would provide technical support to the Labour Movement.  Ms. Nishi Kapahi of the ITF said that fear is an important factor that is coming in way for effective engagement of women and youth in the trade unions.  Advocate Michael Dias said that the government needs to re-assess its stand in the light of current realities.  On the issue of NGOs involvement, Mital said that all organization of workers should be inducted in this process.     On Pravin Sinha of FES quarry with regards to global union federations (GuFs) support to bring global pressure on the Government, the ITF Regional Secretary for Asia and Pacific, Mahendra Sharma said that the same may not be possible since individual GuFs are industry focused.    Kompier said that ILO would be open to provide any technical support that the Unions may require.  While concluding,  Sinha called on participants to send any written comment on the subject so that the same could be incorporated in the final document on Consultation.  Sinha further declared that the IIRA would constitute an “Expert Group on the Cole Labour Convention” to provide necessary technical support to the Indian Trade Union Movement.    lick to add text, images, and other content

IIRA's National Seminar on "Securing Decent Work Conditions"; October 06-08, 2010;  Goa

Add your main content here - text, photos, videos, addons, whatever you want!

7th Asia Regional Congress of ILERA; September 20-23, 2010; Bali, Indonesia

Add your main content here - text, photos, videos, addons, whatever you want!

Workshop on “Corporate Viability: Recession and Workplace Relations”, September 14, 2010 at New Delhi

Following 2007 Global financial crisis, markets, particularly in the Northern hemisphere witnessed fall in demands in practically all sectors.  Worst affected were, off course, the financial and the real-estate sectors.  The impact of the same was felt in the South as well.  India was too affected, although to a lesser degree.  Its export for garment, precious metals, auto components, sharply declined.  So also the demands for services in the ITeS, travel and tourism, etc sector.  Consequently, the Business India was faced with the twin problems of falling demands and increasing interest payments on borrowed capital.  Therefore, it was compelled to find ways to cut costs not only by reducing costs of production but also off loading excess products in local market at much lower process.

 The employees, during the shining India period, had developed efficient methods of production so as to confirm to both quality and time conditions.  In return they received enhanced rewards in the forms of increased wages and/or bonus.  The same thing went against them during the crisis period as they were laid off.  The strategy of rationalizing workforce did result in cases of industrial conflict and some of them turn violent. 

 Recent economic indicators, project that India is back on track of economic growth.  Demands are picking up, both from traditional and new markets.  It is there fore imperative that the social partners, while drawing lesions from the past, develop strategies for frictionless relations at the workplace so that all the parties remain committed to uninterrupted production of goods and services.  It is in this background the IIRA in collaboration with ASSOCHAM and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung [FES] is proposing to hold a Workshop on Corporate Viability: Recession and Workplace Relations to be held on September 14th 2010 at ASSOCHAM House, Prithviraj Road, New Delhi.  The workshop is expected to be inaugurated by the H’ble Minister for Labour and Employment and would have speakers drawn from industry, trade unions and academic. 

 Interested persons are invited to get themselves registered by sending the attached registration form along with registration fee of Rs 2,000 [for non-members] and Rs 1,000 [for members]payable by draft / crossed cheque  drawn in favour of Indian Industrial Relations Association, New Delhi  to the Secretariat of the Association.

National Industrial Relations Conference - 2016

XLRI Jamshedpur, 9th January 2016: The Saturday morning was marked by much fan fair and enthusiasm as it was the day XLRI, the premier management institution conducted its 7th National Industrial Relations Conference in collaboration with International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FEG). Associate sponsors include Indian Oil, Brittania, Tata tinplate, Tata Motors, State Bank of India and Public Service International (PSI). The event was co-sponsored by ILO, New Delhi.

