Apprentice vs. Workman' in Industry- A Managerial Dilemma


Narendra Y. Phadnis


The Case relates to HRM & Labour Law domain concerning Legal & HR aspects of status of an Industrial Apprentice Vis-í -vis an Industrial Employee (i.e. Workman) in Indian Organizations & entitlements or otherwise to various labour law benefits etc. The law & practice of engaging & training Industrial Apprentices is very much prevalent in Indian Industry particularly the manufacturing sector. Engaging, Training & Managing apprentices in industry is a challenging task of Manager's job profile and the issue(s) relating the legal status of an apprentice vis-í -vis a workman is complex & lacks clarity leading to Managerial Dilemma.

One of the key indicators of healthy Industrial Relations (IR) or Employee Relations (ER) is absence of disputes or grievances between two major partners in Industry i.e. Labour & Management. Cordial, smooth, peaceful and harmonious Industrial Relations (IR) in turn is one of the most vital prerequisite for the success of an industry contributing towards the growth of an economy & national prosperity. The issue relating to legal status of an employee in an industrial organization is an important determinant indicating the state of industrial relations in an organization. The legal status of human resource in an industrial organization i.e.  Whether an employee is a workman or a trainee workman (i.e. an apprentice) is a very crucial aspect and a sensitive issue in managing people and in particular handling employee relations in an organization and hence is an important facet of human resource management since it has legal & other HR-IR implications. The subject matter of this case is one such areas having bearing upon the IR/ER in industry in India.

The Case intends to teach the legal and HR related issues & implications relating to the subject matter & valuable learning's for business & corporate managers can be drawn to make efficient & hassle free use the apprentices in their organization and to avoid IR issues, disputes, litigations & controversies relating to the status of an employee (entailed to most of the labour law benefits) vis-í -vis an apprentice (not entitled to most of the labour law benefits). The case aims at clarifying a managerial dilemma about the subject matter.