Q. 2 Discuss the significance of regional organization and implications for the employment relations of member countries .provide examples to support your assertions.
Regional organization occur where different geopolitical entities join and work together towards attaining certain objectives. Regional organizations may occur within specific geographical boundaries such as continents or they may be characterized by unique geopolitics such as economic blocks. Regional organizations have a long history since World War II with the formation of Organization of American States (OAS) in 1948. Since then, numerous regional organizations have been formed across the globe to accomplish different objectives. Regional organizations may affect labour relations of member countries in various ways. This section explains the importance of regional organization and implications for labour relations of member countries.
Regional organization is vital to members in various ways. To start with, it enables members to have a stronger voice internationally. For instance, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional organization that enables small African countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire and Gambia are able to pull their resources and to take informed positions at international negotiations. In Europe, the interests of less powerful nations such as Italy and Greece are represented by the European Union (EU) in the international arena. EU is a regional organization which comprises of 27 European nations. It is one of the most integrated regional organizations as it has its own currency and judicial system and has ability to make and implement cohesive foreign trade policy. By joining their force, the members of EU have become quite influential in international trade. Generally, countries are usually represented in trade negotiations by regional organizations to which they are members. As such, regional organizations protect members from unfair trade with non-members.
Secondly, regional organization facilitates trade among members. Usually, members of regional organization negotiate and come up with measures that facilitate trade between them. Trade among members may be facilitated through establishment and implementation of more liberal trade rules among the members. This may be achieved, for instance, through lowering of trade barriers and other restrictions imposed to members. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are examples of regional organizations that facilitate trade among members.
Regional organization has also been playing a key role in enhancing political stability among nations. For instance, African Union AU has been successful in enhancing political stability in Africa and has played a major role in facilitating peaceful elections in countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Angola, South Africa and Mauritius. Further, regional organization helps to protect members from external invasion among members. One of the reasons for the emergence of OAS was to form a major force that would protect member states from external invasion. Finally, regional organization plays a key role in promoting peace among the members. For instance, the establishment of EU ended wars that occurred constantly among European countries.
Regional organization may have several implications on employment relations. To start with, it may facilitate movement of labour from one state to another, within the organization. For instance, formation of OAS facilitated movement of labour across the member states. Movement of labour from one state to another may lead to lower cost of labour in a labour-importing nation. Further, members of regional organization may agree to harmonize labour laws to achieve specific objectives. Harmonising labour laws may lead to improved labour relations systems within member states. The EU has tried severally to harmonize labour laws especially in regard to rights of workers, although the move has not been rejected by some members.
In conclusion, numerous regional organizations have been established across the world to accomplish different objectives. As explained, regional organization plays an important role in enhancing the ability of members to negotiate in the international arena and in facilitating trade, enhancing political stability and promoting security and peace among members. The implications of regional organization on employment relations include facilitation of movement of labour from one state to another, harmonization of labour laws and improved labour relation systems among member states.
4. Compare and contrast the employment relations system of china and India. Argue why some of the challenges of both countries are common and what should they to do to harness their comparative advantages? Use examples to support your arguments.Introduction
The Chinese and Indian employee relation systems display similarities as well as differences. The current employee relations system of China is influenced labour laws that have been amended over the last two and half decades as well as the country’s socialist government. On the other hand, employee relation system of India is largely based on labour legislations that were established during colonial era, with just minimal amendments. Despite the amendments, Both China and India have encountered challenges related to labour relations in the recent years. This section compares employment relations system of china and India and examines common challenges encountered by both countries.
Prior to 1988, the employee relations system of China was rigid to the extent that workers were assigned to organizations involuntarily, like physical inputs of production, by local and regional bureaucrats. However, labour reforms implemented between 1988 and 1992 allowed workers to seek work from organizations freely and gave them rights to form trade unions. Labour Act introduced in 1994 allowed employers to hire and lay off workers, but on reasonable grounds. The act also defined grounds under which an employer may breach a contract of employment, such as financial distress. Additional regulations introduced in 2004 require that the terms and nature of labour contracts be determined through bargaining. The reforms that have been made to the labour laws in China have helped to reduce labour-related disputes that were rampant before. The reduction in labour-related disputes in China has also been attributed to the Chinese communist party which has been active in managing and controlling public reactions.
However, trade unions established in China are not autonomous from the state. The government of China has a strong influence on the country’s affairs, especially due to its sociological ideologies as well as its dominance as the policy maker and employer. This makes it difficult for unions to influence the government. The dominance of state over the unions may be perceived as the major challenge leading to labour-relate disputes in the country. Cases of disputes between employees and managers or employers have been rampant in the last decade, involving issues such as labour contract, wage payment, work injury, and social insurance.
