Industrial disputes arise due to disagreements between employers and workers. Industrial relations involve various aspects of relations between the employer and the workers. In similar relation, a clash of interests may result in dissatisfaction, leading to industrial controversies or conflicts. These controversies may take various forms like demurrers, strikes, demonstrations, cinch-outs, retrenchment, redundancy of workers, etc.
An Industrial Tribunal is a legal authority that arbitrates to agree obligatory on both the employer and the worker.
The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, establishes various authorities for the discourse and agreement of industrial controversies, which include Works Committee; Concession Officers; Boards of Concession; Court of Inquiry; Labour Courts; Industrial Tribunals, and National Tribunals.
- Section 7-A of the Industrial Disputes Act empowers the applicable government to constitute one or more industrial tribunals.
- The appointment of such tribunals has to be notified in the official gazette.
- The appropriate government is given vast powers to appoint industrial tribunals for any limited time, a particular case, several cases, or a particular area.
Presiding officer and his qualification
- An industrial tribunal shall comprise one person only appointed by the applicable government—designated as the tribunal’s ‘ Presiding Officer’.
- The presiding officer must fulfil these qualifications-
- He is serving or has served as a High Court judge; or
- He has served as a district or an additional judge for at least three years.
- The applicable government may, if it thinks fit, appoint two persons as assessors to advise the bench in the proceeding before it.
Functions of Industrial Tribunals
The functions are as follows:
- Adjudication of industrial disputes
- Regarding any matter specified in the 2nd Schedule or the 3rd Schedule
2nd Schedule: Matters covered under the jurisdiction of labour courts:
- The validity of an order passed by any workman under the standing orders;
- The application and explanation of standing orders;
- Discharge of workers, which includes reinstatement of, or allowing relief to, workers wrongfully discharged;
- Withdrawal of any customary concession or privilege;
- The illegality of a strike or lock-out; and
- Matters except those specified in the Third Schedule.
3rd Schedule: Matters covered under the jurisdiction of Industrial Tribunals:
- Wages that include the period as well as the mode of payment;
- Compensatory and other allowances;
- Hours of work and rest intervals;
- Leave with wages and holidays;
- Bonus, profit sharing, provident fund, and gratuity;
- Shift working otherwise than per standing orders;
- Classification by grades;
- Rules of discipline;
- Curtailment of workers and closure of establishment; and
- Any other matter that may be prescribed
- A labour court can arbitrate an industrial disagreement relating to the matters in the 2nd Schedule.
- Concurrent governance of the labour court and the industrial tribunal in respect of any matter included in the 2nd Schedule.
- Section 7 -B provides for the constitution of national industrial tribunals.
- The central government is authorised to constitute one or more national tribunals by an announcement in the official gazette.
- A national tribunal can be constituted only for the adjudication of industrial controversies.
- Involving questions of public significance; or
- Industrial controversies affecting industrial establishments positioned more than one State.
- The reference to the national tribunal can be made only by the central government.
- The governance of a national tribunal is extensive and exclusive.
Presiding officer and his qualifications
- The national tribunal shall consist of one person only to get appointed as its presiding officer of the national tribunal.
- Unless he’s or served as a judge of the High Court
- The Central Government can appoint two examiners to advise the national tribunal in the proceeding.
Where any industrial disagreement exists, the employer and the workers agree to refer the conflict to arbitration before the dispute has been referred under section 10 to a Labour Court, Industrial Tribunal, National Tribunal, or any persons of their choice. Similar references may include the presiding officer of a labour court, Industrial Tribunal or National Tribunal.
An arbitration agreement adjudicates the dispute to an even number of arbitrators. The judgement given by the umpire will prevail and be considered the arbitration award for this Act.
Both parties’ representatives must sign a copy of the arbitration agreement representing each party’s maturity. It should be encouraged by the government and the concession officer.
The adjudicator shall investigate the disagreement and submit the arbitration award to the government. The same will be published in the sanctioned review within one month from the date of the damage of a similar copy (Section 10-A).
Reference of disputes for adjudication
- If negotiations do not settle a disagreement, and the parties do not consent to refer the dispute to arbitration, the government, through its discretion or a signed application, gets their dispute adjudicated to the Labour Court or Industrial Tribunal.
- According to section 10, if disagreements involve a question of national or central importance and can affect the interest of more than one state, the Central Government will refer such dispute to the National Tribunal.
- An order of reference will describe the time the award can be submitted to the Government.
- The Government may also enjoin any strike or lock-out continuance with a disagreement referred for adjudication to a Labour Court or bench.
As we’ve studied, the Act provides various external mechanisms to prevent illegal strikes, lockouts, etc., through different bodies such as labour courts, industrial tribunals or national tribunals. Still, there’s a need to have solid internal mechanisms that break controversies. The primary aim of this act is to serve peace within the walls of all the industries and a good and harmonious work environment for all the workers, which can only be achieved through the equitable and fair working of labour courts, industrial tribunals or national tribunals.
What are industrial disputes?
The disagreement or any difference between an employer and workers or among various workers is an industrial dispute.
Who can raise an industrial dispute?
Any worker employed in an industry can raise an industrial dispute.
What's the jurisdiction of the industrial tribunal?
The industrial tribunal adjudicates upon the matters provided in the 2nd Schedule and 3rd Schedule.
Is an industrial tribunal a court?
The Central Government Industrial Tribunal- cum- Labour Courts (CGITs- cum- LCs) are established under the guidelines given by the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, for the settlement of industrial disputes emerging at the Central level.