Government of India on 30th October,1975 announced a scheme of workers participation in management which consisted of establishment of Joint Councils and Shop council as part of its 20 point economic programs. The scheme envisages for the establishment of joint councils and shop councils in manufacturing and mining industries employing 500 or more employees in public, private and co-operative sectors.
The scheme contemplated participation of workers in the decision-making process in the matters relating to production, productivity ,absenteeism, safety measures, general discipline, working conditions and welfare, and over –all efficiency of the shop/department.
Important features of this new scheme are :
All decisions of a Shop council as well as of the Joint council shall be on the edifice of the Consensus and not by process of voting.
It is non-statutory like JMCs and there is a clear-cut functions of these councils.
Consensus and time-bound implementation are the tools for arriving at decisions .thus, the scheme tries to eliminate the chances of direct interference by outside elements .The decisions are required to be implemented within one month.
The scheme provides for participation of workers at the shop floor level; otherwise the framework is not materially different from that of WCs and JMCs.
It provides for a two-way communication and an exchange of information between the management and the workmen.
the very change in the nomenclature of the scheme from participation of workers in management to that of participation of workers in industry makes it more acceptable to employees as the latter are likely to offset some of their misgivings and apprehensions caused by the former.
The scheme hits three principal objectives to which the reform of industrial democracy is directed, viz, recovery of individual human rights at the work place; consolidation of social and political freedom(to join a particular union of his own choice without any coercion0; and the framing of new industrial system functionally suitable to the country’s economy.
The joint councils are for the whole unit and its membership remains confined to those who are actually engaged in the organization. The tenure of the joint councils is for two years. The Chief executive of the unit becomes its Chairman. workers members of the council nominate the Vice Chairman. The joint council appoints the Secretary. The Secretary is responsible for discharging the functions of the council.
The joint councils will meet once in four months ,but the periodicity of the meeting varies from unit to unit ,it may be once in a month, quarter etc. The decisions taken at the joint council meetings are by he process of consensus and the management shall implement the decisions within one month. The scheme was implemented by the major units of the central and State governments. The government enlarged the functions of the councils in 1976.
The shop council represents each department or a shop in an unit .Each shop council will consist of an equal number of representatives of employers and workers .The employers representatives will be nominated by the management and must consist of persons from within the unit concerned .The workers representative will be from among the workers of the department or shop concerned. The number of members of each council may be determined by the employers in consultation with the recognized union. The total number of members however, may not generally exceed twelve.
The decisions of the shop council are t be taken on the basis of consensus but not by voting .Management has to implement the decisions within one month .The tenure of the shop council is for a period of two years .Members of the shop councils meet at least once in a month .Management nominates the Chairman of the shop council whereas workers members of the council elect the Vice-chairman of the council.
The number of shop councils to be established in an organization are determined by the employer in consultation with the recognized trade unions/workers of the organization. The decisions of a shop council which have a bearing on another shop will be referred to joint council for consideration and approval.