Everything you need to know about prevention of industrial disputes. Industrial Dispute means any dispute or difference between employers and employees or between employer and workmen or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of labour of any person.

Prevention of industrial disputes may have different methods. These methods “cover the entire field of relations between industry and labour and include enactment and enforcement of progressive legislation, works committees and councils, wage boards, and trade boards profit sharing and co-partnership, tripartite labour machinery, education, housing, welfare work, and all such measures which can bridge the gap between the employers and employed.”

Preventive machinery has been set up so that industrial disputes do not arise.

The various methods of prevention are:- 1. Functions of a Labour Welfare Officer 2. Tripartite and Bipartite Bodies 3. Standing Orders 4. Grievance Committee 5. Joint Management Council (JMC) 6. Code of Discipline 7. Collective Bargaining and other Preventive Measures.

How to Prevent Industrial Disputes: Methods, Ways and Measures

Prevention of Industrial Disputes – 4 Main Methods: Through Function Labour Welfare Officer, Tripartite and Bipartite Bodies, Standing Orders and a Few Others

Disputes between labour and capital is as old as hills and mountains. Capitalist’s profit maximization or wealth maximization goals always clash with wage maximization goal of workers. They are poles apart. The contradicting goals result in industrial dispute. Industrial peace implies absence of industrial unrest or existence of a harmonious relationships.


According to Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, Industrial Dispute means any dispute or difference between employers and employees or between employer and workmen or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of labour of any person.

They fall into four categories:

1. Interest Dispute – These disputes arise out of deadlock in negotiation.


2. Grievance Dispute – It arises due to day to day grievance

3. Unfair Labour Practice – These disputes arise out of interference with the exercise of right to organize.

4. Recognition Dispute – These disputes arise out of recognition of trade union as a bargaining agent.

Industrial disputes are prevented by different methods.

Method # 1. Through Function Labour Welfare Officer:


Under Factories Act, labour welfare officer has to discharge the following function:

a. Supervision of welfare programmes – He has to supervise welfare programmes like housing, recreation, sanitation, working of joint committees, grievance redressal, etc.

b. Counselling to workers – He has to provide counselling to workers on personal and family problems, rendering advice to enable them to adjust to work environment and education.

c. Advising on policy formulation – He has to educate management in the matter of formulating policies relating to labour welfare measures, training programmes meeting statutory obligations of workers, developing fringe benefits and workers education.

d. Liaison with workers – He has to establish liaison with workers so that the latter may appreciate the need for harmonious relations between management and worker, understand the implications of HR polices and come to a settlement with the management.

e. Liaison with management – Establishing liaison with management so that the management appreciates the worker’s view points on various matters, different heads of departments meet the statutory obligations under the Act, maintaining congenial relations with workers and implementing various welfare schemes.

f. Working with external public – This includes establishing contact with factory inspectors, medical officers and other agencies in the community to improve productivity and productive efficiency of workers.

Method # 2. Tripartite and Bipartite Bodies:

Tripartite bodies involve employee, employer and Government. Bipartite committee comprises of employer and employee. Tripartite committee includes committees on Conventions, steering committee on wages, central implementation and evaluation machinery, Central Board of Worker’s Education and National Productivity Council.

Workers committee is an example for Bipartite committee. This committee is represented by employer and employees. It is established through legislation. Method of constitution of this committee is specified in the enactment. .


Functions of Workers Committee:

i. Promoting industrial goodwill.

ii. Securing cooperation from the employer and the employees.

iii. Removing causes of friction between parties to dispute.


iv. Creating an atmosphere for voluntary settlement of issues like wage benefits, bonus, terms of employment, workload, welfare, training, promotion, transfer, etc. Inter-union-rivalry, union’s opposition, employee’s reluctance to use workers committee for setting dispute hinder its effective functioning.

Method # 3. Standing Orders:

These are orders governing the condition of employment under Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act of 1946. It regulates conditions of employment from the entry level to exit of employees. It serves as a code of conduct for employees during their service in a given undertaking.

National Commission of Labour, 1999, stipulates the following in the standing orders:

i. Establishment employing 20 or more should put in place standing orders or regulations.


ii. Standing orders can be prepared by employer and employees/ recognized unions/federations.

iii. In case of disagreement between the employer and the employee, matter would be determined by the certifying authority i.e., Labour Commissioner having jurisdiction. Once the standing order is passed, it is binding on the parties to dispute.

Method # 4. Grievance Committee:

Grievance committee comprising the representatives of employees and employer can be established .and can periodically examine the issues and give redressal. The committee may inform the progress or status of grievance reported, in case it is felt that redressal may take time.

The committee may explain its inability to the grievant whenever it is not possible to redress the grievance within the scope of its authority. It may advise the grievant as to what may be done to further have it redressed. Thus, such a professional functioning of grievance committee can shoot trouble which may snowball into dispute at a later stage.

