Voluntary Arbitration as a Method of Industrial Dispute Resolution - a Critical Analysis

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Voluntary Arbitration as a method of Industrial Dispute Resolution - A Critical Analysis


❑ Introduction
❑ Provision Of Section – 10-A of I.D. Act, 1947
❑ Reference To An Arbitrator
❑ Arbitrator: Whether a Tribunal
❑ Civil Suit Barred
❑ Arbitral Award And Its Finality
❑ Role Of Umpire
❑ Publication Of The Arbitration Agreement
❑ Jurisdiction Of Arbitrator
❑ Employers And Workmen Who Are Not Parties
❑ Prohibition To Continuance Of Strikes And Lockouts ❑ Exclusion Of The Arbitration Act,1996
❑ Criticism of Voluntary Arbitration
❑ Conclusion
❑ Bibliography


Labour-management relations are the most important relation in any establishment. Both the parties, i.e. labour and management constantly strive to maximize their preferred values by applying resources to institutions. The objectives of labour and management are not amenable to easy reconciliation. Labour and management are interested in augmenting their respective income and improving their power position. Since, however, the resources are limited, interest of one party conflicts with the other. Further, the means adopted to achieve the objective, which varies from simple negotiation to economic warfare adversely, affects the community’s interests in maintaining an uninterrupted and high level of production. Nevertheless, they have to strive to reach a position where both the parties are satisfied, (its not necessary that the parties are always satisfied, sometimes one of the parties have to sacrifice) and that can also be done by one of the process i.e. voluntary arbitration, which the subject of my paper.

Hence, to protect the interest of the community and also that of labour and management legislature has found it necessary to intervene in labour- management relations, resulting in the creation the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, which provides for the constitution of various authorities to preserve industrial harmony. The various machineries for investigation and settlement of industrial disputes under the Act are 1. Conciliation

2. Court of enquiry
3. Adjudication, and
4. Voluntary arbitration.
It is one of the effective modes of settlement of industrial dispute, which supplements collective bargaining.


Section 10A of Industrial Dispute Act 1947 has added the jurisdiction of arbitrator besides the labour courts and tribunals. This section talks of voluntary Arbitration, which provides:

Voluntary reference of disputes to arbitration

1) Where any industrial dispute exists or is apprehended and the employer and the workmen agree to refer the dispute to arbitration, they may, at any time before the dispute has been referred under section 10 to a Labour Court or Tribunal or National Tribunal, by a written agreement, refer the dispute to arbitration and the reference shall be to such person or persons (including the presiding officer of a Labour Court or Tribunal or National Tribunal) as an arbitrator or arbitrators as may be specified in the arbitration agreement.

(1A) Where an arbitration agreement provides for a reference of the dispute to an even number of arbitrators, the agreement shall provide for the appointment of another person as umpire who shall enter upon the reference, if the arbitrators are equally divided in their opinion, and the award of the umpire shall prevail and shall be deemed to be the arbitration award for the purpose of this Act.]

2) An arbitration agreement referred to in sub-section (1) shall be in such form and shall be signed by the parties thereto in such manner as may be prescribed.

3) A copy of the arbitration agreement shall be forwarded to the appropriate Government and the conciliation officer and the appropriate Government shall, within 1[one month] from the date of the receipt of such 4 publish...
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