The Industrial Disputes (AMENDMENT) Bill, 2010 passed by the Rajya Sabha
By : rahul on 05 August 2010 Print this
The Industrial Disputes (AMENDMENT) Bill, 2010 passed by the Rajya Sabha
The Industrial Disputes Act 1947 provides a framework for investigation and settlement of industrial disputes. The Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2010 was finalized after detailed consultations with stake holders and the Government had formulated the amendment proposals mainly on the issues on which consensus were arrived at. The Industrial Dispute (Amendment) Bill, 2009 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 26.2.2009. The Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour. The Committee examined the Bill and made certain recommendations for further modifications to the amendments proposed in the Bill. The Government accepted some of its recommendations.
The amendment proposals in the Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2010 inter-alia, seek to amplify the definition of ‘appropriate Government’, enhance the wage ceiling prescribed for supervisors, provide direct access for workman to Labour courts or Tribunal in case of individual disputes, expand the scope of qualifications of Presiding Officers of Labour Courts or Tribunal, setting up of Grievance Settlement Machinery and empowerment of Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Courts to enforce decree.
The Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2010 as amended was considered and passed by the Rajya Sabha on 3.8.2010.
In his introductory remarks the Minister of Labour and Employment ShriMallikarjun Kharge said that the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 is a significant piece of legislation which provides a framework for investigation and settlement of industrial disputes. The Act also seeks to regulate illegal strikes and lockouts, and provides protection to the workmen in case of lay-off, retrenchment and closure of establishments. Ministry of Labour & Employment has held tripartite consultations with stake holders and formulated proposals for amendment in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 on the issues on which consensus was arrived at.
The Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2010 seeks the following:
Section 2(a): Amplification of definition of Appropriate Government
The Bill proposes to amplify the definition of ‘appropriate Government’ under 2(a) of the Act. The Central Government is the appropriate Government in respect of categories listed in Section 2(a)(i) of the I.D. Act, 1947. In addition to this, it is further clarified that Central Government would be appropriate Government for any company in which not less than fifty-one per cent of the paid-up share capital is held by the Central Government, or any corporation, (not being a corporation referred to in this clause) established by or under any law made by Parliament, or the Central Public Sector Undertaking, subsidiary companies set up by the principal undertaking and autonomous bodies owned or controlled by the Central Government.
State Government will be the appropriate Government in relation to any other industrial dispute, including the State Public Sector Undertaking, subsidiary companies set up by the principal undertaking and autonomous bodies owned or controlled by the State Government.
To amplify the definition of term ‘appropriate Government’ the Standing Committee has suggested that the industrial disputes between a contractor and contract labour employed in any industrial establishment needs to be brought under the purview of ‘appropriate Government’. The Government has accepted this recommendation of the Committee. This amplification of the definition will eliminate all ambiguities in the interpretation of the definition of ‘appropriate Government’.
Section 2(s): Amendment of Section 2(s) (iv) - Enhancing the wage ceiling of Rs.1600 per moth prescribed for supervisors in the definition of workmen under Section 2(s) to Rs.10,000 per month.
Enhancement of wage ceiling of the workers working in a supervisory capacity from one thousand six hundred rupees per month to ten thousand rupees per month. The wage ceiling has been enhanced to be in consonance with the increase in wages of industrial workers and also to bring about parity with other labour laws like Employees State Insurance Act, 1948, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and Payment of Wages Act, 1936.
Section 2A: Direct reference of disputes connected with Termination/ Dismissal/ Retrenchment/ Discharge to Industrial Tribunals.
To provide direct access for the workman to the Labour Court or Tribunal in case of disputes arising out of Section 2A pertaining to retrenchment, discharge, dismissal or termination of services etc. At present, such a dispute could be adjudicated by CGIT-cum LC only after a reference is made by the ‘appropriate Government’. As a consequence of this proposed amendment, the workman can directly approach the CGIT-cum-LC after filing his grievance before the conciliation machinery to resolve the issue within 45 days. There will be no need for him to approach the ‘appropriate Government’ for making a reference. This amendment would enable the aggrieved workman to choose the alternative of adjudication for resolution of his dispute faster.
Substitution of new Chapter for Chapter IIB-Setting of Grievance Redressal Machinery:
The Bill seeks to establish a Grievance Redressal Machinery (GRM) within industrial establishment having 20 or more workmen with one stage appeal at the head of the establishment for resolution of disputes arising out of individual grievances. With this amendment, the workman will get one more alternative grievance redressal mechanism for the resolution of his dispute within the organization itself with minimum necessity for adjudication. It may be noted that setting up of GRM in no way will affect the right of the workman to raise dispute on the same issue under the provision of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
Section 7: Relaxation of Qualifications of Presiding Officers.
It is also proposed to expand the scope of qualification of Presiding Officers of CGIT-cum-LC by making officers of Central Labour Service of the rank of Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner and State Labour Department of the rank of Joint Labour Commissioner and officers of the Indian Legal Service Gr.III eligible for the post of Presiding Officer in CGIT-cum-LC. This will enable the Government to appoint the Presiding Officers from wide range of eligible officers from the relevant field.
Section 11: - Power to enforce Decree by CGIT.
The Bill also proposes to empower the Labour Court or Tribunal to execute their awards, orders of settlements arrived at as a decree of a Civil Court. This amendment will ensure better enforcement of the awards given by CGITs-cum-LC.
Section 38(2) © - Salaries and allowances and other terms and conditions of service of Presiding Officer of Central Government Industrial Tribunals-cum-Labour Courts (CGIT) and National Tribunals.
The Bill proposes to make a specific provision in the Act by amending the Section 38(2) © of the Act that Government may make rules to decide and review the salaries and allowances and other terms and conditions for appointment of Presiding Officers. Details will be worked out while framing the rules.
To Summarise, the main amendment proposals in the I.D. Act are:
(i) Amplification of the definition of ‘Appropriate Government’.
(ii) To enhance the wage limit from Rs.1600/- per month to Rs. 10,000/- per month to make the provision meaningful and in tune with the definition of workman in other labour laws such as Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948.
(iii) To provide a grievance ventilation and redressal machinery within an establishment having 20 or more workmen with one stage appeal at the level of the Head of the Industrial Establishment in order to promote better industrial relations at the industrial establishment level.
(iv) To provide individual workman direct access to Labour Courts/ Tribunals in cases of retrenchment, discharge, dismissal or termination of services.
(v) To make officers of the Central Labour Service/State Labour Service/Indian Legal Service eligible for the post of Presiding Officers in the Central Government Industrial Tribunals–cum-Labour Courts for addressing the problem of availability of Presiding Officers.
(vi) To empower Government to make rules to decide and review the salaries and allowances and other terms and conditions for appointment of Presiding Officers.
(vii) To empower Central Government Industrial Tribunals, Labour Courts and National Tribunals to execute their awards/orders/settlements as a decree of the civil court.