Method # 5. Joint Management Council (JMC):

Industrial Policy Resolution, 1956, gave birth to JMC. It provides an opportunity to workers to participate in management.

Salient features of JMC include:


i. This scheme is voluntary.

ii. The strength of JMC may be a minimum of 6 members and maximum of 12 consisting equal number of representatives of employer and employees.

iii. Decision arrived at JMC has to be unanimous.

iv. It can be set up in units with a workforce of 500 or more workers.

Hindustan Insecticide, HMT, Indian Airlines, Air India, TISCO, Aravind mills, Modi Spinners etc. were pioneers to JMC scheme. Past experience indicates that industrial relation is smooth in units where JMCs are functioning effectively. In 1994, JMCs were introduced in 238 public sector units at the shop floor and plant levels. Like workers committee, JMCs are also plagued by inter-union rivalries, union opposition and indifferent attitude of management.

Method # 6. Code of Discipline:

Indian Labour Conference in its 15th session in 1958 evolved code of discipline for ensuring sound industrial relation climate. The code was ratified by employee unions like INTUC, AITUC, HMS and UTUC and employers’ associations likes Employer Federation of India, AIUE, AIMO, etc., w.e.f. June 1, 1958.


It provides:

i. Strikes and lockout should be declared with prior notice.

ii. No party should take action without consulting the other.

iii. Existing machinery for dispute settlement should be fully exhausted.

Method # 7. Collective Bargaining:

a. Joint Consultation:

When parties to industrial relations know each other and have mutual confidence in each other, this mechanism is effective. Management should listen to worker’s grievance and the workers should understand the management and ensure maximum cooperation at consultative meetings. Formal procedure for consultation should be strictly observed. The discussions should be free and frank. Top management should use this forum to mirror the viewpoints of workers and drive home its point to the workers. Consultation should be practised at all levels of management.


b. Strong Trade Union:

Strong Trade Union through its mighty bargaining power can achieve a better deal from management.

c. Labour Partnership:

Sharing a portion of profit with workers in addition to normal wage creates very good psychological climate conducive to industrial peace. It enhances social justice. It sends a positive message about the attitude of management. Workers develop a sense of loyalty to the organization. This nips all the troubles in the bud and ensures a sound IR climate.

Prevention of Industrial Disputes – 2 Ways to Avoid Conflict between Employer and Employees or Employers and Workmen: Tripartite Bodies & Standing Orders (SOs)

According to Industrial Dispute Act 1947 “Industrial Disputes means any dispute or difference between employer and employees or between employers and workmen or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with terms of employment or with conditions of labour of any person.”

Two essential characteristics of an industrial dispute are that:


(a) It must be a real dispute, and

(b) Parties to dispute must have a direct or substantial interest.

The prime concern of GOI has been to maintain harmonious relations in the industrial sector. In view of this, preventive machinery has been set up so that industrial disputes do not arise.

It consists of the following:

Way # 1. Tripartite Bodies:

Industrial Relations in India are the outcome of principles and policies evolved through tripartite consultative work at national level with basic objective of bringing the concerned groups on the negotiating table for mutual settlement of differences in a spirit of cooperation and goodwill. There are 2 bodies established to suggest wages and means to prevent Industrial Disputes.

These are:

i. Indian Lab Conference (ILC), which is responsible to –

a. Promote uniformity in lab legislation.

b. Lay down procedure for settling IDs.

c. Discuss matters of All India importance.

ii. Standing Labour Committee, which is responsible –

a. To consider and examine such questions as may be referred to it by plenary conference or the Central Government.

b. To render advice, taking into account suggestions made by various state governments, Trade Unions, workers and employers.

Way # 2. Standing Orders (SOs):

In order to maintain a healthy relationship between employer and employee, it is necessary that employment and work conditions should be clearly spelt out. This can be done only through standing orders. Therefore, on the recommendations of V & VI Indian Labour Conference the Industrial Employment Standing Orders Act 1946 was enacted to regulate the recruitment conditions, discharge, disciplinary action, termination, pay days and holidays.

Standing orders regulate the conditions of employment from the date of entry in organisation to the date of exit. It is a code of conduct for the employees during their work paid within their organisation.

The Act was amended in 1982 and is applicable to Industrial Establishments having 50 or more workers.

Settlement of Disputes:

Various methods available for resolving disputes are:

1. Collective Bargaining

2. Code of Discipline

3. Arbitration for Grievance procedure

4. Conciliation

5. Adjudication

6. Consultative machinery.

Generally, the management tries to resolve the problem of the workers at the unit level itself so that the working environment is not disturbed. If then disputes are not solved at the plant level, then these are sent to the settlement machinery as provided under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947. This machinery comprises of conciliation, arbitration and adjudication.

