Industrial peace is a basic factor for sustainable growth of a factory, industry or the economy at large. With the technological innovations leading to Industry 4.0, there is immense concern among the workers and their organisations on the potential impact on sustaining existing jobs and future job creation. For many workers’ leaders, technology itself will not determine the way forward. It is all about the choices that Governments, businesses, workers and their organisations and societies as a whole make.
Digitalisation, robotics and the technological innovations are certainly going to affect production, services and life in general in the future. The challenge is to make the right decisions and put people at the centre and technology should be at the service of people. The employer-employee relations, the role of labour in the process of production, expectations and aspirations of employees are also changing. The workers’ organisations are facing challenges to cope with these changes and need to educate their constituents.
With the above background, it was increasingly felt that workers’ organisations need training and proper orientation. This would enable them to understand some key issues and probably better address the ambiguities, which they or their constituents might be facing. This thought process led to the Ambekar Institute of Labour Studies (AILS), a Mumbai based labour research organisation and partner of Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES) in conceptualising a four-module pilot training programme. According to Mr. G B Gawde, Director of AILS “The workers’ organizations need to equip and prepare for the next phase of industrialization. This would require stock-taking, understanding labour market practices, ongoing industrial trends and global frameworks through which sustainable development is to be achieved.”
The modules aim at raising awareness on sustainable enterprises and industrial democracy; managing industrial relations; future economy and the UN sustainable development goals.
Each of the four modules is of 3-days duration. The training is being organized in the Mumbai and Khandala campuses of AILS. Currently, two trainings have been convened and two are scheduled to be held in the coming months.
Anup Srivastava is Program Adviser of the Labour and Industrial Relations project at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung India office in New Delhi.