The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 Preliminary




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(3) Go-slow strike: In a 'Go Slow' strike, the .workmen do not stay away from work, they do come to their work and work also, but with a slow speed in order to lower down production, and thereby cause loss to the employer.

In addition to these three forms of strike a few more may be cited, although some of them are not strike within the meaning of Sub-Section 2(q). Such forms are:



(i) Sympathetic strike: A sympathetic strike is resorted to in sympathy of other striking workmen. Its aim is to encourage or to extend moral support to or indirectly to aid the striking workmen. The sympathisers resorting to such strike have no demand of grievance of their own.

(ii) Hunger strike: In hunger strike, a group of workmen resort to fasting on or near the place of work or the residence of the employer with a view to coerce the employer to accept their demands.

(iii) Work to rule : The employers in this case of "work to rule" strictly adhere to rules while performing their duties which ordinarily they do not observe. This causes the slowing down the tempo of work. It is not a strike because there is no stoppage of work at all.

(qq) Trade Union: Means a trade union registered under the Trade Union

Act, 1926.



(r) Tribunal: Tribunal means an Industrial Tribunal constituted under Sec.

7 -A of the Act. It also includes an Industrial Tribunal constituted before 10th March, 1957 under this Act.



(ra) Unfair labour practice: It means any of the practices specified in the

Fifth Schedule.



. (rb) Village Industries: It has the meaning assigned to it in clause (h) of

Sec.2 of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act, 1956.



(rr) Wages: It means all remuneration capable of being expressed in terms of money, which would, if the terms of payment, expressed or implied were fulfilled, be payable to a workman in respect of his employment or of work done in such employment. Wages also includes(i) dearness allowance as the workmen is for the time being entitled to; (ii) the value of any house accommodation, or of the supply of light, water, medical benefits or any concessional, supply of food grains or other articles; (iii) any travelling concession; (iv) any commission payable on sales promotion or business, or both.

However, the following are not wages:- (a) any bonus; (b) any contribution paid or payable by the employer to any pension fund or provident fund., (c) any gratuity payable on the termination of service of workman.



(s) Workman: 'Workman" means any person (including an apprentice) employed in any industry to do any manual, unskilled, skilled, technical, operational, clerical or supervisory work for hire or reward, whether the terms of employment be express or implied, .and for the purpose of any proceeding under this Act. .

"Workman" does not include any such person - (i) who is subject to the Air Force Act, 1950, or the Army Act, 1950, or the Navy Act, 1957, or (ii) who is employed in the Police Service or as an officer or other employee of a prison, or (iii) who is employed mainly in a managerial or administrative capacity, or (iv) who, being employed in a supervisory

capacity, draws wages exceeding Rs. 1600/- per mensem, or exercises functions mainly of management nature.

Difference between workman and independent contractor:

(1) For any person to be a workman, it is necessary that he should be in the employment of an employer. Merely a contract to do some work is not enough to be called as worker.

(2) Relationship of master and servant must be implied in the term of "employed" as a workman. In the absence of such a relationship one cannot be admitted or established as a workman.

Authorities under the ACT

Power and Duties

The adjudication of industrial disputes has been kept out of the jurisdiction of Municipal Courts at the first instance so that effort may be made for settlement of such disputes through some other agencies. The various modes of settlement of industrial disputes provided by the Act. may be classified under three heads: (1) Conciliation (2) Adjudication and (3) Arbitration

Authorities make use of conciliation

The authorities that make use of conciliation on the sole method of settlement of disputes are:

(1) Works Committee

. (2) Conciliation Officer

(3) Board of Conciliation

The adjudicating authorities that decide any dispute under the Act. are:

(1) Court of Inquiry

(2) The Labour Court

(3) Industrial Tribunal;

(4) National Tribunal, and

Sec. 10-A of the Act. makes provision for voluntary reference of disputes to arbitration. Apart from the above, provision has also been made for constitution of Court of Inquiry, whose main function is inquire into any matter appearing to be connected with or relevant to an industrial dispute

1. Work committee (Sec.3)

The works committee is considered to be powerful social institution only to secure cooperation between workers and employers, but to make the will of the employees effective on the management. According to sec.3 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 194"1, in the case of an industrial establishment in which 100 or more workmen are employed or have been employed oh any day in the preceding 12 months, the appropriate Government may, by general or special order, require the employer to constitute a Works committee consisting of representatives of employers and workmen engaged in the establishment. The number of representatives of workmen on Works Committee shall be not being less than that of the representatives of the employers.

The representatives of the workmen shall be chosen from among the workmen in consultation with their trade union, if any registered under the Indian Trade Union Act.1926. .