Prevention of Industrial Conflicts – Top 6 Preventive Measures: Labour Welfare Officer, Tripartite and Bipartite Bodies, Work Committees and a Few Others

Prevention of industrial disputes may have different methods. These methods “cover the entire field of relations between industry and labour and include enactment and enforcement of progressive legislation, works committees and councils, wage boards, and trade boards profit sharing and co-partnership, tripartite labour machinery, education, housing, welfare work, and all such measures which can bridge the gap between the employers and employed.”

The significant preventive measures may be broadly outlined as below:

Preventive Measure # 1. Labour Welfare Officer:

The Committee on Labour Welfare has laid down the following duties of labour welfare officers, based up on the Model Rules framed under the Factories Act of 1948:

(a) Supervision of – (i) safety, health and welfare programmes like housing, recreation, sanitation services as provided under the law or otherwise; (ii) working of Joint Committees’ (iii) grant of leave with wages; and (iv) redress of worker’s grievances.

(b) Counselling workers in – (i) personnel and family problems, (ii) helping them to adjust to their work environment, and (iii) understand their rights and privileges.

(c) Advising management in matters of – (i) formulating labour and welfare policies; (ii) apprenticeship training programmes; (iii) meeting statutory obligations of workers; (iv) developing fringe benefits; and (v) workers’ education and use of communication media.

(d) Establishing liaison with workers so that they may – (i) understand various limitations under which they work; (ii) appreciate the need of harmonious industrial relations in the plant; (iii) interpret company policies to workers; and (iv) persuade workers to come to a settlement in case of disputes.

(e) Establishing liaison with management so that the latter may – (i) appreciate workers’ viewpoint to various matters in the plant; (ii) welfare officers should intervene on behalf of workers in matters under consideration of the management; (iii) help different department heads to meet their obligation under the Act; (iv) maintain harmonious industrial relations in the plant; and (v) suggest measures for promoting general well-being of workers.

(f) Working with management and workers – (i) to maintain harmonious industrial relations in the plant; (ii) to arrange for prompt redressal of grievances and speedy settlement of disputes; (iii) to improve productivity and productive efficiency of the enterprise.

(g) Working with outside public – (i) securing proper enforcement of various Acts as applicable to the plant by establishing contact with factory inspectors, medical officers and other inspectors; (ii) other agencies in the community with a view to helping workers to make use of community services.

Preventive Measure # 2. Tripartite and Bipartite Bodies:

Industrial relations in India have been shaped largely by the policies and practices of tripartite and bipartite bodies. The purpose of consultative machinery is to bring the partners together for mutual settlement of differences in spirit of cooperation and goodwill. Whitely Commission in 1931 recommended for the setting up of tripartite consultation on labour matters on the pattern set by the International Labour Organisation.

The experiences of consultations between labour, management and Government led to the setting up of preliminary labour conference (later named as Indian Labour Conference) and the Standing Labour Advisory Committee (later named as Standing Labour Committee) in 1943 with the representation from Government, Labour and Management.

The objectives of ILC are:

(i) To promote uniformity in labour legislations;

(ii) To lay down a procedure for settlement of industrial disputes; and

(iii) To discuss all matters of all India importance.

The functions of ILC is to advise the Government of India on any matter referred to it for advice taking into account suggestions made by the provincial government, states and representatives of the organisations of workers and management. The Standing Labour Committee (SLC)’s main function is to “consider and examine such questions as may be referred to it by the plenary conference or the central government and to render advice taking into account the suggestions made by various governments, workers and employers.”

Other Tripartite Bodies include:

Committee on Conventions, Steering Committee on Wages Central implementation and Evaluation Machinery, Central Boards of Workers’ Education and National Productivity Council.

Bipartite Bodies:

The bipartite consultative machinery comprises two parties, viz., employees and employer, the important bipartite body is works committees.

Preventive Measure # 3. Work Committees:

Work Committees greatly contributed in prevention of industrial disputes in the industrial sector of many countries. In some countries like Britain and the U.S.A. Works Committees for Co-operation have been established as a result of collective agreements between labour unions and employers’ associations.

In countries like India, Works Committees are to be established through legislations. The establishment of Works Committees through law has the advantage of providing a uniform system with the different undertakings covered by the legislation placed on an equal footing. Legal compulsion also gives the quality of performance to the machinery, whereas a collective agreement may remain in force for a limited period.

Works Committees are represented by an equal number of representatives of each party who will constitute the Works Committee and the methods of their appointment are also laid down in agreements or enactments.

Objectives and Functions:

(I) To promote industrial goodwill.

(II) To secure cooperation from employees and employers.

(III) To ensure the cooperation of private concerns.

(IV) To provide for a popular agency for supervising the management of nationalised undertakings.

For the successful working of the Works Committees both the partners have to fulfill certain obligations. The employers are required to abstain from doing anything that is likely to hamper various facilities to workers necessary for the conduct of business. The trade unions on the committees also have to abstain from doing things that upset the operations of the undertaking.