The theme of the conference “Changing Labour Market and Industrial Relations, Changing Times: Make in India and the Ensuring Labour Reforms”. The conference saw participation from a varied group, Trade Union leaders, Industry stalwarts, academia from all parts of the country and students from premier B-Schools. In attendance for the Inaugural Session were Shri P.P. Mitra, Principal Labour and Employment Advisor, Ministry of Labour and Employment Shri T.V. Narendran, Managing Director, Tata Steel and Prof. Kuriakose Mamkootam, Director and Professor, School of Business, Ambedkar University, Delhi. Mr. Narendran talked about the increasing need for collaboration between the management and the union. Prof. Mamakootam’s stirring address on the Make in India campaign, globalization and Labour Reform and the changing IR scenario.

The pre-lunch panel discussion on the “Make in India: Indian Labour Reforms and Perspective from global Best Practices” chaired by Prof. Ravi Srivastava, Professor, Centre for the study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi with panelists including Dr. S.K. Sasikumar Senior Fellow V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, Shri Virjesh Upadhyay, All India General Secretary Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Shri Sharad Patil, Ex-Director General, Employers’ Federation of India, Dr. Rohini Hensman, Independent Scholar, Dr. R. Krishna Murthy Director Industrial Relations Institute of India, Mumbai and Shri Gautam Mody General Secretary, New Trade Union Initiative. The panel was followed by an impassioned Q and A between the students and the panel.

The post lunch panel discussion was on “Industrial Relations in Unorganized Sector” chaired by “Shri Virjesh Upadhyay” with panelists that included Shri Sumant Kumar Sinha General Manager, ER W & CSR, TATA Motors, Dr. Sonia George General Secretary, Self Employed Women’s Association, Kerela, Ms Christine Nathan Ex-ILO official, Consultant, ILO, Mr. Karthik Shekhar General Secretary National Confederation of Unites, India, Deputy Preside for Professionals & Managers in UNI-APRO, Com. Jnan Sankar Majumdar National Vice President, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Ms. Shalini Sinha Sector Specialist, Home-based workers Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing, New Delhi.

XLRI, Jamshedpur, 10th January 10, 2016: The Sunday morning marked the beginning of day 2 of the 7th National Industrial Relations Conference in collaboration with International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FEG). Associate sponsors include Indian Oil, Brittania, Tata tinplate, Tata Motors, State Bank of India and Public Service International (PSI). The event was co-sponsored by ILO, New Delhi, at XLRI.
The theme of the conference was “Changing Labour Market and Industrial Relations, Changing Times: Make in India and the Ensuring Labour Reforms”. Day 2 saw paper presentations, the final round of Trial by Fire season 2 and the Valedictory ceremony. Starting with the paper presentations, the morning saw paper presenters from across the country presenting their research. The papers were on three tracks. The first being “Make In India-Indian Labour reforms and perspectives from global best practices” chaired by Prof. Santanu Sarkar from XLRI. The second panel was on “Industrial Relations in the Unorganized Sector” chaired by Ms. Christine Nathan, Consultant-ILO. The third track was on “Emerging Issues in Industrial and Employment Relations in India” chaired by Dr. S K Sasikumar, Senior Fellow, V V Giri National Labour Institute. The paper presenters had been handpicked from over 46 entries and will be published in XLRI’s prestigious journal MLS. The presentations occurred to a full house and were attended by a variety of people from the academia, students, working professionals and TU leaders.

Occurring in parallel was the final case study round of the second edition of the Trial by Fire Season 2. The top six teams from the Trial by Fire online quizzing league were given cases designed by Tata Motors and had to present their solutions to the judges.


The valedictory session was graced by the presence of Prof. Achin Chakraborty, Director, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata, Prof. Pranabesh Ray, Dean, Academics, XLRI and by Prof. Santanu Sarka, Associate Dean-Programs. The session started with opening remarks from Prof. Ray followed by a stirring summation of the conference proceedings by Prof Anuratha Venkatraman. This was followed by Prof. Achin Chakroborty’s valedictory address on causality between labour market reform and job creation. After the valedictory speech, there was the distribution of prizes to the winners of the paper presentations along with the winning team of Trial by Fire Season 2. The conference ended with Prof. Shyam Sundar’s warm Vote of Thanks.


Click to add text, images, and other content


Click to add text, images, and other content


Click to add text, images, and other content