Worker’s Participation Advantages and Forms

Workers participation Advantages

Benefits to Workers

  1. Opportunity to participate in policy and decision-making process.
  2. A channel of communication to top management.
  3. Means to make input in solving operational problems and management plans affecting workers in the workplace.
  4. Avenues for employees to air complaints that cannot be appropriately addressed in the grievance procedure.
  5. Opportunity for demonstrate that the union is a responsible organization with a constructive role to play beyond the traditional contract negotiations and grievance settlement.
  6. Opportunity for self improvement and on the job leadership training.

Benefits to management

  1. A forum to share information about business conditions,quality problems,product development and other matters that demonstrate the role of employees in the success of the enterprise.
  2. An opportunity for advanced discussions of operational problems and plans,particularly those affecting employee work schedules,overtime,lay-off,transfers etc.
  3. A means to relate with the union without being bogged down in labour relations issues.
  4. Opportunity to demonstrate responsiveness to constructive suggestions and valid complaints of employees in improving the workplace.
  5. Means to tap the large reservoir of know-how and creativeness of employees.
  6. A channel of communication with employees.
  7. Enhancement of human factor in organizational effectiveness.

Worker’s Participation Forms may be as follows:

Collective Bargaining: Collective bargaining results in collective agreements which lay down certain rules and conditions of service in an establishment. Such agreements are normally binding on the parties. Theoretically, collective bargaining is based on the principle of balance of power, but, in actual practice, each party tries to outbid the other and get maximum advantage by using, if necessary, threats and counter threats like; strikes, lockouts and other direct actions. Joint consultation, on the other hand, is a particular technique which is intended to achieve a greater degree of harmony and cooperation by emphasizing matters of common interest. Workers prefer to use the instrument of collective bargaining rather than ask for a share in management. Workers’ participation in the U.S.A has been ensured almost exclusively by means of collective agreements and their application and interpretation rather than by way of labour representation in management.

Works Councils: They are exclusive bodies of employees,assigned with different functions in the management of an enterprise. In some countries their role is limited only to receive information about the enterprise.

Joint Management Councils and Committees: Mainly these bodies are consultative and advisory, with decision-making being left to the top management. This system of participation is prevalent in many countries, including Britain and India. As they are consultative and advisory, neither the managements nor the workers take them seriously.

Board Representation: The role of a worker representative in the board of directors is essentially one of negotiating the worker’s interest with the other members of the board. At times, this may result in tension and friction inside the board room. The effectiveness of workers’ representative at the board depend upon his ability to participate in decision-making, his knowledge of the company affairs, his educational background, his level of understanding and also on the number of worker representatives in the Board.

Workers Ownership of Enterprise: Social self-management in Yugoslavia is an example of complete control of management by workers through an elected board and workers council. Even in such a system, there exist two distinct managerial and operative functions with different sets of persons to perform them. Though workers have the option to influence all the decisions taken at the top level, in actual practice, the board and the top management team assume a fairly independent role in taking major policy decisions for the enterprises, especially in economic matters.