Marxist Perspective of Industrial Relations

The Marxists perspective  of industrial relations is one based on conflict. Industrial and employee relations can only be understood as part of a broader analysis of (capitalist) society. In contrast to any implicit or explicit assumptions about a balance of power in the industry, Marxists emphasize the asymmetry of power between the employer and employee. Marxists see the role of employees as sellers of their labor and employers as exploiters of that labor. The whole Marxist perspective  of industrial relations is based on the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and how the bourgeoisie have with the help of capitalism kept the proletariat down. The different firms in an organisation are a reflection of society and the class divide. Marxist believe there are structured inequalities within organisations that are there to maintain the status quo and that any worker resistance is systematically suppressed by the powers of the state.

The Marxist perspective  of industrial relations is broader in scope and it also emphases the importance of collective action and organisation explained in terms of mobilization theory. When the Marxist perspective beliefs change, the organisation and society will change. Marxist main discuss the capital society deeply and its production, distribution and exchange system. This perspective is not only analysis industrial relations in organisational job regulation terms, but also discuss industrial relations in social, political and economic terms.

For marxist perspective, it is argued the capitalist system’s weakness and contradiction which can lead to revolution and the ascendancy of socialism over capitalism. According to this perspective, capitalism would encourage monopolies, and at the same time, wages will decrease at minimum standard of living. Capitalists and workers would compete in contention to win ground and establish their constant win-lose struggles would be evident.

According to the Marxist perspective of industrial relations, the economic inequalities are exist in wider social conflict, more specifically within the industrial relations arena and industrial conflict. There are some certain assumptions which are based on the Marxist perspective. First one is society changing can lead to class conflict, if without this conflict, the society would stop following. Secondly, the inequalities cause class conflict arise in the distribution of economic power in society. Thirdly, the basic economic inequality is between who own capital and who supply and sell their labor. Fourth one is the nature of social and political institutions is derived from this basic economic inequality. Selective recruitment maintained and reinforced inequality and differential access education, government employment and other establishment institutions.

Based on the Marxist perceptive of industrial relations, the conflict is structural and necessary. There is a example which is industrial conflict for Marxist perspective. Industrial conflict always show itself in strikes and other forms of collective action of striking such as working to rule, go-slows and so on. Because of imbalance and division, industrial conflict is continuous and inescapable, and closely associated with political and social conflict. Conflict is therefore seen as inevitable and trade unions are a natural response of workers to their exploitation by capital. Through reducing competition between individual employees, trade unions can enhance their collective industrial power. Trade unions provide a focus for the expression and protection of working classes interests. At the same time, the trade unions are part of political process which can change in the nature of main economic and social systems.

The interests of the employees conflict with the employer, even the managers who perceive themselves as ‘higher up’ than the workers and identify with the employers in fact they seen in the same light as the workers at the bottom Marxists believe. Trade unions are seen as a product of class conflict and are locked in ‘antagonistic co-operation’ (Hyman) with capitalism. There is little need for order within the Marxist perspective as the conflict is structural and is necessary to that end they believe conflict and constant and is inherent within the employee relationship, more so than the Pluralists. They see conflict as endemic and ultimately inevitable and any type of management, team working or resolution of hostilities is just a temporary fix. Ultimately Marxists believe the only way resolve the conflict would be the abolition of capitalism. The Marxist view on the state is that it is an agent of capitalism and acts in it’s interest, as the organisations who are profitable are good for the economy as they are paying taxes and as long as they are doing that they maintain the status quo and the state will not want to change anything for fears of a revolution.

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