LABOUR WELFARE AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS IN A DEPRESSED ECONOMY

LABOUR WELFARE AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS IN A DEPRESSED ECONOMY

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Labour in general, could be defined as the human efforts of any kind, manual or mental, skilled or unskilled, scientific or artistic. It is the human knowledge transformed into activity that gives utilities or values to all commodities.

It is a man who cultivates land whether he uses hoe or tractor. It is the same man who sows, weed, harvest, process, stores and sell. Every single endeavour here on earth has man's finger print. All these human efforts which are vital to production are called LABOUR. The productivity of a worker would be a function of the amount of effort a man can put forward in a given period of time and skill. When we talk of productivity, we mean the increased efficiency and the rate of which goods are produced, while labour is the bodily and mental work.

Welfare services are so enormous and numerous. This can be defined as the added advantage or support given to the workers by the employer or the company at large. This can be described as the Canteen Services, Financial Support, Educational Financial Support, Transport Facilities, Medical Facilities, Maternity Benefits, Gratuity Scheme, Employment Provident Fund, Compensation Scheme, Recreational Benefits, etc.

The Coinage of the term Industrial Relation is originally traceable to the historical circumstances of British industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe. It should be remembered that the industrial revolution was accompanied by a breakdown of the manorial system and serfdom, i.e. person client relationship that was tied to the tradition land ownership in the form of the employment contract between the workers and the employer. Workers exploitation through a regime of oppressive or horrifying wages: poor organization climate, poor quality of working life. The inherent profit motivation of capitalist, employers of their surrogates (e.g. manager) on the other hand and primary reward and job satisfaction interest if ranks and file employees.

Industrial relation is the study of employment relationship that is between workers and management or employer. Here are some of their definitions by different authors:-

Beatrice Webb (1890): defines industrial relation as whole web of human interaction at work which is predicted upon and arise out of employment contact.

UBEKU (1982): defines industrial relation as a resolution of industrial conflicts.

HYMAN (1975): opines that industrial relation as a process of control over work relation and among their process, those involving works organization and of a particular concern.

When we talk of economic depression, it means a situation whereby the employment phase falls, economic meltdown, but the rate of fall gradually decreases until the circle through is reached. Economic depression of a country is the devaluation of currency. High level of unemployment rate in any economy is a state or period of economic depression.

The value of labour to an employer varies with the marginal productivity of the worker. This is the additional contribution which the last worker makes to the employer's output. Marginal productivity of labour must be equal to the wages rate if the product rises, all other things being equal and employer of labour will be able to employ more labour. The marginal productivity of labour will be affected by the following factors:-

a)                 The natural ability of labourer's efficiency and training.

b)               The equipment with which the worker works will also be determined by the marginal productivity of labour, where modern and suitable equipment are used, labour is likely to have a high marginal productivity

c)               The conditions of demand for the product which labour produces will also affect marginal productivity of labour. If the demand for the product increases, the employer will employ more labour force adding more to earnings and loss of production. This will affect the overall demand for labour and its marginal productivity.

When we talk of economic depression, it means a situation whereby the employment phase fall, but the rates of fall gradually decrease until the circle through is reached. Unemployment in a country is a situation whereby the mentally and physically fit men and women can't get a job to do. Any responsible government must combat the problem seriously. Another main cause of economic depression of a country is the devaluation of the currency. By this we mean exchange value of the country currency is reduced to a lower rate.

By Yesufu (1984); who view industrial relation (R) as the total sum of labour relation (LR) and personnel relations (PR), illustrating with arithmetic model of IR = LR + PR developed by Seward authors. In more details, labour relation (LR) defines the relationship between labour or (trade union organisation) and management and individual employees. Also, Yesufu located the various concepts of "employee relations, labour relation and industrial relation". Even when used interchangeably within the central theme of employment.

J.T DUNLOP (1958) defines industrial relations as "web rules" that actors in the sphere of employment working together Industrial relations as an academic in Nigeria is relatively young and developing. This has been reflected in the status of organized literature on the subjects' matter, which has been expanding but relatively scarce in respect of the key area including the labour economics aspect.

The whole idea of this research bothers on the concept of "Welfare Scheme of the Industrial Labour Force" which is conceptualized as the right of every workforce for freedom to some rights of social amenities, health and safety outfits and other facilities in an industrial sociological factory or company.

The system concept of industrial relations is credited to john Dunlop who explains that a system of industrial relations is comprised of four main attributes. These are: major actors, web of rules, contexts and ideology. The Major actors in a typical system of industrial relations are recognized as: workers and their organizations. (E.g. trade unions), managers or employers and their association, government and their agencies. The "web of rules" is essentially referenced to the semblance of work rules that are formulated and applied for the moderation of inter­actor behaviour in line with the demands of conformity and harmony in the workplace. The "context" refers to the various situation and environments of employment that may often produce different patterns of systems that influence the mode of operation of a specific work organisation and bind together a system of industrial relations

The welfare services includes: canteen services, housing facilities ,educational financial support, death benefits, recreational benefits, transport facilities, provision of creches, bonus benefits, medical facilities, gratuity scheme, maternity benefit, employee provident fund and compensation scheme.

I am introducing GREIF NIGERIA PLC. As my case study. A leading manufacturing company in metal drums and plastic containers. The company is also into marketing of metal drums and plastic containers.

The company's overseas branches are at Brazil and South Africa.

Mission Statement- To provide the packaging that gives the ultimate value to our customers and to the best packaging company in the world, working in true partnership with our customers, our suppliers and among ourselves.

GRIEF NIGERIA PLC. Is building upon its rich history as a special place to work. They operate between a culture of integrity, character and respect. They intend to solve packaging challenges in Nigeria and to become a responsible steward of the earth's natural resources.

1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

One must admit that the geographical/physical and social expansion of human society places the industrial relation of any society in a pivotal position.

Therefore, labour, welfare and industrial relation in any establishment is very important both to the organization and the economy at large. This is due to the fact that social interaction and better labour welfare increases productivity and high level of performance at work. This continuity on the long run brings better result to the organization and this boosts the economy. Absence of the labour welfare and industrial relations would reduce performance of the worker and its effect is widely felt in the economy. This could bring about corruption, theft, fraud and the widely feared in the economy "Armed Robbers"

1.4      OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The study seeks:

(a)              To show the importance of labour welfare and industrial relations.

(b)              To show that lack of this benefits and social interaction could lead to dissatisfaction and decreased productivity.


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