Highlights of the Bill
- The Bill amends the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The Act provides for settlement of disputes between workers and management.
- The Act currently does not apply to persons who are employed in a supervisory capacity and who earn more than Rs 1,600 per month. The Bill raises this ceiling to Rs 10,000 per month.
- Under the Act, a worker whose services were terminated can complain to the government, which may refer the case to a court or tribunal. The Bill allows workers to approach the courts directly.
- The Bill requires all establishments with more than 20 workmen to establish a grievance redressal committee to hear individual grievances.
- The Bill broadens the eligibility criteria of presiding officers of courts and tribunals established under the Act. All awards made by such courts or tribunals are to be executed by the relevant civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure.
Key Issues and Analysis
- The Bill allows for supervisors earning up to Rs 10,000 per month to be covered by the provisions of the Act. It is not clear what proportion of supervisors will be covered by this wage ceiling. The Second National Labour Commission had recommended that supervisors be kept out of the purview of the Act.
- The Bill requires industrial establishments with more than 20 workmen to set up a mechanism to address individual grievances. Under the Act, a similar mechanism exists for large companies. The Comptroller and Auditor General has pointed to a lack of monitoring of these committees by the labour department.
- The Bill expands the eligibility criteria for the appointment of presiding officers of labour courts and tribunals, removing the requirement of judicial experience. The Second National Labour Commission had recommended that officers with experience in the labour department may be appointed to this post. Some state Acts permit this. The Law Commission has recently recommended that advocates with the requisite experience be appointed as presiding officers.
- The Second National Labour Commission had recommended that labour laws be simplified and consolidated. This has not been implemented.