The concept of labour has been changing in accordance with the ideology dominating the particular time period.
1] The commodity concept of labour – Labour was considered as a commodity since its price ie wages was decided by the law of demand and supply.[The declaration of Philadelphia in the 26th session of ILO on 10th may 1944 declared that labour was not a commodity].
2] The machinery concept of labour – According to this concept the employers considered workman as operating organisms/beings in an industrial undertaking similar to complex machines. Therefore they developed an impersonal attitude to labour.
3] The goodwill concept of labour – Subsequently came the realization that the working and living conditions influenced the commitment and efficiency of labour, therefore the goodwill concept of labour developed where the employer had a paternalistic approach to labour. The workers, however were suspicious thinking that the employers had some “ulterior motive”.
4] Humanitarian concept of labour – Humanitarian concept of labour emerged and was based on the recognition of certain “inalienable rights” of workers as human beings and should be treated accordingly and with dignity.
5] The citizenship phase – Today workers are looked upon as industrial citizens with a right to be consulted about the terms and conditions of their work.
This led to
6] The concept of industrial democracy – which implies self-government in the employer – employee relationship.
Every concept of labour has an element of truth in it