various methods and machinery under the industrial disputes act can be
classified as under the following heads:
is a form of mediation. Mediation is the act of making active effort to bring
two conflicting parties to compromise. Mediation, however, differs from
conciliation in that whereas conciliator plays only a passive and indirect
role, and the scope of his functions is provided under the law, the mediator
takes active part and the scope of his activities are not subject to any
is the ―practice by which the services of a neutral 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 of agreed solution.‖
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 provides for conciliation, and can be utilised
either by appointing conciliation officers (permanently or for a limited
period) or by constituting a board of conciliation. This conciliation machinery
can take a note of a dispute or apprehend dispute either on its own or when
approached by either party.
view to expediting conciliation proceeding, time-limits have been prescribed—
14 days in the case of conciliation officers and two months in the case of a
board of conciliation, settlement arrived at in the course of conciliation is
binding for such period as may be agreed upon between the parties or for a
period of 6 months and with continue to be binding until revoked by either
party. The Act prohibits strike and lock-out during the pendency of
conciliation proceedings before a Board and for seven days after the conclusion
of such proceedings.
provides for the appointment of Conciliation Officer by the Government to
conciliate between the parties to the industrial dispute. The Conciliation
Officer is given the powers of a civil court, whereby he is authorised to call
the witness the parties on oath. It should be remembered, however, whereas
civil court cannot go beyond interpreting the laws, the conciliation officer
can go behind the facts and make judgment which will be binding upon the
receiving information about a dispute, the conciliation officer should give
formal intimation in writing to the parties concerned of his intention to commence
conciliation proceedings from a specified date. He should then start doing all
such things as he thinks fit for the purpose of persuading the parties to come
to fair and amicable settlement of the dispute.
is an art where the skill, tact, imagination and even personal influence of the
conciliation officer affect his success. The Industrial Disputes Act,
therefore, does not prescribe any procedure to the followed by him.
conciliation officer is required to submit his report to the appropriate
government along with the copy of the settlement arrived at in relation to the
dispute or in case conciliation has failed, he has to send a detailed report
giving out the reasons for failure of conciliation.
report in either case must be submitted within 14 days of the commencement of
conciliation proceedings or earlier. But the time for submission of the report
may be extended by an agreement in writing of all the parties to the dispute
subject to the approval of the conciliation officer.
agreement is reached (called the memorandum of settlement), it remains binding
for such period as is agreed upon by the parties, and if no such period is
agreed upon, for a period of six months from the date on which the memorandum
of settlement is signed by the parties to the dispute, and continues to be
binding on the parties after the expiry of the period aforesaid, until the
expiry of two months from the date on which a notice in writing of an intention
to terminate the settlement is given by one of the party or parties to the
Conciliation Officer fails to resolve the differences between the parties, the
government has the discretion to appoint a Board of Conciliation. The Board is
tripartite and ad hoc body. It consists of a chairman and two or four other
chairman is to be an independent person and other members are nominated in
equal number by the parties to the dispute. Conciliation proceedings before a
Board are similar to those that take place before the Conciliation Officer. The
Government has yet another option of referring the dispute to the Court of
Inquiry instead of the Board of Conciliation.
machinery of the Board is set in motion when a dispute is referred to it. In
other words, the Board does not hold the conciliation proceedings of its own
accord. On the dispute being referred to the Board, it is the duty of the Board
to do all things as it thinks fit for the purpose of inducing the parties to
come to a fair and amicable settlement. The Board must submit its report to the
government within two months of the date on which the dispute was referred to
it. This period can be further extended by the government by two months.
2. Court of Inquiry:
of the failure of the conciliation proceedings to settle a dispute, the
government can appoint a Court of Inquiry to enquire into any matter connected
with or relevant to industrial dispute. The court is expected to submit its
report within six months. The court of enquiry may consist of one or more
persons to be decided by the appropriate government.
of enquiry is required to submit its report within a period of six months from
the commencement of enquiry. This report is subsequently published by the
government within 30 days of its receipt. Unlike during the period of
conciliation, workers‘ right to strike, employers‘ right to lockout, and
employers‘ right to dismiss workmen, etc. remain unaffected during the
proceedings in a court to enquiry.
of enquiry is different from a Board of Conciliation. The former aims at
inquiring into and revealing the causes of an industrial dispute. On the other
hand, the latter‘s basic objective is to promote the settlement of an
industrial dispute. Thus, a court of enquiry is primarily fact-finding
failure of conciliation proceedings, the conciliation officer many persuade the
parties to refer the dispute to a voluntary arbitrator. Voluntary arbitration
refers to getting the disputes settled through an independent person chosen by
the parties involved mutually and voluntarily.
