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Industrial Disputes

What are Industrial Disputes?

 Industrial Dispute means any dispute

or differences between employers and employers or between employers and workmen or between workmen and workmen which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of labour of any person

What are the different categories of Industrial Disputes?

The Second Schedule of the I.D. Act deals with matters within the jurisdiction of Labour Courts which fall under the category of Rights Disputes.

 The propriety or legality of an order passed

by an employer under the standing orders;

 The application and interpretation of standing

orders which regulate conditions of employment.

 Discharge or dismissal of workmen including

reinstatement of, or grant of relief to workmen wrongfully dismissed;

 Withdrawal of any customary concession or

 Illegality or otherwise of a strike or lock-out;  All matters other than those specified in the

Third Schedule.

The Third Schedule of the I.D. Act deals with matters within the jurisdiction of Industrial Tribunals which could be classified as Interest Disputes.

These are :

Wages, including the period and mode of payment; Compensatory and other allowances; Hours of work and rest intervals; Leave with wages and holidays; Bonus, profit sharing, provident fund and gratuity; Shift working otherwise than in accordance with standing orders; Classification by grades; Rules of discipline; Rationalization; Retrenchment of workmen and closure of establishment; and Any other matter that may be prescribed.

Who can raise an Industrial Dispute?

 Any person who is a workman employed in

an industry can raise an industrial dispute.  A workman includes any person (including an apprentice) employed in an industry to do manual, unskilled, skilled, technical, operational, clerical or supervisory work for hire or reward.  It excludes those employed in managerial or administrative capacity.  Industry means any business, trade, undertaking, manufacture and includes any service, employment, handicraft, or industrial occupation or avocation of workmen.

How to raise an Industrial Dispute?

 A workman can raise a dispute directly

before a Conciliation Officer in the case of discharge, dismissal, retrenchment or any form of termination of service. In all other cases listed above, the dispute has to be raised by a Union / Management.

Who are Conciliation Officers

Organization of the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) acts as the primary conciliatory agency in the Central Government for industrial disputes.  There are the Regional Labour Commissioners (Central) and Assistant Labour Commissioners (Central) who act as Conciliatory Officers in different parts of the country.

what do they do?

 The Conciliation Officer make efforts to

resolve the dispute through settlement between the workmen and the management.


 The ID Act, 1947 provides for the adequate machinery for amicable settlement of disputes. Several authorities are named for purpose of investigation and settlement of disputes. They are: Works committee Conciliation Officer Board of Conciliation Court of Enquiry Arbitration (Voluntary) Labour Court Compulsory Arbitration or Industrial Tribunals adjudication National Tribunals

 CONCILIATION: Conciliation can be defined as the

practice by which the services of a neutral third party are used in a dispute as a means of helping the disputing parties to reduce the extent of their differences and to arrive at an amicable settlement or agreed solutions.
 BOARD OF CONCILIATION: It consists of equal

number of representatives of employers and employees and an independent chairman, who is selected and appointed by the government.

 COURT OF ENQUIRY: A court of enquiry is another set up by

the govt. under ID Act, for enquiring into any matter connected with a dispute. It is meant for voluntary settlement of disputes. It consists of one or more members, which is decided by the appropriate govt. A CoE has to submit its report within 6 months from the commencement of its enquiry.
 ARBITRATION: Arbitration is different from conciliation in the

following aspects: Its decision is binding on the parties the arbitrator gives his judgment on the basis of the evidence submitted by the employers and employees


Arbitration is either voluntary or compulsory. In the former process, both the parties show willingness to go to an arbitrator and submit to his decision. In the latter the parties are forced to arbitration by the power of the State. This is also called Adjudication.

 Voluntary arbitration implies that the two contending parties,

unable to compose their differences by themselves or with the help of the mediator or conciliator, agree to submit the conflict/dispute between them to be resolved by an impartial authority, whose decision they are ready to accept. In others words, under voluntary arbitration, the parties to the dispute can and do themselves refer voluntarily any dispute to arbitration before it is referred for adjudication. This type of reference is known as a voluntary reference, for the parities volunteer themselves to come to a settlement through an arbitration machinery.

 Compulsory arbitration, on the other hand, is one where the parties

are required to arbitrate without any willingness on their part. When one of he parties to an industrial dispute feels aggrieved by an act of the other, it may apply to the appropriate government to refer the dispute to an adjudication machinery. Such reference of a dispute is known as 'compulsory' or 'involuntary' reference, because reference in such circumstances does not depend on the sweet will of both the contending parties or any party to the dispute. It is entirely the discretion based substantially upon objective text of the appropriate Government on the question of existing or apprehending industrial dispute in a particular establishment.


compulsory arbitration, the parties are forced to arbitration by the State when: (i) the parties fail to arrive at a settlement by voluntary method; or (ii) when there is a national emergency which requires that wheels of production should not be obstructed by frequent work-stoppages; or (iii) the country is passing through grave economic crisis; or (iv) there is a grave public dissatisfaction with the existing industrial relations; or (v) when industries of strategic importance are involved, or (vi) parties are ill balanced, i.e, where the unions are weak, illorganised, and powerless and the means of production are in the hands of the capitalists who are well-organised and more powerful; or (vii) where public interest and the working conditions are desired to be safeguarded that regulated by the state. Compulsory arbitration leaves no scope for strikes and lock-outs and thus deprives both the parties of their very important and fundamental rights.

 LABOUR COURT: This is one of he adjudicatory

bodies provided by the ID Act. LC consists of one person only, who is also called the Presiding Officer, and who is or has been a judge of a High Court.
 INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNALS: This is also a one-man

body. The ID act (Third Schedule) mentions matters which fall within the jurisdiction of the Industrial Tribunal. IT can have two assessors to advise in the proceedings and the appropriate govt. is empowered to appoint the assessors.

 NATIONAL TRIBUNAL: It can deal with any matter

specified in schedule I and II of the Act or any matter which is not specified therein. The Central Govt. only is empowered to constitute this body, if in its opinion: the industrial dispute on hand involves questions of national importance the industrial dispute is of such a nature that undertakings established in more than one state are likely to be affected by such a dispute

What happens when the dispute is referred to Labour Court?

 After the matter is referred to any of the

Labour Court, the adjudication process begins. At the end of the proceedings an Award is given by the Presiding Officer.
 The Ministry of Labour under Section 17 of

the I.D. Act publishes the Award in the Official Gazette within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of the Award.

How is the Award implemented?

 An Award becomes enforceable on the expiry

of 30 days from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

 The Regional Labour Commissioner is the

implementing authority of the Awards.

Does the workman have the Right to go on strike with proper notice in Public Utility Services?
 No person employed in a Public Utility

Service can go on strike without giving to the employer notice of strike;  Within 6 weeks before striking.  Within 14 days of giving such notice.  Before the expiry of the date of strike specified in such notice.  During the pendency of any conciliation proceedings before a Conciliation Officer and 7 days after the conclusion of such proceedings.

Does the Employer have the right to lock out any Public Utility Service?
 No employer carrying on any Public Utility service    

can lockout any of his workman : Without giving to them notice of lockout provided within 6 weeks before locking out. Within 14 days of giving such notice. Before expiry of the date of lockout specified in any such notice. During the pendency of any conciliation proceedings before a Conciliation Officer and 7 days after the conclusion of such proceedings.