National Commission on Labour (1967)||
21.16 The main role and functions of an employers' organisation is to protect and promote the interest of its members. The membership of employers' organisations is basically composed of corporations/employers who have certain purely economic ends to pursue. All enterprises have to survive the test of economic viability. For a proper appraisal of the role and functions of an organisation, this aspect cannot be brushed aside. Naturally, its activities are designed and directed in such a manner that their members stand to gain. Also the organisations have to work on a broader plane; labour problems are only a part of their over-all responsibilities. Economic, commercial and fiscal matters and policies are equally or even more important for them Services rendered by the organisations in representing their members' views oh Government's policies, 1rules and regulations and in giving advice to members on the interpretation and extent of applicability of agreements arrived at various bipartite and tripartite bodies and on Acts and Regulations which come into force constitute their main functions. Labour departments/advisory services, which have come in vogue in many employers' organisations to advise and assist members have been the direct consequence of the recognition of these functions.
21.17 Employers' organisations find it necessary to have legislative support for realisation of their objectives. The pursuit of their activities leads to their involvement in politics or to their developing lobbies without directly aligning themselves with any political party. There is evidence on record to show that individual employers, and not the employers' organisations, have used these avenues to the extent necessary, although providing finances to political parties or sponsoring candidates are not unknown to the organisations or industrial associations, national or local. Political activity by employers' associations may be as inimical to peace in industry as that by workers' associations, particularly when we are envisaging employers' organisations to include both public and private sector units. This should be eschewed. It is thus that they will be able to establish rapport between the two sectors and work exclusively to the interest of industry rather than to the sectional interests of one or the other form of ownership.
21.18 The pursuit of economic gains by employers' organisations does not mean that they should not recognise social responsibilities. With planned economic development and increasing democratisation of the institutional framework of society, there is active consultation by the State with all organisations, including those of employers, for formulation, inter alia, of economic, educational, social and labour policies. Employers' organisations are, therefore, expected to take a stand consistent with the social and economic objectives of the community/ country as a whole and be active in promoting policies and measures that are not contrary to the general interest of the community. Along with their gains, they should keep in view the needs of the developing economy, the requirements of planned growth, importance of maintenance of peace in industry and the desirability of an equitable distribution of the national wealth. There can, however, be differences as in the case of trade unions, as to priority between the interests of the community and the
interests of their members. Since these conflicting interests require to be harmonised, it would be appropriate to deal with the role and functions of the employers' organisations by studying them specifically in relation to their obligations to their constituents on matters which impinge directly on labour. The broader obligations of the organisations to society are discussed later as a part of our recommendations.