Preventive Measure # 4. Standing Orders:

Majority of the industrial disputes are related to conditions of employment. To prevent the industrial conflicts relating to employment conditions, standing orders are formulated. It was made obligatory that standing orders should govern the conditions of employment under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act of 1946. The standing orders regulate the conditions of employment from the stage of entry to the stage of exit or retirement. Standing orders act as a code of conduct for the employees during the working life of employees as they provide do’s and do not’s.

Views of Second National Commission of Labour, 1999 on Standing Orders:

i. Establishments employing 20 or more employees should have standing orders or regulations

ii. No need to delimit the issues on which standing orders need be framed

iii. All current issues like multi-skilling, job enrichment and productivity can be added to standing orders, if two parties viz., employer and employees accept for the same

iv. Standing orders can be prepared by the employer(s) and employees/recognized unions/ federations depending upon coverage

v. In case of disagreement between the parties, disputed matter will be determined by the certifying authority having jurisdiction

vi. Appropriate Governments may prescribe model standing orders for units employing less than 50 employees

vii. Model standing orders should include classification of acts of misconduct as major and minor and the nature and gravity of the misconduct

viii. Model standing orders should be; published in the Official Gazette.

Preventive Measure # 5. Grievance Procedure:

Grievances generally arise from day-to-day working relations. Grievances of the employees are redressed by management. Management can prevent the occurrence of industrial disputes by solving the individual problems.

Preventive Measure # 6. Collective Bargaining:

Collective bargaining helps for settlement of issues and prevention of industrial disputes.

(a) Strong Trade Unions:

With the presence of stormy Trade Unions powerful bargaining power may be achieved which enables the work force to maintain harmonious relations with the management. With this they get a better deal in the hands of management. Therefore, trade union is the most suitable and effective agency to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of the workers.

(b) Labour Co-Partnership and Profit Sharing:

Good industrial relations can be maintained through proper partnership and profit sharing; employer gives a portion of total profits to workers in addition to their normal wages. This sort of attitude of management would create psychological conditions favourable for industrial peace. It also strengthens the common interest of labour and capital for efficiency in the work. It also enhances social justice. Worker feels responsible and gets a feeling of identity with business and settles all disputes.

(c) Joint Consultation:

Joint consultation involves a continuous relationship between labour and management and expects willingness of management of the participation of workers in discussing common problems of interest. This is the result of collective bargaining relations on a stable basis when parties know each other well and have got into the habit of mutual trust.

There is a tremendous scope for reducing industrial tension and improving productivity through joint consultation in industry. In the joint consultation meetings a patient hearing for workers’ problems and grievances can be given. Workers, however, should not misunderstand the co – operation extended by the management.

The important suggestions for the success of joint consultation in an organisation may be given thus:

(1) The top management should view facilities for consultation not as concessions but as opportunities to get what their people are thinking and to put over the point of view of management.

(2) Consultation should be with all levels of management.

(3) Formal procedures in consultation are very important and they should be strictly followed.

(4) The discussions should be really useful and meaningful and not merely the ventilation of minor grievances about amenities.

(5) The role of the personnel department should carefully thought so that informal access by the workers’ representatives is encouraged.

Prevention of Industrial Conflicts – 3 Main Methods Adopted by the Management in an Organization

Industrial dispute arises from a situation of disagreement, difference between labour and management in an organization. Both employer and employees become unhappy, feel uncomfortable, develop misunderstanding, mistrust. Human relation is disturbed.

Industrial scenario manifests different forms of conflicts/industrial disputes like go-slow work to rule, gherao, dharna, strikes, lockouts etc. resulting in decrease in production, profit, non-supply or less supply of goods and services, loss in business, market, creation of unemployment, pathetic economic conditions of workers, lawlessness, disorderly behaviour of workers, loss in national income and the like.

Such situation affects employers, employees and society. Country’s development is disturbed. So, all these are manifestations of unhealthy and unsound industrial relations that deter achievement of organizational goals.

Hence, for establishing harmonious industrial relations and for the growth and development of employees vis-a-vis organization, some preventive and curative/remedial measures are required to be taken, so that industrial disputes do not crop up, and in the event of raising some disputes arrangement is made to settle those disputes immediately.

Industrial disputes do not occur in an organization when both employer and employees are happy, contented and develop mutual understanding, mutual faith and confidence each other. Workers remain happy and satisfied when they get better wages, allowances, incentives, welfare benefits, fringe benefits, social security, higher quality of work life, lucrative career planning and development, status, recognition, job responsibilities, involvement, participation in decision making, good treatment from the management and the like.

Management, in order to make human resources dynamic, to produce world class quality of products and also to face stiff competition needs to create a state of congenial and healthy industrial relations, through formulation and implementation of HR policies, procedures, practices and also changing philosophy, approach and style of functioning concerning employees in organization.