words, arbitration offers an opportunity for a solution of the dispute through
an arbitrator jointly appointed by the parties to the dispute. The process of
arbitration saves time and money of both the parties which is usually wasted in
case of adjudication.
arbitration became popular as a method a settling differences between workers
and management with the advocacy of Mahatma Gandhi, who had applied it very successfully
in the Textile industry of Ahmedabad. However, voluntary arbitration was lent
legal identity only in 1956 when Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 was amended to
include a provision relating to it.
provision for voluntary arbitration was made because of the lengthy legal
proceedings and formalities and resulting delays involved in adjudication. It
may, however, be noted that arbitrator is not vested with any judicial powers.
derives his powers to settle the dispute from the agreement that parties have
made between themselves regarding the reference of dispute to the arbitrator.
The arbitrator should submit his award to the government. The government will
then publish it within 30 days of such submission. The award would become
enforceable on the expiry of 30 days of its publication.
arbitration is one of the democratic ways for setting industrial disputes. It
is the best method for resolving industrial conflicts and is a close‘
supplement to collective bargaining. It not only provides a voluntary method of
settling industrial disputes, but is also a quicker way of settling them.
based on the notion of self-government in industrial relations. Furthermore, it
helps to curtail the protracted proceedings attendant on adjudication, connotes
a healthy attitude and a developed outlook; assists in strengthening the trade
union movement and contributes for building up sound and cordial industrial
ultimate remedy for the settlement of an industrial dispute is its reference to
adjudication by labour court or tribunals when conciliation machinery fails to
bring about a settlement. Adjudication consists of settling disputes through
intervention by the third party appointed by the government. The law provides
the adjudication to be conducted by the Labour Court, Industrial Tribunal of
can be referred to adjudication if hot the employer and the recognised union
agree to do so. A dispute can also be referred to adjudication by the Government
even if there is no consent of the parties in which case it is called
mentioned above, the dispute can be referred to three types of tribunals
depending on the nature and facts of dispute in questions.
procedure, powers, and provisions regarding commencement of award and period of
operation of award of these three bodies are similar. The first two bodies can
be set up either by State or Central Government but the national tribunal can
be constituted by the Central Government only, when it thinks that the
adjudication of a dispute is of national importance. These three bodies are
into hierarchical in nature. It is the
prerogative to refer a dispute to any of these bodies depending on the nature
court consists of one person only, who is normally a sitting or an ex-judge of
a High Court. It may be constituted by the appropriate Government for
adjudication of disputes which are mentioned in the second schedule of the Act.
The issues referred to a labour court may include:
propriety or legality of an order passed by an employer under the Standing
application and interpretation of Standing Orders.
and dismissal of workmen and grant of relief to them.
of any statutory concession or privilege.
or otherwise of any strike or lockout.
matters not specified in the third schedule of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
(It deals with the jurisdiction of Industrial Tribunals).
labour court, an industrial tribunal is also a one-man body. The matters which
fall within the jurisdiction of industrial tribunals are as mentioned in the
second schedule or the third schedule of the Act. Obviously, industrial
tribunals have wider jurisdiction than the labour courts.
an industrial tribunal, in addition to the presiding officer, can have two
assessors to advise him in the proceedings; the appropriate Government is
empowered to appoint the assessors.
The Industrial Tribunal may be referred the
including the period and mode of payment.
and other allowances.
3. Hours of
work and rest intervals.
with wages and holidays.
profit sharing, provident fund and gratuity.
working otherwise than in accordance with the standing orders.
7. Rule of
Any other matter that may be prescribed.
Central Government may constitute a national tribunal for adjudication of
disputes as mentioned in the second and third schedules of the Act or any other
matter not mentioned therein provided in its opinion the industrial dispute
involves ―questions of national importance‖ or ―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‖.
Central Government may appoint two assessors to assist the national tribunal.
The award of the tribunal is to be submitted to the Central Government which
has the power to modify or reject it if it considers it necessary in public
be noted that every award of a Labour Court, Industrial Tribunal or National
Tribunal must be published by the appropriate Government within 30 days from
the date of its receipt. Unless declared otherwise by the appropriate
government, every award shall come into force on the expiry of 30 days from the
date of its publication and shall remain in operation for a period of one year