The duties of the Works Committee are to promote measures for securing and preserving amity and good relations between the employers and workmen and to comment upon matters of their interest or concern and to endeavour to compose any material difference of opinion in respect of matters of common intents or concern of employers and workmen.



2. Conciliation Officers (Sec.4)

The appropriate Government may by notification in the official gazette, interest appoint conciliation officers for any specified area or for one or more specified industries, either permanently or for a limited period of time. Conciliation officers are charged with the duty of holding conciliatory proceedings for the purpose of bringing about a fair and amicable settlement of any industrial dispute. The jurisdiction, powers and other matters in respect of the Conciliation Officer ~hall be published in the Gazette



Powers of Conciliation Officer: According to Sec.11 of the Act, conciliation officer may, for the purpose of inquiry into any existing or apprehended industrial dispute, after giving reasonable notice, enter the premises occupied by any establishment which the dispute relates. He may call for and inspect any document which he has ground for considering to be relevant to the industrial dispute or be necessary for the purpose of verifying the implementation of any award or carrying out any duty imposed on him under the Act. and for the aforesaid purposes. He will have the same powers as one vested in a Civil Court, in respect of compelling the production of documents.

Under Sec 11(6), Conciliation Officers are members of Board or Court and the Presiding Officer of Labour Court Tribunal or National Tribunal shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of Sec.21 of IPC.



Duties of Conciliation Officers (sec.12):

For the purpose of bringing about fair and amicable settlement of an industrial dispute, the Conciliation Officer is required to discharge the following duties- .

(1) where any industrial dispute exists or is apprehended, the Conciliation Officer, shall hold conciliation proceedings. He will interview both the workmen concerned with the dispute and endeavour to bring about a settlement.

(2) The conciliation Officer shall, for the purpose of bringing about a settlement of the dispute, investigate the dispute and all matters affecting the merits and the right settlement thereof and may do all such things as he thinks fit for the purpose of inducing the parties to come to a fair

and amicable settlement of the dispute. .

(3) If a settlement of the dispute or of any of the matters in dispute is arrived at in the course of the conciliation proceedings, the Conciliation Officer shall send a report thereof to the settlement singed by the parties

to dispute. .

(4) If no such settlement is arrived at, the Conciliation Officer shall, as soon as practicable after the close of the investigation, send to the appropriate Government a full report setting forth the steps taken by him for ascertaining the facts and circumstances relating to the dispute and for bringing about a settlement thereof, together with a full statement

of such facts and circumstances, and the reasons on account of which, in his opinion, a settlement could not be arrived at.

(5) The report must be submitted within 14 days of the commencement of the conciliation proceedings or within such shorter period as may be fixed by the appropriate Government: provided that, subject to the approval of the Conciliation Officer, the time for the submission of the report may be extended by such period as may be agreed upon in writing by all the parties to the dispute.

(6). If, on a consideration of the report in respect of failure of settlement, the appropriate Government is satisfied that there is a case for reference to Board, Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal, it may make such reference. Where the Government does not make such a reference, it shall record and communicate to the parties concerned it's reasons thereof

3 Board of Conciliation (Sec.5)

The appropriate Govt. may as occasion arises by notification in the in the Official Gazette constitute a Board of Conciliation for promoting the settlement of an industrial dispute. A Board shall consist of a Chairman and two or four other members, as the appropriate Government thinks fit. The Chairman shall be an independent person and shall be appointed on the recommendation of the party they represent. The quorum for a meeting is two where the total number is three, and three where the number is five. A Board, having a quorum, may act not withstanding the absence of the chairman or any of its members, or any vacancy in it's number. But; if the Government informs the board that the services of the Chairman or any other member have ceased to be available, the board must not act until a new Chairman or member has been appointed.



Powers of Conciliation Officer

Conciliation Officer has all powers of a Civil Court when trying a suit in respect Duties of Conciliation Officer (Sec.13)

Conciliation Officer has to endeavour to bring about a settlement of a dispute referred to him and to do anything to induce the parties to come to a fair and amicable settlement. Where a settlement is reached a similar report and a memorandum of settlement have to be submitted to the appropriate Government. But in case of failure, apart from furnishing all the details as required in the case of a report, by a Conciliation Officer, he is also required to submit his recommendations for tha determination of the dispute. The time limit prescribed for submission of such reports is 2 months of the date on which the dispute was referred to him or within such shorter period as may be fixed by the appropriate Government or all the parties to the dispute may, however, further extend the period by agreement in writing. Where a dispute, in which the Board has failed to bring about a settlement, relates to a public utility service and the Government does not refer it to a Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal, he must inform the parties concerned the reasons for not doing so.