The following are preventive methods of industrial disputes generally adopted by the management in organization:

Method # 1. Standing Orders:

It is one of the methods used by the management to develop mutual understanding, confidence, faith between them and workers through framing of clearly defined rules and regulations that govern terms and conditions of employment. Workers want just and fair conditions of employment and also their participation in the process of preparing terms and conditions of employment.

The rules made in this regard are ‘standing orders’. In terms of the provisions of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 the industrial establishments employing 100 or more employees shall have standing orders which covers the matters like hours of work, holidays, pay days, wage rates, shift working, attendance, termination of employment and others as mentioned in the schedule given below.

The Schedule:

Matter to be provided in the following standing orders:

1. Classification of workmen, e.g. whether permanent, temporary, apprentices, probationers or badlis.

2. Manner of intimating to workmen periods and hours of work, holidays, pay-days and wage rates.

3. Shift-working

4. Attendance and late coming

5. Conditions of procedure in applying for, and the authority which may grant leave and holidays.

6. Requirement to enter premises by certain gates and liability to search.

7. Closing or reopening of section of industrial establishment, temporary stoppage of work and the rights and liabilities of the employer and workmen arising therefrom.

8. Termination of employment and the notice thereof to be given by employer and workmen

9. Suspension or dismissal for misconduct and acts or omission which constitute misconduct.

10. Means of redress for workmen against unfair treatment or wrongful exaction by the employer or his agents or servants.

11. Any other matter which may be prescribed.

The certified standing orders are the terms and conditions of service between the employer and his employees. Before certification of the standing orders, the certifying officer sends a copy of the draft standing orders received from the employer, to the trade union of the workmen along with a notice for submission of objection if any, in the prescribed manner, and gives the opportunity to the trade union of being heard of objection for addition / modifications to the standing orders. After this, certifying officer certifies the draft standing orders with the modifications, if any.

The standing orders act as preventive method of industrial disputes for the following:

(i) Most of the issues that generate industrial disputes relate to terms and conditions of service of employees which are incorporated in the standing orders. If, the terms and conditions of service are conducive and favourable to the employees, they heartily accept them. Employees become happy and contented with the standing orders.

(ii) Trade union is given opportunity of being heard of his suggestion / objection for modification, addition before certification is made. So, workers develop a sense of involvement, partnership feeling and participation in the process of formulating rules and regulations by the management.

(iii) Standing orders make the employees committed, loyal to the organization as this manifests employer’s positive intention towards employees.

(iv) Workers’ level of job satisfaction and morale are enhanced, as they feel satisfied on the matter like job, promotion, working conditions, pay etc. which are incorporated in the standing orders.

(v) Better terms and conditions of service of employees promote quality of work life (QWL), provide scope for advancement, develop systematic / rational evaluation of performance, improve core components of human resources and create changes in attitudinal dimensions of employees. All this makes a dynamic workforce to face, accept and confront challenges for betterment and development of people vis-a-vis organization.

(vi) In a situation, when workers are provided comfort, convenience, amelioration through formulation of excellent standing orders congenial and conducive state of organizational climate prevails. This brings industrial harmony and peace.

(vii) Interactions between employer and employees become positive / comfortable when employees find favourable standing orders. Both the parties come close and develop mutual understanding, faith and confidence. This makes the employer-employees relations / human relations solid and healthy.

Method # 2. Code of Discipline:

It is a preventive method used to bring harmony and peace in the industry. Simply, code of discipline means a set of regulations or principles that control and promote discipline. This code of discipline is exercised to regulate and promote the conduct of both workers and management.

The norms and rules are framed and followed by management and workers to restrict and improve their behaviour in order to develop mutual understanding, mutual confidence and faith between themselves. It is felt that through enactment of labour legislations, labour-management relations cannot be improved. The most essential requirement is, therefore, to frame some mutually agreed norms / rules of conduct which both management and workers should follow.

The importance of mutually agreed code was discussed in the Second Five Year Plan and it suggested that voluntary code of discipline be framed and followed by the management and labour in the industry. The matter was raised in the Sixteenth Indian Labour Conference in 1957, to follow the principles by employees and employers for maintaining and improving discipline in industry and so, code of discipline was evolved.

The central trade union organizations i.e. Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) on behalf of workers and the employers’ association i.e. Employers’ Federation of India (EFI), All India Organization of Industrial Employers (AIOIE) and All India Manufacturers’ Organization (AIMO) on behalf of employers accepted the code. The code of discipline came into effect form 1st June 1958.

The code of discipline helps to prevent industrial disputes and brings harmony in industry.