Unlike in China, a number of labour laws that guide labour relations in India today were established prior to independence in 1947. This explains the fact that India is still bound by rigid labour policies. For instance the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 is applied today in India in solving disputes related to matters of wage and terms and conditions of work. However, the Act gives Indian government full discretionary power to intervene in any industrial dispute, whether threatened or actual. It requires employers of more than 100 workers to seek permission from the government before closing down the business and before lying off or retrenching any worker. The problem with the Act is the fact that the government of India has been too conservative in granting permissions for retrench or lay-offs. In 1997, for instance, the government of India received more than sixty applications for layoff and retrenchment but only 6 of them were granted. Thus, the law presents difficulties to employers. Like in China, labour unions in India are not autonomous. In fact, in India, most labour unions are affiliated to specific political parties. Lack of independence makes it difficult for the unions to bargain effectively with regard to the interests of employees. The complexity and divergent nature of labour legislations and the nature of unions in India have been the cause of major labour-related disputes that have been occurring in the country since independence.
In general, both China and India have been facing a major challenge resulting from rampant labour-related disputes, despite the fact that their employee relation systems have undergone through some changes over time. Comparative advantage between the two countries can be attained through minimizing the disputes. This can be achieved if labour unions become completely autonomous and free from government influence and through reforms on labour legislation to allow for more flexibility.
1. Is it to say the international labor organization (ILO) has outlive its usefulness? Critically discuss
ILO was established in 1919 in appreciation of the importance of social justice in securing peace. It was established by United Nations as part of tripartite treaty that marked the end of Worl War II. The institution mostly deals with labour related issues such as decent work and international labour standards. Since its establishment, the key role of ILO has been to register complains against organizations that violate international labour laws and requirements. However, the worldwide involvement, governance structure and strategies of ILO have been put into question recently. It is therefore essential for the organization to reconsider its strategies, governance structure and worldwide involvement in order to remain relevant.
One of the key mandates of ILO is to monitor the compliance of member states to the conventions stated in its constitution. To facilitate compliance, ILO has created a structure through committees and supervisory bodies that ensure applicability of all ratified conventions to legal frameworks of all member countries. Each country is required to submit a report after every two years indicating the measures that it has taken to implement the ratified conventions. It has been argued that ILO’s supervisory system is one of the most rigorous and effective in the UN system. However, concerns have been raised regarding the effectiveness of ILO’s supervision system in the recent years. It has become apparent that the conventions are hardly ratified by the countries. The failure by members to ratify has been attributed to the fact that the compliance recommendations made by the organization’s supervisory system are not legally binding. Nations can choose whether to comply or not. As a result, most members of ILO choose not to ratify the convention and rather, rely on their national labour laws. Clearly, this underscores the significance of ILO in facilitating compliance of governments to international labour laws. ILO requires more effective measures of follow up system in order to facilitate compliance.
ILO governs compliance of core labour standards through social dialogue with members. The organization does not force members to comply with conventions but if they do, they have moral and ethical obligation to comply. In other words, ILO relies on ratification of the conventions and application by countries. However, this strategy has been found not to be viable in countries where governance structures are not well developed. Thus, the strategy may not be applicable in developing countries. Some instruments developed by ILO such as the 1998 Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights of Work provide guidance to developing nations on how to comply with conventions. However, it has been found that the instrument lacks key legal requirements that are present in the conventions. It has been suggested that modification of such information sources to include the legal requirements that are present in the conventions may help to facilitate compliance further.
It should be noted that there is a distinction between ratification and enforcement. A country may ratify some or all conventions contained in ILO’s constitution but fail to enforce them. A few of the countries which ratify the drafted by conventions hardly enforce them. Despite that, ILO lacks a way of measuring level of enforcement of the conventions. It has been proposed that ILO can make tighter connections with international institutions such as World Trade Organization, where the latter would monitor and impose sanctions on countries that fail to comply with the conventions. However, this move has been opposed by the EU and other countries which wish to sustain their own labour laws.
Generally, failure by countries to ratify conventions established, lack of effective mechanism to govern compliance and failure by countries to enforce the conventions through legislation has led scholars to question the usefulness of ILO. Unless governance structure and strategies are changed, the organization will be perceived as being worthless in the future. Improved measurements of follow up system, modifications in information sources and measures that enhance enforcement such as sanctions can help to improve the role played by ILO.