Voluntary Arbitration as a Method of Industrial Dispute Resolution

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Section 10 A of industrial dispute act makes provisions for voluntary reference of dispute to arbitration- a critical study INTRODUCTION:
This section was inserted by S 8 of the Industrial Dispute (Amendment and miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1956 and it was enacted with the object of enabling employees to voluntarily refer their disputes to arbitration themselves by a written agreement and for the enforcement of agreements between them reached otherwise then in the course of conciliation proceedings. Industrial Dispute means any dispute or difference between employer 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, or any person. The Scope the definition of Industrial Dispute is very wide. The words employment and non employment in the definition are of widest amplitude and have been but in juxtaposition to make the definition comprehensive. Any dispute concerned with employment or non-employment’ constitute the subject matter of one class or industrial disputes. The matters which can form subject matter industrial dispute are enumerated in Second, Third and Fourth Schedule given at the end of Industrial Dispute Act. There are two types of Industrial Disputes-interest disputes and rights disputes. Interest disputes relate to determination of new wage level and other condition of employment while rights disputes on the other hand relate to interpretation and application of existing standards and usually involve and individual worker or group of workers. Under category of rights disputes, claim is made that the workmen have not been treated in accordance with the rules, individual contracts of employment, laws and regulations and as per collective agreements. Such disputes are also described as grievance disputes. Such grievances may be regarding retrenchment ,dismissal, payment of wages, working time, overtime, demotion , promotion, transfer, seniority, job classification, work rules and fulfillment of obligation relating to safety and health laid down in an agreement. The definition of Industrial Dispute as given in the Act has a wide coverage. All disputes relating to employment or non- employment, or the terms of employment or with the condition of labour are covered under the definition. Settlement means a settlement arrived at in the course of conciliation proceeding and included a written agreement between employer and workmen arrived at otherwise than in course conciliation proceeding where such agreement has been signed by the parties there to in such manner as may be prescribed and a copy thereof has been sent to the officer authorized in this behalf by the appropriate government and the conciliation officer. The definition envisages two categories of settlement:

(1) Settlement arrived at in the course of conciliation; and (2) Settlement arrived at privately or otherwise than in the course of conciliation. The settlement arrived at in the course of conciliation stand on a higher plane than the settlements arrived at otherwise than in the course of conciliation. The legal effect of both these settlements is not identical. The settlement arrived at otherwise than in the course conciliation binds only the parties to settlement and none else. In any case it does not stand on higher plane than the settlements arrived at in the conciliation and that makes the two distinct and different from each other.

The requirements of sub- section (I) are:
i)There should be an existing or apprehended industrial dispute; ii)The reference to arbitration should be by a written agreement; iii)The reference should be made before the dispute has been referred under S 10 to a labour court, an industrial tribunal or national tribunal and iv)The names of the person or persons to act as arbitrator or arbitrators must be specified in...
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