National Commission on Labour (1967)||
22.1 In the USA, the State has confined itself to enacting legislation for ensuring the workers' right to organise and bargain collectively, and has constituted an independent authority to administer and interpret legal provisions and decide on complaints regarding unfair labour practices. Intervention of the State in industrial disputes is limited to actual or threatened work stoppages which could imperil the national economy, health or safety. But even within this area of State intervention, a wide latitude is given to the parties for settling their differences. In regard to disputes which have an economic bearing, the Government does not envisage any direct interference in the process of collective bargaining, beyond issuing statements of its economic policy from time to time.
22.2 In the U.K., the industrial relations system has been marked by the primacy of free collective bargaining between the parties. Disputes relating to jurisdiction are mainly an internal matter for the British Trade Union Congress. The Donovan Commission has recently recommended that disputes relating to union recognition should be dealt with by the Industrial Relations Commission. The Government has refrained from defining unfair labour practices and from prescribing rules for promotion of collective bargaining. The collective bargaining agreements, before they are enforced, have to go through the National Board for Prices and Incomes set up by Government. A further change seems to be in the offing as may be inferred from the following observations in the U.K. Government's White Paper, "In Place of Strife":
"But from the very beginning of this debate there was an alternative view; namely, that while the periodical "readjustment" of bargaining power between the two sides was an essential part of the Government's role, it was not in itself sufficient. The State also had to act at times to contain the disruptive consequences of the struggle for those not immediately affected—especially if non-intervention was likely to result in widespread damage to the interests of the community at large. Linked with this argument to an increasing extent was a related one: that Governments should intervene still further if it could be shown that certain important economic or social objectives were not sufficiently furthered or were frustrated by collective bargaining.
In short the doctrine of non-intervention is not, and never has been, consistently preached. The need for State intervention and involvement, in association with both sides of industry, is now admitted by almost everyone.
The question that remains is, what form should it take at the present time?"1
22.3 The Australian system has had a long tradition of State regulation. The Government intervenes through the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission for the settlement of 'interest' disputes and through the Industrial Court to settle differences about interpretation. But even within the Australian structure, it has been claimed that there is fair scope for collective bargaining. Parties can approach the above-mentioned authorities direct. Once the Commission is seized of a dispute and the Government feels that the decision of the Commission can have repercussions on the community, all it can do is to place its case before the Commission and hope for the best. However, experience has shown that not many such occasions have arisen.
22.4 In Japan, the right to collective bargaining is guaranteed under the Constitution and the State has enacted legislation to promote collective bargaining. Direct State intervention is permissible in strikes which might jeopardise the national economy and public life. The Prime Minister can restrain such a strike for fifty days through court injunction obtained with the consent of the Central Labour Relations Commission, which is to try settling the dispute within this fifty-day cooling-off period by methods other than compulsory arbitration. The rights of unions are prescribed according to the type of employment in which they are to function. In particular, differential provisions are made in regard to the right to strike and the right to bargain. In her industrially advanced democratic systems so, direct State intervention in industrial disputes is generally the exception rather than the rule. Intervention by judicial authorities for settling the disputes over rights, however, does prevail. Creation of new rights by and large is left to the parties concerned.
22.5 In the USSR, three important factors regulate the industrial relations system. The first is the formation of a socialist society which has replaced private ownership of basic means of production by public ownership. The building up of a workers' State, according to this proposition, makes the interests of labour and management non-antagonistic; occasion for active conflict in industrial relations is thus eliminated. Secondly, the operation of a centrally planned and controlled economy introduces its own constraints on labour and management. Recently, however, increasing powers are being given to local trade unions and individual enterprises to take decisions on matters of employment, wages and productivity. Lastly, the influence of a single political party in running the Government and in organising unions makes it necessary for the unions to have to perform a double role. They have to help in carrying out party policy and look after production interests, and at the same time, assume the traditional role of unions in furthering the interests of labour.
22.6 In three developing countries in Asia viz., Burma and Malaysia, and for a long time in the Phillippines, the concern of the State in industrial relations has been more marked. Besides laying down rules and procedures for the settlement of disputes, the State has provided arbitration machinery. In the last resort, Government has reserved to itself the right of making a reference to such machinery in cases where the public interest so demands, or where a joint request is made by the parties.