Labour Investigation Committee (1946)||
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Having defined the scope of welfare activities, let us turn to the necessity of adding these to the contractual relationship between the employer and the workers. In the first place, there is no doubt as regards the beneficial effects of welfare measures such as educational facilities, sports, entertainments, etc., on the sentimental atmosphere in the factory and their contribution to the maintenance of industrial peace. when the worker feels that the employer and the State are interested in his day-to-day life and would like to make his lot happier in every possible way, his tendency to grouse and grumble will steadily disappear. Secondly, better housing, co-operative societies, canteens, sickness and maternity
F.N. Cf. Report of the Bombay Textile Labour Enquiry Committee, pp. 264-65. Also Royal Commission (Report, p. 261), who observed: "It is a term which must necessarily be elastic, bearing a somewhat different interpretation in one country from another according to the different social customs, the degree of industrialisation and the educational development of the worker.
F.N. Industry and Society. p. 529 quoted ibid.
F.N. (No. account of such schemes is given here. Reference may be made to Prof. Adrakar's Report on Health Insurance which contain an account of existing sickness benefit schemes in India at pp. 137—148.
benefits provident funds, gratuities and pensions, and such other things are bound to create a feeling amongst the workers that they have a stake in the industry as much as anyone else, and the present situation under which labour turnover and absenteeism prevail and the workers are constantly trekking to their village homes in search of social security and recreation will yield place to a new situation in which the working class becomes more stabilised and economically efficient.1. Thirdly the social advantage—even apart from the humanitarian value —of such activities are considerable. Thus, the provision of canteens where cheap clean and balanced food is available to workers must improve their physique: entertainments must reduce the incidence of vices; medical aid and maternity and child welfare must improve the health of workers and their families and bring down the rates of general, maternal and infant mortality; and educational facilities must increase their mental efficiency and economic productivity. For achieving the maximum results, however, welfare activities have to be undertaken in the right spirit, i. e., mainly with a view to making the lives of the workers happier and healthier. Thus, it has been stated by some trade unions— not wholly without reason —that employers often make use of welfare activities for undermining the influence of trade unions and to wean away the workers from them by discriminating against those who are members of unions. Such vindictive use of welfare activities must necessarily have unfortunate consequences in the long run.
The Indian industrial worker has often been condemned as lazy and inefficient, but, as pointed out by the Bombay Textile Labour Enquiry Committee, "It is axiomatic that in all pursuits a high standard of efficiency can be expected only from persons who are physically fit and free from mental worries, that is, only from persons who are properly trained, properly housed, properly fed and properly clothed. 2 In this connection, we fully endorse the view expressed by that Committee, that even apart from the question of welfare activities (which , of course, are a direct solution of the problem), it is desirable to have an Institute of Industrial Welfare Research, wherein the questions of fatigue, hygiene and unrest could be fully investigated, and the result utilised for advancing both industrial efficiency and human well-being.