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`Communication is key to employee relations'

Our Bureau

Chennai , Dec. 21

Communication at various levels within an organisation is a must for improvement as manufacturing industries move from cost-based approach to people-based systems, according to Mr S. Nagarajan, Executive Director, Ashok Leyland.

Delivering the keynote address at a seminar on changing dimensions in employee relations here on Wednesday, he said that key to competent employee relations is in effective communications. For the mutual benefit of the employers and the employee, dialogue rather than passing orders down the line will be the way companies will operate.

Rigid labour legislations and controls will come down and the government systems will have to look at the needs of the future, he said.

Mr. R.P.K. Murugesan, Deputy General Secretary, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), said that the International Labour Organisation had laid down guidelines that emphasise cooperation at the level of the undertakings, communication within the undertaking and examination of the grievances.

Political climate and economic factors have a bearing on employer-employee relations. Political parties play an active role in the trade union movement and economic factors and price increase drive wage demands.

Dr V. Varaprasada Rao, Tamil Nadu Labour Commissioner, said that the semiskilled workers were among the worst affected when it comes to enforcing standards. In the construction industry, for instance, the workers were sidelined despite the presence of a welfare board because of the numerous trade unions. Even the benefit meant for workers does not reach them.

In industries like carpet making and beedi rolling, it is tough to enforce wage standards because of the loose arrangement between the workers and employers.

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