Concept of Industrial Dispute under Industrial Dispute Act,1947

Introduction

An industrial dispute is not at all a good choice.  Outcomes of industrial disputes are   distant reaching, for they disturb the social, economic and political life of a country. In any dispute, stoppage of work due to strike or any other mode resulting in stoppage of work does not affect the employees or the employers of the struck plant, but it affect the whole society or country.

An industrial dispute is defined as a conflict or a distinction in opinion between management and workers regarding employment. It is a clash between an employer and employees representative i.e. trade union. The issue of disagreement is usually pay or other working conditions.

During an industrial dispute, both the parties try to pressurize each other to agree to their terms and conditions. The industrial disruption manifests itself as strikes, lock-outs, gheraos, picketing and indiscipline on the part of workers.

Definition of Industrial Dispute-

According to Section 2(k) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 “industrial dispute” is defined as, “Any disputes 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”.

Causes of Industrial Disputes-

The common causes of industrial disputes are as follows:

  • Psychological Causes:

 (i) Difficulty in adjusting in given conditions or with each other (employee and employer).
(ii) Strict discipline.
(iii) Demand for self-respect and recognition by workers. (iv) Authoritarian leadership (nature of administration).
(iv) Clash of personalities.

Institutional Causes:

(i)Unfair conditions and practices.

(ii)Pressure on workers to avoid participation in trade unions.

(iii) Non recognition of trade/labour union by the management.
(iv) Matters of collective bargaining.

  • Economic Causes:

Terms and conditions of employment.
(a) Working conditions.
(i) Working conditions such as too hot, dusty, too cold, noisy etc.
(ii) Improper plant and work place layout.
(iii) Frequent product design changes etc.
(b) Wages and other benefits.
(i) Inadequate wages.
(ii) Poor fringe benefits.
(iii) No bonus or other incentives etc.

(c) More work hours.
(i) Working in night shifts.
(ii) Disputes on promotions, layoff, retrenchment and dismissal etc.

  • Denial of Legal and other Right of Workers:

 (i) Violation of already made agreements i.e., between employees and employers. (ii) Proceeding against labour laws and regulations.

(ii) Proceeding against labour laws and regulations.

Types of Industrial Disputes-

1. Interest Disputes:

These conflicts are also known as ‘conflicts of interest’ or ‘economic disputes’. Such disputes regard to the establishment of new terms and conditions of employment for the general body workers i.e., that affect the masses. In general, trade union demands or proposals create disputes in various cases like increase in wages or other emoluments, job security, fringe benefits or other terms of employment.

2. Disputes over Unfair Labour Practices:

This type of disputes arises over the malpractices or negligence adopted by the management against a worker or trade union. The examples of such malpractices may be discrimination against workers for their being members of the trade union or their participation in union activities.

 3. Grievance or Rights Disputes:

These disputes are also known as ‘conflicts of rights’ or ‘legal disputes’. They include individual workers or a group of workers in the same group. Such disputes arise between workers and management from their day to day working relations, usually, as a protest by the workers or workers against an act of management that is considered to infringe his or their legitimate right.

4. Recognition Disputes:

This type of disputes arises when the management refused to acknowledge a trade union for purposes of collective bargaining. Issues under this category differ according to the cause that led the management to refuse acknowledgement.

Impacts of Industrial Dispute-

Following impacts of industrial disputes are-

1. Disruption in Production and Services:

The industrial disputes result in huge wastage of work-days and disruption of production work. A strike in public utility concerns like water and electric supply units, railways or roadways, posts and telegraph or telephone’s services, any system of public conservation or sanitation, hospitals, defence establishments etc., disturbs the whole society and throws the economy out of gear.

2. On Employers:

The employers also suffer heavy losses, not only through stoppage of work, reduction in sale and loss of market due to none or short supply of the product, but also in the form of huge expenditure on crushing downs the strikes.

3. On Workers:

The workers are also badly influenced in many ways. They lose their wages for the strike period and sometimes they lose their employment. They have to incur debts to meet their daily expenses.

4. On Society/Public:

The society too, is not spared. Industrial disruption creates law and order problem, discontinue a huge additional expenditures out of public exchequer.

5. On National Economy:

The industrial disputes also affect the national economy unfavourably when labour and equipment in the whole or any- part of the industry are rendered idle by strike or lock-out, national dividend (income) suffers a lot.

The machinery for settlement of disputes consists of several bodies which are:

1. Establishment of Works Committees:

In every industry which employing 100 or more workers, it is necessary to establish a works committee at the plant level to promote the measures for securing and preserving unity and good relations between the parties. There are equal number of representatives of workers and employer on the committee.

2. Grievance Settlement Authority:

The Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Act 1982 has provided for the setting up of a Grievance Settlement Authority and for reference of certain individual disputes to such authorities.

3. Conciliation Officer:      

A conciliation officer is appointed by the Central or State Government for a particular region or industries in the state. The primary duty of these officers is to bring the two parties together and help them solve their differences. He should take decision within 14 days or such period as extended by the State Government from the date of registration of dispute.

4. Court of Inquiry:

Where an industrial dispute remains unsettle by the efforts of conciliation officer and the board of conciliation, the matter is assigned to a court of inquiry. The court may consist of one or more independent persons. It will investigate the whole dispute and submit its report to the Government on the matters assigned to it ordinarily within 6 months from the date of commencement of inquiry.

5. Conciliation Board:

In case, the conciliation officer fails to resolve the dispute, the Government appoints a board of conciliation on adhoc basis for a particular dispute consisting of a Chairman and two to four persons representing the employer and the employees to bring the parties of disputes to sit together and thrash out their differences as referred to by the Government.

6. Labour Courts:

These types of  courts have been set up by the State Governments to go into the disputed orders of the employers dismissal, suspension and discharge of employees by the management, legality or otherwise of any order passed by an employer under the standing orders, withdrawal of any concession or privilege, legality or otherwise or any strike or lock-out etc. These courts will award decision and send report to the Government.

7. Industrial Tribunals:

The State Government has been empowered to appoint as many industrial tribunals as it thinks  fit, for the settlement of disputes selecting to wages, hours of work and rest, intervals, provident fund,  leave with pay, compensatory and other allowances, bonus, profit sharing, holidays, gratuity, discipline, retrenchments closure of establishment etc. The tribunal will consist of a person of the rank of a high court judge. The decision of these tribunals is binding on both the parties.

8. National Tribunal:

Such tribunals are set up by the Central Government for the settlement of industrial dispute which involve questions of national importance or which affect industrial establishments situated in more than one state. It gives decisions on matters referred to it by the Central Government.

Conclusion

Industrial dispute means dispute between employer and workman. To settle the disputes between employers and workmen, machinery for settlement is provided under the provisions of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947. This Act ensures peace and harmony among all the industrial establishments, and if any conflict arises, the provisions in the Industrial Disputes Act helps in solving the issue in a systematic manner in which all the parties are satisfied and every decision made is fair and just.

References

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