Monday, May 16, 2011

What are the voluntary machineries available for settling industrial disputes? Write a brief note on Lok Adalats and its functions...

What are the voluntary machineries available for settling industrial disputes? Write a brief note on Lok Adalats and its functions citing suitable examples.

Ans. Disputes according to the code of industrial relations introduced in the United Kingdom in 1972, are two kinds:
a) Disputes of right, which relate to the application or interpretation of an existing agreement or contract of employment; and
b) Disputes of interest, which relate to claims by employees or proposals by a management about the terms and conditions of employment.

According to the industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and the many judicial decisions which have been handed down by courts and tribunals, industrial disputes may be raised on any one of the following issues:
i) Fairness of the standing orders;
ii) Retrenchment of workers following the closing down of a factory, lay-offs, discharge or dismissal, reinstatement of dismissed employees, and compensation for them;
iii) Benefits of an Award denied to a worker; non-payment of personal allowance to seasonal employees; the demand of employees for medical relief for their parents;
iv) Wages, fixation, and minimum rates, modes of payment, and the right of an employee to choose one of the awards when two awards on wages have been given;
v) Lockout and claim for damages by an employer because employees resorted to an illegal strike;
vi) Payment of hours, gratuity, provident fund, pension and traveling allowance;
vii) Disputes between rival unions; and
viii) Disputes between employers and employees.
a) Non-Industrial Factors: Industrial relations may be harmonious or strained and acrimonious. In the latter case, there are many causes which are rooted in historical, political and socio-economic factors, and in the attitudes of workers and their employers. Some of the causes of a dispute may be:
i) An industrial matter relating to employment, work, wages, hours, of work, privileges, the rights and obligations of employees and employers; the mode, terms and conditions of employment, is including maters pertaining;
ii) An industrial dispute which connotes any difference which has been fairly defined and is of real substance; that is a matter in which both parties are directly and substantially interested; or which is a grievance on the part of a worker which the employer is in a position to redress; or which is such as the parties are capable of settling between themselves or referring it for adjudication;
iii) Disputes often arise because of the rapidly increasing population which has no opportunities for gainful employment; there is, therefore, no improvement in the standard of living of employees who put forward demands for higher wages which, if not conceded often lead to strained industrial relations and strikes;
iv) The galloping pries of essential commodities, their shortages and/or non-availability, all these erode the value of money, as a result of which the real wages of the worker go down. They become dissatisfied, and demand higher wages;
v) The attitude and temperament of industrial workers have changed because of their education, the growth of public opinion and the legislation enacted for their benefit. They are, therefore, very conscious of their rights, and will not put up with any injustice or wrong done to them;
vi) Trade unions have often failed to safeguard the interests of workers. The reasons for this state of affairs are rivalry among, and a multiplicity of trade unions have destroyed the solidarity of the working class;
b) Management’s Attitude to Labour: Managements generally are not willing to talk over any dispute with their employees or their representatives or refer it to arbitration even when trade unions want them to do so. A management’s unwillingness to recognize a particular trade union and the dilatory tactics to which it resorts while verifying the representative character of any trade union have been a very fruitful source of industrial strife. Even when representative trade unions have been recognized by employers, they do not in a number of cases, delegate enough authority to their officials to negotiate with their workers, even though the representative of labour are willing to commit themselves to a particular settlement.
c) Government machinery: The machinery provided by the government for the resolution of industrial conflicts is often vary inadequate. For example: Again, trade union are generally affiliated to some major political party. Each political party, therefore, somehow “engineers” strikes, gheraos and bandhs to demonstrate its political strength. Invariably, the political party which is in power favours that trade union organisation which is affiliated to it.
Various methods are available for resolving disputes. More important of them are –
1. Collective bargaining;
2. Conciliation;
3. Adjudication;
4. Voluntary arbitration;
1. Collective Bargaining: Collective bargaining has been defined in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences as “a process of discussion and negotiation between two parties, one or both of whom is a group of persons acting in concert. The resulting bargains are an understanding as to the terms of conditions under which a continuing service is to be performed. More specifically, collective bargaining is the procedure by which an employer or employers and a group of employees agree upon the conditions of work.”
2. Conciliation: Conciliation is process by which representation of workers and employers are brought together before a third party with a view of persuading them to arrive at an agreement by mutual discussion between them. The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and other state enactments authorize the government to appoint conciliators charged with the duty of mediating in and promoting the settlement of industrial disputes.
3. Adjudication: Adjudication means a mandatory settlement of industrial disputes by labour courts or industrial tribunals or national tribunals under the Industrial Disputes Act or under any other corresponding state statutes. The government generally refers an industrial dispute for adjudication on failure of conciliation proceedings.
4. Voluntary Arbitration: Arbitration is a procedure in which a neutral third party studies the bargaining situation, listens to both the parties and gathers information, and then makes recommendations that are binding on the parties. The Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 provides for voluntary reference of disputes of arbitration.

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