This is clear and justified from the following:

i. Since the necessity to frame rules/norms to improve behaviour, discipline is felt spontaneously both by employers and employees and code of discipline is accepted by them, they honour the code. This prevents the industrial disputes to crop up.

ii. The code of discipline is based on mutuality of principles that results in development of mutual understanding, mutual trust and mutual confidence amongst management and workers in the industry.

iii. Attitudinal changes amongst workers and management occur. Both the parties feel the importance of continuing uninterrupted production and services. So, industrial unrest and conflict do not crop up.

iv. Code of discipline facilitates creation of conducive, congenial environment in organization. This brings harmony and peace in the industry.

v. A state of co-operation, ‘we-feeling’ ‘togetherness’ exists which unites the workers and management to work as members of one family / unit. This situation avoids conflict, disputes, disagreement, and differences.

vi. Since both the parties agree to abide by the rules, norms of discipline, they honour the code and ensure that the number of work stoppages, cases of go-slow / work to rule, lockouts and other forms of industrial disputes are reduced.

vii. Cases of intimidation, coercion, threat, gherao, physical assault, unfair labour practice, victimization do not occur.

viii. Disputes are settled at the earliest. Collective bargaining and grievance procedure mechanism are used to ventilate grievances / issues.

The code of discipline, as evolved by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, has four facets of code which the parties are required to follow in order to maintain discipline and to ensure better discipline in industry.

These are given below:

a. To Maintain Discipline in Industry (Both in Public and Private Sectors):

There has to be –

(i) A just recognition by employers and workers of the rights and responsibilities of either party as defined by the laws and agreements (including bi-partite and tri­partite agreement arrived at all levels from time to time) and

(ii) A proper and willing discharge by either party of its obligations consequent on such recognition.

The Central and State Governments, on their part, will arrange to examine and set right any shortcomings in the machinery they constitute for the administration of labour laws.

b. To Ensure Better Discipline in Industry Management and Union Agree:

(i) That no unilateral action should be taken in connection with any industrial matter and that disputes should be settled at appropriate level.

(ii) That the existing machinery for settlement of disputes should be utilized with the utmost expedition.

(iii) That there should be no strike or lockout without notice.

(iv) That affirming their faith in democratic principles, they bind themselves to settle all future differences, disputes and grievances by mutual negotiations, conciliation and voluntary arbitration, provided that the provision regarding voluntary arbitration as aforesaid shall not apply to cases involving security consideration.

(v) that neither party will have recourse to – (a) coercion (b) intimidation (c) victimization or (d) go-slow.

(vi) That they will avoid – (a) litigation (b) sit-down and stay in strikes and (c) lockouts.

(vii) That they will promote constructive co-operation between their representatives at all levels.

(viii) That they will establish, upon a mutually agreed basis, a grievance procedure which will ensure a speedy and full investigation leading to settlement.

(ix) That they will abide by various stages in the grievance procedure and take up no arbitrary action which would by-pass this procedure and

(x) That they will educate the management personnel and workers regarding their obligations to each other.

c. Management Agrees:

(i) Not to increase work-loads unless agreed upon or settled otherwise

(ii) Not to support or encourage any unfair labour practice such as – (a) interference with the right of employees to enroll or continue as union members (b) discrimination, restraint or coercion against any employee because of recognised activity of trade unions and (c) victimization of any employee and abuse of authority in any form

(iii) To take prompt action for (a) settlement of grievances, and (b) implementation of settlements, awards, decisions and orders

(iv) To display in conspicuous places in the undertaking the provision of this code in the local language,

(v) To distinguish between action justifying immediate discharge and those where discharge must be proceeded by a warning, reprimand, suspension or some other form of disciplinary action should be subject to an appeal through normal grievance procedure,

(vi) To take appropriate disciplinary action against its officers and members in cases where enquiries reveal that they were responsible to precipitate action by workers leading to indiscipline, and

(vii) To recognise the union in accordance with the criteria evolved at the 16th session of the Indian Labour Conference held in May 1958.

d. Unions Agree:

(i) Not to engage in any form of physical duress,

(ii) Not to permit demonstrations which are not peaceful and not to permit rowdism in demonstration,

(iii) That their members will not engage or cause other employees to engage in any union activity during working hours, unless as provided for by law agreement or practice,

(iv) To discourage unfair labour practices such as (a) negligence of duty (b) careless operation (c) damage to property (d) interference with or disturbance to normal work and (e) insubordination,

(v) To take prompt action to implement awards, agreement, settlements and decisions,

(vi) To display in conspicuous places in the union offices, the provisions of this code in the local language and

(vii) To express disapproval and to take appropriate action against office bearers and members for indulging in action against the spirit of the code.

The code does not have any legal sanction but, the central employers’ and workers’ organizations take steps against their members who breach the code. Such steps include (a) asking the members to explain infringement of provisions of the code (b) giving notice to set right the infringement (c) warning or censuring the erring member, disaffiliating the member organization, wide publicity for breach of the code by any member.