Courts of Inquiry (Sec.G)

The appropriate Government may, as occasion arises, by notification in the official Gazette, constitute a Court of Inquiry for inquiring into any matter appearing

to be connected with or relevant to an industrial dispute. Such a Court may consist of one or more independent persons, as the Government may appoint. Where it consists of more than one member, one of them shall be appointed as Chairman. The Court having the prescribed quorum may act even if the Chairman or a member is absent; but not if the services of the Chairman have ceased to be available, and on other Chairman has beer' appointed. The Court shall inquire into the matters referred to it and report thereon to the appropriate Government within 6 months from the date of commencement of the inquiry.

Members of Court of Inquiry shall deemed to be public servants within the meaning of Sec. 21 of IPC. The Court of Inquiry, if it so thinks fit, appoint one or more persons having special knowledge of the matter under consideration as assessor or assessors to advise it In the proceeding before it.

On a perusal of the relevant Sections 22, 23 and 33 of the Act. relating to the Court during the pendency of a proceeding before a Court of Inquiry, the following right remain unaffected, such as:

(i) The right of a workman to go on strike

(ii) The right of an employer to lookout his business. and

(iii) The right of the employer to dismiss or otherwise to punish the workman in certain cases under Sec.33



Duties of Courts of Inquiry (Sec. 14)

The Court of Inquiry of shall inquire into the matters referred to it and the

report of Inquiry thereon be presented before the appropriate Government; ordinarily within a period of 6 months from the commencement of inquiry.

The report of the Court of Inquiry shall be in writing and be signed by all the members of the Court, provided that a member may record a minutes of dissent also. Labour Court

The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute one or more Labour Courts for the adjudication of industrial disputes relating to any of the following matters or for performing such other function as may be assigned to them under the Act. The functions of the Labour Court as provided in the

. Act. are:

(i) Adjudication of industrial disputes relating to any matter specified in the

Second Schedule

(ii) Performing of such other functions as may be assigned to them under this Act. 1 he following matters are specified in the Second Schedule, namely

(i) The propriety or legality of an order passed by an employer under Standing Orders; .

(ii) The application and interpretation of Standing Orders;

(iii) discharge or dismissal of workman including re-instatement of, or grant of relief to; workmen wrongfully dismissed;

(iv) withdrawal of any customary concession or privilege;

(v) illegality or otherwise of a strike or lockout; and

(vi) all matters other then those specified in the Third Schedule.

. According to sec.? (2) a Labour Court shall consist of one person only who shall be appointed by the appropriate Government. But no person shall be appointed as Presiding Officer of a Labour Court, unless (a) he is, or has been a judge of a High Court; or (b) he has for a period not less then 3 years been a District Judge; or (c) he has held the office of the Chairman of any other member of any tribunal, for a period of not less then two years; or (e) he has been the presiding Officer of a Labour Court constituted under any provincial Act for not less than five years.



Powers of the Labour Court (Sec. 11)

Powers of the Labour Court to give appropriate relief in case of discharge or

dismissal of workman are as under.

(1) Subject to any rule that may be made in this behalf, the labour Court

may follow such procedure that it may think fit.

(2) The Presiding Officer of the Court may, for the purpose of inquiry into any existing or apprehended dispute, enter into the premises occupied by any establishment to which the dispute relates.

(3) The Labour Court shall have all the powers as are vested to a Civil

Court.


(4) If it thinks fit, appoint one or more persons, having special knowledge.

of the matter under consideration, as an assessor to advise it in the

proceedings before it.

Duties of Labour Court (Sec. 15)

Where an industrial dispute has been referred to Labour-Court, for adjudication, it shall hold its adjudication expeditiously and shall, submit its award to the appropriate Government. The award of Labour Court shall be in writing and be signed by its Presiding Officer (Sec.16)

Every award of Labour Court, shall within a period of 30 days from the date of its receipt by the appropriate Government, be published by if in the official Gazette. The award published by the. appropriate Government shall be final and binding on the parties to dispute. Sec.17 -A provides that an award (including arbitration award) shall become enforceable on the expiry of 30 days from the date of its publication under Sec. 17. The award shall not become enforceable on the expiry of 30 days:

. (a) if the appropriate Government is of opinion, in any case where the

award has been given by a Labour Court or Tribunal in relation to an industrial dispute to which it is a party that it will be in expedient to give effect to the whole or any part of the award on public grounds effecting: .

(i) national economy, (ii) social justice. .

(b) if the Central Government, in any case where the award has been given by a National Tribunal, on similar grounds in of the opinion that it would be in expedient to give effect to the whole .or part of the award.

