Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

Objective and Applicability of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 – The main objective of the industrial Disputes Act, 1947 is to investigate and thereafter come to a settlement of any industrial disputes, primarily between employers and employees. A workman having no supervisory or administrative capacity can raise an industrial dispute before the competent authority. Furthermore, collective disputes can also be raised by the union.

Procedure of Raising an Industrial Dispute – First, the aggrieved workman has to raise the industrial dispute before his employer. If the employer does not give any reply or gives an unsatisfactory reply, then the workman can file a complaint before the Labour Commissioner for conciliation. If the Labour Commissioner fails to solve the dispute, then the workman can file a complaint before the Labour Court/ Industrial Tribunal for further adjudication.

Time Limit for Raising the Dispute – A workman must file the complaint before the Labour Court/ Industrial Tribunal within three years from the date of his alleged termination by his employer.

Power of Labour Court – The Industrial Tribunals/ Labour Courts have the power to modify the punishment awarded to a workman and to give appropriate relief to the workman including reinstatement and back wages.

Interim Relief to the Workman – A workman can ask for interim relief (last drawn wages) when the award of reinstatement passed by the Labour Court/ Industrial Tribunal is challenged by his employer in the High Court.

Unfair Labour Practice – Unfair labour practice as defined Under Section 25-T of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 is illegal and both employer and union practicing it are liable to be punished.

Conditions for Lay Off – If an employer is unable to run the business due to shortage of coal, power, raw material, accumulation of stock, natural calamity and breakdown of machinery, then it can lay off provided prior permission during preceding 12 months is taken when the number of employees is more than 100. An employer is liable to pay lay off compensation to a workman at 50% of Basic +Dearness Allowance for a maximum period of 45 days.

Procedure of Retrenchment and Compensation – A workman can be retrenched by his employer only on “last come first go” basis with prior permission of the Government if the total number of workmen is more than 100. Retrenchment compensation has to be paid @15 days’ last drawn wages per year for every completed year along with one month’s wages to the retrenched employee.

Closure – Closure notice has to be given 60 days in advance in general. In case the employer has more than 100 employees then a notice has to be given 90 days in advance to the office of the Labour Commissioner.

If you are looking for more information on industrial disputes, it is suggested that you discuss the matter with a labour law advocate in Kolkata.