Industrial Disputes Act 1947 through the eyes of HR


What are covered

Covers all industries where there is a systemic activity to produce goods or

Services to satisfy material wants of society with the cooperation of persons hired for wages or reward by the employer irrespective of profit motive. Covers factories, commercial establishments.(sec.2(j) and Sec.2(ka))

Who are covered

Covers all persons hired for wages/reward  by employer without any wage limit to do manual, un-skilled, skilled, clerical, technical, operational & supervisory work  and includes a terminated workman too except supervisors drawing wages exceeding Rs.10000/-p.m  & managers,  army and police personnel (sec.2(s)

Welfare perspective

Works Committee :

to be set up in industries with 100 or more  workmen –to consist of members from employers and workmen(sec.3)

Grievance Committee:

to be set up in industries with 20 or more workmen-to have equal representation from employer & workmen-total number not exceed six(S.9C)

Recovery forums :

Workmen can apply to the Government that has jurisdiction over his industry for recovery of monies due from employer(sec.33 C (1)&(2).

Subsistence allowance:

employer to pay subsistence allowance as per Sec.17B if challenges an award of reinstatement

Key Obligations of employer

  1. I) To maintain muster roll of workmen(s.25D).ii)to set up works committee/grievance committees iii)to give notices, seek permissions and pay compensations wherever applicable in case of retrenchment, lay off, closure and transfer of undertaking. iv)to implement settlements and awards. v)not to lock-out without notice(if it is pub.utlity service) or during pendency of conciliation, adjudication or arbitration on the matter of lock-out vi) Not to commit unfair labour practices.vii) not to alter service conditions without 21 days notice or during pendency of conciliation/adjudication/arbitration but to seek approval from relevant authority. Viii) to recognise protected workmen. Breach of these duties may attract penalties u/ the Act

Service conditions: i)employer not to change those listed in 4th schedule without 21 days notice except permitted by agreement or  standing orders(s.9A)

i)Not to change service conditions of workmen/protected workmen in respect of any matter concerned in an industrial dispute .To seek approval for it from relevant authority S.33(1,2,3,4)

Strikes & lock-outs : Strikes and lock-outs are prohibited without required notice in public utility services (sec22) or in general during pendency of conciliation, arbitration and adjudication proceedings or during the period of operation of a settlement or award  in respect of a matters covered by.(Sec.23). in case of breach of these provisions, they are illegal(sec.24)

Collective bargaining : Employers and workmen/unions settle any dispute or difference between them by way of settlement (sec.2(p) which is binding on them 18(1)

Prohibition of unfair labour practices : Both employer and workman shall not commit any unfair labour practice listed in seventh Schedule(Sec.25T)

Retrenchment : Employer can terminate  workmen without mala fide reasons . sec.2(oo))after complying with requirement of one month notice or pay, govt. permission(in applicable cases) and retrenchment compensation as per Sec.25-F or 25-N-to follow last come-first go principle(25-G).

v)Lay Off : can lay off workmen for specified reasons(Sec.2(kkk))-to comply with notice, govt. Permission(in applicable cases) and compensation  requirements as provided in sec.25-C  or 25-M.

  1. vi) Closure : can close industry after complying with notice, govt. permission(inapplicable cases) and compensation requirements as per sec.25-FFA,25-FFF and 25-(O).

Protected workmen : to recognise protected workmen as per procedure in s.32 (2)(b) read with central/state rules

Mechanism for settlement of disputes

Conciliation : the aggrieved workman or union can raise an industrial dispute over terms of employment or conditions of service before conciliation officer (sec.12) and arrive at a settlement before him(sec.2(p)which is binding on all workmen.(sec.18(3) and for such period as agreed up on (sec.19)

Adjudication : if no settlement reached in conciliation, the Govt.concerned on receipt of C.O’s  report,  will refer the dispute to labour court or tribunal (sec.10)which will determine the dispute and deliver an award (sec.2(b) which is enforceable (sec.17,17A) and binding for the period stipulated in sec.19.

Workman too in case of his termination, can directly apply to Lab.court/tribunal for adjudication on expiry of 45 days after conciliation.(Sec.2A)

Voluntary arbitration : The parties to the dispute, before reference of it to labour court/Tribunal ,can also by agreement refer it to an arbitrator who determines the dispute  by an ward that is binding on both of them(sec.10A)