This article throws light upon the top fifteen welfare measures for workers. Some of the measures are: 1. Hours of Work and Adequate Wages 2. To Avoid Industrial Fatigue and Rest Pauses 3. To Avoid Accident and Safety Precautions 4. Fire Protection 5. Lighting and Ventilation 6. Labour Discontent 7. Industrial Housing 8. Transport 9. Education 10. Lunch Rooms and Cafeteria 11. Rest Rooms and Others.
Welfare Measure # 1. Hours of Work and Adequate Wages:
Some conflicts can arise between the employer and the workers in connection with reduction of working hours. It is true that long working hours affect the period of rest and sleep and results in exhaustion, physical and mental strain, which lead to illness. Therefore, the working hours should be reasonable.
Shorter hours of working increase the productive efficiency of the workers. But reduction of working hours cannot be encouraged below the limit where the total output is affected. The employer will pay wages in relation to the total output. Reduced output means lower wages and lower standard of living for workers.
Works committees and the welfare department can serve, as a happy medium for solution of such problems by mutual discussions.
Welfare Measure # 2. To Avoid Industrial Fatigue and Rest Pauses:
Fatigue injures health of workers and causes inefficiency and reduction in output. If not relieved by timely rest pauses, it would cause loss of concentration, reduce in muscular control and adversely affect the functioning of the eyes and ears and thus result in greater chances of accidents.
Rest pauses serve the most useful purpose of avoiding harmful effect to strain and fatigue. Therefore, adequate rest pauses must be introduced for the factory workers at the proper intervals.
Welfare Measure # 3. To Avoid Accident and Safety Precautions:
Safety measures to prevent accident are necessary in the interest of workers as well as employers.
Some of the safety measures are:
(i) At places of dangers, mechanical safeguards and safety devices should be provided.
(ii) Protective clothing should be supplied to the workers to avoid accidents due to loose dresses.
(iii) Many accidents take place due to over-crowding of working space. Therefore, there should be reasonable and safe distance between the machines.
(iv) The safety devices should be checked from time to time and defects in them should be removed before the actual failure. These will greatly help in avoiding accidents.
Welfare Measure # 4. Fire Protection:
For protection against fire, the factory building should be fire proof. Fire alarms and fire extinguishers should be installed at proper places and regular fire drills should be held, so that, in case of emergency, every person in the factory must know what to do. Special exits and stairs should be provided in case of fire.
Welfare Measure # 5. Lighting and Ventilation:
Bad lighting can cause accidents and affect the performance of workers. Therefore, the lighting systems in the factory should be carefully designed.
Good ventilation will result in the supply of constant fresh air and maintain even and bearable temperature in the workshops. Artificial cooling of hot air during summer providing ‘Khas Parda’ or desert cooler can go a long way in increasing the efficiency and output of the workers.
Welfare Measure # 6. Labour Discontent:
To eliminate labour discontent, following points may be noted:
The workers should be allowed to have a free expression of their grievances. Their complaints should be given due consideration, underground discontentment results a spirit of revolt and it becomes more difficult to solve the problem at a delayed stage. Once the grievances are known, these should be settled in just and fair manner.
Welfare Measure # 7. Industrial Housing:
Over-crowding of labour in unhealthy and insanitary surrounding is considered as one of the evils of the factory system, which affects health and efficiency of workers.
Industrialists should try to construct their own cottages in the vicinity of the works and rent these to their workers. The sanitation and supervision of such colonies should be the responsibility of the employer.
This will greatly improve the relations between the employer and the workers.
Welfare Measure # 8. Transport:
Where the workers live far away from working sites and ordinary means of transport are not available at cheap rates, the employers should provide buses to carry the workers, who have to walk for long distance in order to reach their factory. The unnecessary strain on walking reflects on the efficiency of his work and output.
Welfare Measure # 9. Education:
The welfare department should include among their activities, the education of adults, and the children of workers. The workers must be encouraged to attend these classes and to send their children to schools, run by the employer. Some major industrial concerns have provided these facilities.
Welfare Measure # 10. Lunch Rooms and Cafeteria:
Where the housing accommodation is far away from the works, and the workers cannot go home and return in time during recess hours, they should be provided mess facilities inside the factory area for supply of cheap wholesome and well- cooked mid-day meals to workers.
The food should be provided at actual cost and the activities should be controlled and managed by the works committee under the guidance of welfare workers. Some concerns provide meals etc., at subsidised rates.
Welfare Measure # 11. Rest Rooms:
Properly equipped rest rooms should be provided away from the noise and dirty atmosphere of the factory for providing an opportunity to the workers to relax and restore their energy during the rest time. These rooms should be well ventilated, bright and provided with adequate sanitation.
Welfare Measure # 12. Medical Service:
Good health of workers would mean better output and more profits for the employer. It is, therefore, considered as the responsibility of the employer both from business and humanitarian point of view. The medical service is considered as the activity of the welfare department.
Free medical aid should be provided to the sick workers. It would be desirable to maintain a hospital with a few beds in the charge of a fully qualified medical officer and to provide a well-equipped dispensary, and first-aid appliances. A fulltime nurse can be very helpful in cases of accidents and other things, where the patients are admitted in the hospital.
Welfare Measure # 13. Sport and Games:
Games and sports ensure robust health and feeling of brother-hood among the workers.
Provision of rest rooms and indoor games can be enjoyed by the workers during mid-day intervals. Subordinate and higher officials can come in contact with the workers. This develops cooperation and cordial relations amongst them and reduces the industrial disputes. They will learn to respect each other.
Welfare Measure # 14. Financial Assistance:
As the workers often need money for discharging their family obligations and them generally do not have a reserve to fall back upon at such emergency.
Hence following welfare schemes should be made to help the workers to improve their economic securities to protect them from continued financial worries:
(i) Savings Deposits.
(ii) Co-operative Savings and Loan assistance.
(iii) Mutual Benefit Schemes.
(iv) Pension Fund.
(v) Provident Fund.
(vi) Home Ownership Scheme.
(vii) Group Insurance.
(viii) Employer’s Co-operative Stores.
These schemes can serve in the interest of the workers to a large extent and bind them with loyalty to the employer.
Welfare Measure # 15. Other Activities:
Among other activities of the welfare department, a few more can be added, such as:
(i) Training and care of young recruits.
(ii) Work Library.
(iii) Work Magazines.
(iv) Annual outings.
(v) Sports competition.
(vi) Relief fund for families of workers in difficulties.
(vii) Conduct of enquiries into wrongful dismissals.
(viii) Special facilities for women and young person are working in the factory.
(ix) Sickness and accident insurance.
An example of better welfare facilities provided by a big industrial concern is as follows:
Meals and snacks are served to the employees at subsidised rates.
Free medical aid available to all employees, their families and dependent parents at the modern hospital and dispensaries located in different parts of the township of the concern.
Spread over a big area with 2200 residential houses, the township is equipped with all modern amenities including schools for nursery to higher secondary, shopping centres, community centres, play grounds, clubs, post and telegraph office, banks, auditorium, cinema hall etc.