Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The third possible method is the formation of works committees. The comparatively small measure of success achieved by the experiments in this direction has raised doubts regarding the suitability of works committees to Indian conditions. In the minds of many employers there is the belief that works committees will provide a substitute for trade unions, while these are regarded by trade union leaders as rival institutions deserving of no encouragement. We believe that, if they are given proper encouragement and past errors are avoided, works committees can play a useful part in the Indian industrial system. The defective education of the Indian worker puts a handicap on these committees which is not present in the West. We have referred to the works committees in operation in two mills in Madras, and in the chapter on railways we have dealt at length with this subject. What needs emphasis here is that, where there is a trade union, the employer should seek its collaboration and co-operation in the establishment and working of these committees, which should not be regarded or used as rivals to its influence. It is idle to expect that a committee, intended to forestall and prevent effective organisation on the part of workers, will secure their confidence to any large extent. We are anxious that prejudice shall not prevent trade unions from securing the facilities necessary for their development, but it will be generally recognised that the employer has the right of exercising his own judgment as to the bona fides of a particular trade union. The workers' representatives should have facilities for separate as well as for joint meetings; such meetings should ordinarily count as working time. The range of subjects should be as wide as possible. Finally, and most important of all, the principal representative of the management must be in sympathy with the idea and determined to do his best to make the committee a success. A manager (or other officer) with the will and the ability to appreciate the workers' point of view is the biggest asset a committee can have. Where a suitable labour officer has been secured, he will naturally play a large part in the working of the committee. His position should enable him to see that the workers' case is adequately presented, and he can act as their advocate when he is convinced that remedial measures are required. It is preferable that he should not act as the spokesman of the employers on the committee; this duty is best discharged by the manager or some other officer.