For the purpose of stopping the enforcement of any award, a notification in the Official Gazette is necessary.



Industrial Tribunals (Sec. 7 A)

. Industrial Tribunals were created for it's first time by the Industrial Dispute Act.1947. Commenting upon the starts of these tribunal, the Supreme Court has observed that tribunals under the Act. are invested with many trappings of a Court; but do not have the same status as courts'. The Tribunal is the judicial body or at any rate, a quasi-judicial body2.

The appropriate Government may by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute one or more industrial tribunals for the adjudication of industrial dispute s relating to any matters specified above as in the case of Labour Court, or the following

matters, namely­

(1) Wages including the period and mode of payment (2) Compensatory and other allowances;

(3) Hours of work and rest intervals;

(4) Leave with wages and holidays;

(5) Bonus, profit sharing, provident fund and gratuity;

(6) Shift working otherwise than in accordance with standing orders; (7) Classification by grades;

(8) Rules of discipline;

(9) Rationalization;

(10) Retrenchment of workmen and closure of establishment; and (11) Any other matter that may be prescribed.

A Tribunal shall consist of one person only to be appointed by the appropriate Government. A person to be appointed as a Presiding Officer of a Tribunal must .be, or must have been, a judge of a high Court; or if he has for a period of not less than three years, be a District Judge or on Additional District-Judge. Only experienced persons of high integrity can be appointed as Providing Officer of the Tribunal. It is provided by Sec.7-A(4) that the Appropriate Government, if thinks fit, may appoint two persons as assessors to advise the Tribunal in the proceedings before it.

Industrial Tribunals shall have the same power vested in a Civil Court when trying a suit, such as: (a) enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath, (b) compelling the production of document and material object, (c) issuing commissions for the examination of witness and any such matters as may be prescribed.. .



National Tribunals (Sec 78) .

. .


The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute one or more National Industrial Tribunals for the adjudication of industrial disputes which, in the opinion of the Central Government involve questions of national importance or are of such a nature that industrial establishments situated in more than one State are likely to be interested in, or affected by, such disputes.

A National Tribunal shall consist of one person only to be appointed by the Central Government. In order to be qualified as a Presiding Officer of a National Tribunal, a person must be or must have been a Judge of a High Court, or must have held the office of the Chairman or any other member of the Labour Appellate Tribunal for at least 2 years. The Central Government may appoint two assessors to advise the National Tribunal, in proceeding before it. .



Disqualifications for Presiding Officiers of Labour Courts, Tribunals And National Tribunals (Sec.7 - C).

No person shall be appointed to, or continue in the office of the Presiding Officer of a Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal if (a) he is not an independent person or (b) he has attained the age of sixty five years.



Filling of Vacancies (Sec. 8)

If a vacancy occurs in the office of the Presiding Officer of a Labour

Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal, the appropriate Government shall appoint another person in accordance with the provisions of the Act. A vacancy

may arise due to transfer resignation or acquisition of any disqualification as provided in Sec. 7 -C of the Act.



Finality of orders constituting boards (Sec. 9)

The main object of enacting Sec. 9 of the Industrial Disputes Act is to make immune, any order of the appointment made under Sections 5 to 7 of the Act, from being called in question. Therefore, no question can be raised whether an appointment was legally and properly made or not. Sec. 9 (1) of the Act provides that no order of the appropriate Government or of the Central Government appointing any person as the Chairman or any other member of the Board or Court, or as the Presiding officer of a Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal shall be called in question in any manner on the ground of merely of the existence of any vacancy in, or defect in the constitution of such Board or Court.

Reference to grievance settlement authorities (Sec. 9-C)

A new Chapter II - B has been instead by Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Act, 1982 whereby a new Sec. 9 - C has- been added But this Chapter has not been enforced till now.

According to Sec. 9 - C:­

(1) The employer in relation to every industrial establishment in which 50 or more workmen are employed or have been employed on any day in the preceding 12 months shall provide for a grievance settlement authority for settlement of industrial disputes with an individual workman employed in the establishment in accordance with the rules made' in this behalf under the Act.

.(2) Where an individual dispute connected with an individual workman arises in an establishment referred to in sub. sec. (1) a workman or any trade union cf workmen of which such workman is member, may refer in such manner as may be prescribed such dispute to Grievance Settlement Authority provided for, by the employer, for settlement.

(3) The Grievance Settlement Authority shall follow such procedure and complete its proceedings within such period as may be prescribed.

(4) 'No reference shall be made under Chapter III with respect to any dispute referred to in this section unless such dispute has been referred to the Grievance Settlement Authorities concerned and the decision of the Grievance Settlement Authority is not acceptable to any of the parities to the dispute.

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