The Legal environment of HRM

The history of employer relations in India can be traced back to the struggle for independence, which dates back to the early eighteenth century. With help from the leaders of the independence movement, the textile industry workers revolted against the prevalent British practice of using the Indian textile industry to act as raw material supplier to the textile industry in Britain. Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha movement changed the scenario of industrial relations in India and marked the beginning of the growing nexus between the still young trade union movement and political parties such as the Indian national Congress, the communist party, etc. The trade union movement in India, in fact, grew parallel to the freedom Movement and by the time of our Independence, the trade union movement had reached a mature stage of development. Subsequently the industrial policies conceived and implemented by the government of India in areas such as steel, cement, mining, textiles, hydro-electric, thermal power etc contributed to the strengthening of the trade unions in the organized sector. Coupled with this was the growing influence of the socialist philosophy of the then Soviet Union on the economists and planners of the governments of India, with its emphasis on the rights of the workers and equitable distribution of wealth. The socialist perspectives of the government of India led to the formulation of number of regulations, legislative and legal support mechanisms for the rights of workers and to guide their movement for self protection. These legislations were intended to protect interests of workers and provide them with good working environments. The following are the principal trade unions in India:

1) All India trade Union Congress (AITUC): Established in 1920, it is ideologically linked to the communist philosophy of attaining workers interests and goals.
2) Indian national Trade Union Congress (INTUC): Established in 1947 with the support and encouragement of senior Congress leaders, it aims at bringing about a peaceful and non violent Solution to industrial disputes.
3) Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS): Established in 1948, this federation espouses the socialist philosophy and has linkages with socialist parties.
4) Center of Indian trade Unions (CITU): This was a break away faction of AITUC, and owes its allegiance to the CPI (M).

Does HRM face the same laws globally?

What we can do is remind you that you need to know the laws and regulations that apply in your locale. To illustrate our point that laws and regulations shape HRM practices, we can highlight some of the federal legislation that influences HRM practices in countries such as Canada, Mexico, Australia and Germany.

Canadian laws pertaining to HRM practices closely parallel those in the United States. The Canadian Human Rights Act provides federal legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, age, marital status, sex, physical or mental disability or national origin. This act governs practices throughout the country. Canada’s HRM environment, however, is somewhat different from that in the United States in that involves more decentralization of lawmaking to the provincial level. For example, discrimination on the basis of language is not prohibited any where in Canada except in Quebec.

In Mexico, employees are more likely to be unionized than are in the United States. Labor matters in Mexico are governed by the Mexican Federal labor Law. One Law regarding hiring states that an employer has 28 days to evaluate a new employee’s work performance. After that period, the employee is granted job security and termination is quite difficult and expensive. Infractions of the Mexican Federal Labor Law are subject to severe penalties including criminal action that can result in high fines and even jail sentences for employers who fail to pay, for example the minimum wage.

Work councils: Nominated or elected employees who must be consulted when management makes decisions involving personnel.

Board representatives: Employees who sit on a company’s board of directors and represent the interests of employees.

Our final example, Germany, is similar to most Western European countries when it comes to HRM practices. Legislation requires companies to practice representative participation. The goal of representative participation is to redistribute power within the organization, putting labor on a more equal with the interests of management and stock holders. The two most common forms that representative participation takes are work councils and board representatives. Work councils link employees with management. They are groups of nominated or elected employees who must be consulted when management makes decisions involving personnel. Board representatives are employees who sit on a company’s board of directors and represent the interest of the firm’s employees.