Notes On Industrial Disputes:

      Simply, industrial disputes relates to the conflict or difference of opinion or differences between groups of workers and employers engaged in an industry over pay and other working conditions.

      According to Section 2 (k) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the term ‘industrial dispute’ means “any dispute or difference 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 and conditions of employment of any person”.

Causes Of Industrial Disputes:

       Fundamentally Industrial Disputes is due to mental unrest and discontentment among the workers. This unrest is a psychological fact and it also has social, political and economic aspect.

      The labour Bureau, Simla has listed the following causes:

  1. Wages and allowances.
  2. Bonus.
  3. Personal.
  4. Leave and hours of work.
  5. Others.

       In 1971, a new cause indiscipline and violence was added to the older classification.

       According to V.B. Singh, the causes of industrial disputes are:

  1. Income.
  2. Employment.
  3. Technological changes.

       It can, thus, be concluded that industrial disputes has no one single causes. In brief the various causes of industrial disputes are:

1) Low wages:

       In India, remunerations paid to the workers for their services is not adequate to meet their daily expenses. Lew wages formed 37.3% of the total disputes in 1961; 48.4% in 1971, 36.4% in 1981 and 25.5% in 1987.

2. Rising Prices:

       If we review the statistics regarding the wages of workers in India, we find that in most of the states, the wages have been doubled. However the doubled income gave no relief to the workers because the prices have been rising steadily. This soaring price produces tension and conflict among the workers.

3. Unsatisfactory working condition:

       Another cause of industrial dispute is the fact that the working conditions in most of the factories are unhygienic and poor. This tells upon the health of workers. Being ill and unhealthy they become irritable and make them permanently discounted.

4. Demand for leave with pay:

       Like other workers, industrial workers also needs leave from work from time to time. Therefore, trade union press for a permanent provision for regular leave with pay.

5. Demand for Adequate Bonus:

       The political leaders and trade unions have made the workers to believe that they are partners in factory and are fully entitled to share the profits. The amount or percentage of bonus is a source of frequent disputes among workers and employees. During the period of 1948 to 1957 9.1% the disputes related to bonus.

6. Non- Recognition of Trade Unions:

       Sometimes employers refuse to recognize the trade union in their factory. This too becomes a source of contention and conflict and may result in strike etc.

7. Technological Changes:

       In modern industries, many new and sophisticated labour saving machines were introduced. This creates retrenchment of workers. In 1992, 1.7% of the total disputes were due to retrenchment of workers.

8. Misconduct of officers:

       Today, workers are very conscious of self respect. Therefore a slight insult by officers provokes them. Such incidents many a times create tensions and take the form of gheraos etc.

9. Indiscipline and violence:

       Indiscipline and violence accounted for 13.8% of the disputes in 1983 which shot up to 16.9% in 1985.

10. Political causes:

       Another major cause of industrial disputes is political influences. Now a days, various political parties in India go out to support all types of agitations to gain sympathy and support of the workers.

Settlement of Industrial Disputes:

       Since independence, the govt. paid special attention towards settlement of industrial disputes and passed the Industrial Disputes Act 1947. It was amended several times under which machinery has been outlined for the prevention and settlement of disputes. These provisions are as under.

1. Establishment of works Committee:

       Every industrial establishment employing 100 or more workers is required to establish a work committee. There are equal numbers of representatives of workers and employers in the committee. The main function of the committee is to remove the causes of friction between the two parties. The functions of the committees are purely of advisory character.

Grievance Settlement Authority:

       The Industrial Disputes Act (Amendment in 1992) has provided for the setting up of a grievance settlement authority. Any employer employing 50 or more workers is required to provide for a grievance settlement authority for settlement of industrial disputes relating to an individual.

3. Conciliation Officer:

       The conciliation officer is appointed by the state govt. for a particular region or industries in the states. This officer is to bring the two parties together and help them solve their differences. He is bound to take decisions within 14 days or such period as extended by the state govt. from the date of registration of disputes.

4. Board of Conciliation:

       In case the conciliation officer fails to resolve the disputes, the govt. appoints a board of conciliation on ad-hoc basis for particular disputes. The board reports the govt. about the success or failure of its efforts within 2 months from the date of reference of the disputes.

5. Court of Enquiry:

       Whenever any industrial disputes remain unsolved by the conciliation officer or Board of conciliation, the matter is referred to the court of Enquiry. The court may consist of one or more independent person. It will investigate the dispute and submit its report to the govt. within 6 months from the date of commencement of disputes.

6. Labour court:

       Labour court has been set up by the state Govt. to go into the disputed matters such as discharge, dismissal, suspension of employees by the management, withdrawal of privileges etc. The court will award decision and send the report to the govt.

7. Industrial Tribunals:

       The state Govt. has been empowered to appoint as many industrial tribunals as they think proper for the adjudication of disputes relating to wages, hours of work, leave with pay, holiday, and allowances bonus, provident funds, gratuity, discipline etc. The tribunal will consist of a person of the rank of a high court judge. The adjudication of tribunal will bind both the parties.

8. National Tribunal:

       National Tribunal is set up by the central govt. for the adjudication of industrial disputes which involves questions of national importance or which affect industrial establishment situated in more than one state. It gives decisions on matters referred to it by central government.