The National Commission on Labour in its Report (1969) expressed displeasure about acceptance and compliance of the code by the parties. Lack of whole hearted support by the parties to comply with the provisions of the code was also noticed by the Commission. The Commission desired to give legal shape to some provisions of the code like recognition of union, unfair labour practice, grievance procedure, voluntary arbitration and other.

Method # 3. Tripartite Bodies:

Tripartite bodies formed with the representatives of employers’ organizations, employees’ organizations and Government to study the industrial relations climate of different industries and help to ensure peace and harmony in industries.

Such tripartite bodies include Indian Labour Conference (ILC), Standing Labour Committee (SLC), Committee on Conventions, Industrial Committee and other tripartite committees like Steering Committee on Wages, Central Implementation and Evaluation Machinery, Central Board of Workers’ Education, National Productivity Council and others.

1. Indian Labour Conference:

This is the highest tripartite body that deliberates upon the issues relating to labour-management relations jointly and finds solution to advise the central government in the matter referred by the government.

The objectives of ILC are:

i. To develop mutual understanding between the members of employers’ organizations and employees’ organizations and to establish rapport with the government.

ii. To eliminate differences between parties and to work effectively as a team to suggest the government to take measures for bringing healthy industrial relations.

iii. To consider the issues referred to it by the government from the overall view point of country’s economic development that mostly depends on uninterrupted production arising out of a situation of congenial and conducive industrial climate.

iv. To study the different aspects of industrial relations and to evolve measures in industry.

2. Standing Labour Committee:

This tripartite body makes discreet study of the issues referred to it and gives suggestion to the government keeping in view the necessities of maintaining and promoting peace and harmony in industry and healthy industrial relations as well. Some of the issues for which it submitted suggestions in the recent past include bonded labour, employment, vocational training, child labour etc.

3. Committee on Convention:

This committee helps to prevent industrial disputes through different measures like providing various benefits of international standard to the workers. Its main function is to see which ILO conventions remain unratified by the government and to submit suggestion for ratification and implementation.

4. Industrial Committee:

This committee is constituted with the representatives of employers’ organizations, employees’ organizations and government. It has equal number of representatives from the employers’ organization and employees’ organization. Indian Labour Conference acts as coordinator between industrial committee and the government on the issues referred to this committee.

The main objectives of industrial committee include:

i. To give suggestion on the specific issues to the ILC to make thorough discussion / deliberation and give its view on the proposals for legislation and other policy and administration issues

ii. To see the aspects that prevent industrial disputes on the issues referred to it and to submit suggestions

5. Other Tripartite Committees:

Some of the tripartite Committees are discussed below:

i. Steering Committee on Wages:

This committee is formed with the representatives of employers, workers, State Governments and an economist. Its main function is to study the price structure of different products, production aspects, wage matter etc. It acts as a research body and prepares report through survey work.

Different authorities appointed for wage fixation and other bodies, institutions may take the help from the findings of the survey work carried out by this committee. This committee helps to prevent disputes arising out of wage issues by way of giving the real situation / actual information with regard to production, price of goods and the wages paid by the organization. Employers’ capacity to pay and also the rationality/ justifiability of workers’ demand for wages can be ascertained from the report of this committee.

ii. Central Implementation and Evaluation Machinery:

The necessity for setting up of Implementation and Evaluation Division in the Centre was felt at the Standing Labour Committee Session in 1958, as industrial harmony and peace was disturbed due to non-implementation of some settlements, awards by some employers in industries.

In order to prevent disputes and to establish congenial industrial relations, Implementation and Evaluation Division in the centre was set up under the Ministry of Labour. So, tripartite committee was constituted with equal number of representatives (i.e., 4 representatives from each party) from the employers’ organizations and workers’ organizations and government.

Area of Functioning:

The activities of this machinery include:

a. To see the extent of implementation of awards, code of discipline, settlements etc., and ensure implementation

b. To find out cause of non-implementation of agreed issues and to take measures for implementation

c. To settle the long pending issues

d. To find out genesis of strikes, lockouts and other forms of industrial conflicts and to fix up the responsibilities

e. To ascertain the efficacy of labour laws, policies, settlements etc. and to suggest measures to remove the weak areas

f. To build up harmonious industrial relations through avoidance/prevention of disputes.

Implementation and Evaluation Division and tripartite committees are also set up in the states with the objectives of preventing disputes in state industries.

iii. National Productivity Council (NPC):

This council is constituted with the members of workers’ organizations, employers’ organizations, some independent experts and the government.

The objectives of NPC are given below:

a. To study the trend of production and productivity of workers

b. To give the information as to the level of production of workers and to suggest measure to improve production

c. To encourage workers to increase production and .productivity

d. To help strengthen collective bargaining process by supplying correct information of production to workers trade unions

e. To help increase wages so as to avoid disputes arising out of wage issues.

iv. Central Board of Workers’ Education:

This tripartite body headed by a Chairman (nominated by the government) consists of representatives from central trade unions, employers’ organizations, Central Government, State Governments, University Grants Commission, Indian Adult Education Association, and one independent trade unionist nominated by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The main objective of the Board is to educate the workers and trade union leaders, so that they can realize their duties, rights and responsibilities and develop understanding between them and their superiors.

