What are the causes of industrial unrest in India?

Industrial unrest means the collective discontentment among all workers in different industries in the country on issues of minimum wages, safety measures, the security of employment, and certain intra-mural and extra-mural facilities that are referred to as the problem of ‘industrial unrest’. In other words, it is a collective frustration and disillusionment on common issues of the groups in society. The industrial unrest, in fact. means, the conflict between employees and workers in industries. The industrial workers display their protest in the form of strikes, gherao, bandh, slow tactics, rallies and demonstrations. The employers (industrialists) show their might by retrenchment, dismissal, lockouts, etc. Industrial unrest causes an industrial recession, decline in production and national income.

Causes of Industrial Unrest

The main causes of industrial unrest are:

  1. The upsurge in the birth rate or rapid growth of population and the consequent supply of surplus labour.
  2. The hire and fire policy of the industrialists and employers.
  3. The cyclical unemployment in industries, which is caused because of ups and downs in trade and business.
  4. Large scale migration of the people from rural to urban and industrial areas.
  5. Loses occurred by industries.
  6. Slow growth of industries.
  7. Competition with foreign industries.
  8. Most of the Industrialisation is unplanned.
  9. Lack of welfare and social security.
  10. Frequent instances of labour strikes or employers’ lockouts and rationalisation.
  11. Rising wages and low productivity.
  12. Liberalisation and Globalisation.
  13. New lifestyle.

In addition to the above factors, the introduction of new technology also leads to technological unemployment. The automation or other technological changes in industry results in reduction of manpower necessary to produce a finished product. Throughout the course of economic development, particularly since the industrial revolution man has been forced to adjust to the process of mechanisation. Industry has diminished an average man’s economic security since every advancement in technology leads to the displacement of human labour.

Thus, improvements in machine technology, over-production, falsely stimulated speculation, social emphasis upon monetary success and the inevitable depression — all these make for crippling disruption in

the demand for labour which ultimately leads to industrial Labour unrest. The Maruti Suzuki India Limited Plant (MSIL) faced a serious labour problem of unrest in July 2012. The company accused 147 workers, some of them under Section 302 of the Indian Panel Code (IPC) of killing the HR Managers of the industry.

The central and states governments have taken several remedial measures to redress the grievances of the industrial workers. The solution of the unrest, however, may not be found unless the growth of population and supply of labour are checked. Moreover, there is an urgent need to implement the self-employment schemes more vigorously.

The industrial unrest may be reduced appreciably if great emphasis it put on:

  • creation of opportunities for self-employment,
  • augmentation of productivity and income levels of the working poor; and
  • shift in emphasis from creation of relief type of employment to building up of durable productive assets.