Labour Investigation Committee (1946)||
In the management of labour, the use of service cards or registration cards is important. Such cards enable the management to decide questions of promotion and dismissal and to keep the workers on the path of efficiency and regularity. For programmes of social insurance or for statistical enquiries moreover, such cards are valuable in assessing the financial liabilities of insurance funds and in estimating statistical quantities, such as age, length of service, turnover, etc. The utility of service cards is also great for employment service under Employment Exchanges, which require all possible information about the history of each case coming to them. Generally speaking a large number of enlightened employers who have introduced any system in their labour management favour the maintenance of service cards. The view taken by the workers' organisations, however, is that while they have nothing to say against the employers maintaining service cards or registers, they
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should not be allowed to record in these cards any remarks regarding the workers conduct which are likely to1 be quoted against him when seeking fresh employment. In other words, the employer should not be allowed to victimise a worker permanently by attacking his reputation. Broadly speaking, this view is plausible, and the value of Service cards in the eyes of other employers or employment agencies would be enhanced, if, as far as possible, derogatory remarks are not inserted in them.
The Millowners' Association, Bombay, towards the end of 1938, recommended to member mills in the City and Island of Bombay the adoption of a system of service cards in respect of all permanent workers employed by them. The items of information in the service cards were standardised and a uniform card was evolved for the purpose. A copy 61 this card is reproduced in Appendix IX. This system has now been adopted by most of the mills in Bombay. If any permanent worker especially a jobber or supervisor resigns, or is dismissed, or promoted, the change is immediately notified to the Association by Members. In addition, the Millowners' Association have also recommended that request from old workers for service certificates should be sympathetically considered, and that particular care should be taken by mills in giving reliable information in such certificates. Mills are required to employ such retrenched workers carrying service certificates in preference to outside labour.
Service record cards are maintained by most textile mills and engineering concerns and by the larger factories belonging to the perennial group. Seasonal and unregulated factories do not as a rule, maintain service records. In mines and plantations, likewise, except rarely, no records of service are maintained. Records are maintained in several railways, dockyards and ports and many municipalities have also adopted this system. We have had an opportunity of examining service records of different concerns, and we feel that the information supplied is extremely useful. There, is, however, no general pattern, and each concern chooses those items of information which it is likely to find useful for its -own management. Broadly speaking, details are given regarding name, address, religion and caste, year of birth, languages known by the worker, degree of literacy, record of past service in the concern, record of service in other concerns, the name of immediate past employer, particulars of technical education if any, identification marks, occupational changes, periods of leave granted with reasons for taking leave, total absence from work, wages and earnings month by month, and disciplinary action taken against the workers, such as warnings, suspension, fines, etc. Apart from this, information regarding accidents and compensation paid in respect of them, increments and promotions, etc., are also given. The information falls mainly under two parts, one dealing with the more or less permanent features such as name, father's name, surname, age, religion, caste, literacy, native place, etc., and the other with occupational changes, wages, attendance leave, etc. In other words one part deals with information which is non-variable and the other with that which is variable. Both from the point of view of labour management and from that of future organisation of Employment Exchanges and social insurance, it will be better if the service record cards are maintained on a uniform basis at least so far as the minimum information required is concerned, employers being left free to make additional entries, if they think necessary. We also feel that it is worth consideration whether statutory provision should not be made requiring employers to maintain proper service records of their employees.