collective bargaining in india

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Collective bargaining in INDIA


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Collective bargaining in india:

Collective bargaining in india

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Subject matter of industrial adjudication since long & has been defined by our Law Courts. In Karol Leather Karamchari Sangathan Liberty Footwear Company the Supreme Court observed that, "Collective bargaining is a technique by which dispute as to conditions of employment is resolved amicably by agreement rather than coercion ."

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According to the Court, the Industrial Disputes Act , 1947 seeks to achieve social justice on the basis of collective bargaining. In an earlier judgment in Titagarh Jute Co. Ltd. Sriram Tiwari , the Calcutta High Court clarified that this policy of the legislature is also implicit in the definition of ‘industrial dispute'.

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In Ram Prasad Viswakarma Industrial Tribunal the Court observed that, "It is well known how before the days of ‘collective bargaining', labour was at a great disadvantage in obtaining reasonable terms for contracts of service from its employer. As TUs developed in the country & Collective bargaining became the rule, the employers found it necessary & convenient to deal with the representatives of workmen, instead of individual workmen not only for the making or modification of contracts but in the matter of taking disciplinary action against one or more workmen and as regards of other disputes."

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In Bharat Iron Works Bhagubhai Balubhai Patel , it was held that “CB, being the order of the day in the democratic ,social welfare State , legitimate trade union activities, which must shun all kinds of physical threats, coercion or violence, must march with a spirit of tolerance , understanding & grace in dealings on the part of the employer. Such activities can flow in healthy channel only on mutual cooperation between the employer and the employees and cannot be considered as irksome by the management in the best interests of its business.

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Dialogue with representatives of a union help striking a delicate balance in adjustments & settlement of various contentious claims and issues." These definitions only bring out the basic element in the concept i.e., civilized confrontation between employers and employees and the whole process is regulated by statutory provisions.

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CB - reflection of a particular social and political climate. The history of the TU movement shows that union are affiliated to one or the other political parties . As a result most of the trade unions are controlled by outsiders. Critic says that the presence of outsiders , is one of the important reasons for the failure of CB in India.

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The Trade Unions Act, 1926, permits outsiders to be the office bearers of a union to the extent of half the total number of office bearers. So, it permits one to be the leader of the union who does not actually work in the industry. Sometimes a dismissed employee working as a union leader may create difficulties in the relationship btn the union and the employer.

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Nevertheless, experience shows that outsiders who have little knowledge of the background of labour problems, history of labour movement, fundamentals of trade unionism & the technique of the industry & with even little general education assume the charge of labour union & become the self-appointed custodian of the welfare of workers. The employers, therefore, have been reluctant to discuss and negotiate industrial matters with outsiders, who have no personal or direct knowledge of day to day affairs of the industry.

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COMMISSION ON LABOUR Overlooked this - does not favour a legal ban on non-employees for holding the union office Says that without creating conditions for building up the internal leadership, a complete banning of outsiders would only make unions weaker . Hopes that Internal leadership would develop through their education & training. Accordingly the Commission suggests proportion of the outsiders and the workers in a union executive. On realising the problems of outsiders in the Union, the Industrial Relations Bill, 1988 proposes to reduce the number of outsiders to two only .


POLITICIZATION OF TRADE-UNION MOVEMENT IN INDIA Well known - TU movement in India is divided on political lines & exists on patronage of various political Parties. Most TU organizations - aligned themselves with a political party - with whom they find philosophically close. INTUC is considered to be the labour wing of congress , H.M.S . is considered to be the labour wing of Socialist party . Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh pledges its allegiance to B.J.P . C.I.T.U. has the support of C.P.I. (M).

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Case with the AITUC - started as a national organization of workers - came to control of the Communist Party of India - now it's official labour wing. Political patronage of TUs has given a new direction to the movement whose centre of gravity is no longer the employees or workmen . The centre has shifted towards it leadership whose effectiveness is determined by the extent of political patronage and the consequent capacity to obtain the benefit.

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Centre Of Gravity Political patronage Not Employees / Workmen Leadership Worker’s votes Benefits Though Co’s @ loss

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Public sector - the biggest employer in this country, the collective bargaining -between the union patronized by the party-in-power and the employer has become an important methodology. Bcoz of this - agreements conferring benefits are signed - though units were mounting financial losses. Experience - in spite of wage increase & improved conditions of service, - no corresponding improvement in production or the productivity.

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Losses passed on to the consumers - increasing prices of the products. Justice Gupta in his, ‘Our Industrial Jurisprudence’ made the following observations:“If our experience is any guide, it reveals that Ievel of increase in wages etc., ( in public sector undertaking )is now decided by the Bureau of Public Enterprises which takes into consideration only the Political impact and 'Consumer resistence ' as two dominant factors.

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Reason why the prices of almost all products of necessity ( coal, iron and steel, cement, sugar etc.) have been constantly increasing . A survey of pending and decided industrial disputes of the last 10 years reveals that there was virtually no industrial dispute regarding wage structure or bonus in any industry of some significance

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There are also not many CB agreements which have tried to link wages with productivity. Clearly,therefore, the basic idea of ‘sharing the prosperity' which developed because of our commitment to the cause of 'social justice' is no longer current and the expected end product of the process of ' social justice ' is no longer expected. "

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CB wont succeed unless the threat of strike/lockout - in the back-ground. Strike and lock-out are the weapons used by both the parties daring the CB process. Without having these weapons at hands, neither of the party to the dispute can defeat the claim of the other. The peculiar feature of our country compared to the advanced nations of the world is the economic conditions of the workers is very poor & as a result they can not afford a long-standing strike


suggestions Recognition of TU has to be determined (verification of fee membership method). The union having more membership should be recognised as the effective bargaining agent. The State should enact suitable legislation providing for compulsory recognition of trade union by employers. Section 22 of the Trade Unions Act, 1926 should be amended. The provision for political fund by TUs has to be done away with-since it invariably encourages the politicians to prey upon the union. State has to play a progressive role in removing the pitfalls which stand in the way of mutual, amicable and voluntary settlement of labour disputes.

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