The board’s area of activities include:

a. To change the attitudes of worker to accept / adopt the work environment through education and training

b. To acquaint them with organization culture, philosophy, policies, procedures, rules, regulations, so that they can perform better

c. To make the workers know their job roles, leave rules, standing orders, disciplinary matter etc.

d. To develop ‘a sense of belongingness’, ‘we feeling’, ‘togetherness’ amongst the workers through counselling, participation in workshops, interactive processes.

e. To educate the workers, so that they are not biased to union decision and can judge the real situation.

f. To impart training to the trade union leaders to improve their ability, skill to understand their importance as representatives of workers in organization as also as role players to develop the organisation.

g. To make the workers/trade unions know the basic things that they grow with the growth of the organization, and they exist if, the organization exists.

h. To motivate the workers so that they can feel the importance of trade union and can take part in constructive activities.

The Board, thus, plays an important role to prevent industrial disputes.

Other Preventive Measures:

1. Trade Unions Activities:

Trade Unions play the key role in shaping the pattern of industrial relations through its activities. The attitudes of trade union leaders, their belief, value structure, financial position of trade unions, leadership competences, unity and solidarity amongst members, degree and extent of unionism etc., decide the climatic conditions of work culture as also labour- management relations in the industry.

Sound and solid trade union, positive mind-set of the union leaders, dynamic leadership, attitude to accept changes, constructive and ‘as-the- situations demand’ trade unionism help the leaders develop rapport with the management. All this facilitates to establish harmonious industrial relations and to avoid conflicts in industry.

2. Employers’/Management Activities:

Employers’ attitude, philosophy, style of functioning perception, value structure, approaches to IRs etc. reflect in dealing with workers’ problems, grievances. Dynamism in employers’ thinking process and activities, formulating and developing positive HR/IR policies, welfare and social security measures, introduction of HRD mechanism etc. manifest conducive, comfortable climate and activities in the industrial set up.

Under the above situations, both workers and management do not resort to unfair labour practice. Further, cases of strikes, lockouts, layoffs, retrenchment, withdrawal of any concessionary benefits, changing service conditions of workers do not occur. However, workers’ / trade unions’ and management / employer’s activities that tend to occur such above situations are regulated by the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. This Act helps the parties to change their behavioural pattern and establish good relations between them

3. Works Committees:

This committee is constituted in the industrial establishments where 100 or more workers are employed. This is a statutory committee setup under the Industrial Disputes Act 1947, with the equal number or workers’ and employer’s representatives. Though the setting up of this committee is statutory obligation, recommendations of the committee are not legally binding.

The main objectives of the works committee are given below:

(i) To create a climate of mutual understanding, mutual faith and mutual confidence so as to establish harmonious industrial relations

(ii) To see that industrial disputes do not occur

(iii) To remove the differences between management and workers / trade unions in respect of issues / problems

(iv) To develop clear perceptions on the issues, so that no disputes arise out of misperception

(v) To promote better human relations between the representatives

(vi) To introduce a system of industrial democracy where both parties interact/participate

(vii) To settle dispute through joint discussion, open deliberation.

This committee discusses / deals with day to day issues and other issues like bonus, welfare and social security, terms of conditions of service, employment conditions, working conditions etc. and develops congenial and conducive atmosphere of work that prevents disputes to crop up.

4. Joint Management Council (JMC):

It is one of the methods used to prevent disputes in industry. This is a joint consultative / deliberative body constituted with the equal representatives of workers and management with the objectives of maintaining peace and harmony in industry through disposal of grievances / issues of the workers at the earliest possible time. In this council workers’ representatives are taken from recognised union.

The necessity for setting up of joint management council in industry came from the following:

a. Strategic vision of the government to move towards socialistic pattern of society where workers’ participation/ involvement in industrial management was needed

b. Recommendation of Indian Labour Conference (ILC) for workers’ participation in 1957

c. Industrial Policy Resolution statement

d. Importance of participation / association of workers given in the Second Five Year Plan

e. Report of the Study Croup wherein formation of JMC was recommended

f. ILC’s approval for setting up of JMCs in industries in 1957.

First JMC was set up in 1958 with the following objectives:

(i) To consult, discuss and suggest the issues which are not individual issues and also the issues not included in the agenda for collective bargaining

(ii) To help in the administration of standing orders, bi-partite settlements and to discuss in the matter of strikes, closures etc.

(iii) To assist the management for smooth running and non- interrupted production of organization

(iv) To help the management to introduce new techniques, methods, devices in organization so that it can cope with the changing situation

(v) To develop a feeling of being part of management that increases workers’ morale and change in attitude.