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CONCILIATION PROCEEDINGS UNDER ‘THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS CODE, 2020’

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CONCILIATION PROCEEDINGS UNDER ‘THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS CODE, 2020’
By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN
April 21, 2021
All Articles by: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN       View Profile
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Settlement

Section 2(zi) of the Code defines the term ‘settlement’ as a settlement arrived at in the course of conciliation proceeding and includes a written agreement between the employer and worker arrived at otherwise than in the course of conciliation proceeding where such agreement has been signed by the parties thereto in such manner as may be prescribed and a copy thereof has been sent to an officer authorized in this behalf by the appropriate Government and to the conciliation officer.

Conciliation officer

Section 43 provides that the appropriate Government may, by notification, appoint such number of persons, as it thinks fit to be conciliation officers, charged with the duty of mediating in and promoting the settlement of industrial disputes.  A conciliation officer may be appointed for a specified area or for specified industries in a specified area or for one or more specified industries and either permanently or for a limited period.

The Conciliation Officer shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code.

Powers of Conciliation Officer

The following are the powers of Conciliation Officer provided in the Code-

  • The conciliation officer shall follow such procedure as conciliation officer may deem fit.
  • A conciliation officer may, for the purpose of inquiry into any existing or apprehended industrial dispute, after giving reasonable notice, enter the premises occupied by any establishment to which the dispute relates.
  • A conciliation officer may enforce the attendance of any person for the purpose of examination of such person or call for and inspect any document which he has ground for considering to be relevant to the industrial dispute or to be necessary for the purpose of verifying the implementation of any award or carrying out any other duty imposed on him under this Code, and for the aforesaid purposes, the conciliation officer shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him or of compelling the production of documents.

Limitation

The Conciliation Officer shall not hold any such proceedings relating to the industrial dispute after two years from the date on which such industrial dispute arose.

Application to conciliation

The worker who is aggrieved by the decision of the Grievance Redressal Committee or whose grievance is not resolved in the said Committee within 30 days, may, within a period of sixty days from the date of the decision of the Grievance Redressal Committee or from the date on which the period of 30 days expires, file an application for the conciliation of such grievance to the conciliation officer through the Trade Union, of which he is a member, in such manner as may be prescribed.

Procedure

The following is the procedure prescribed in the Code for the conduct of conciliation proceeding-

  • Where any industrial dispute exists or is apprehended or a notice under section 62 (strike) has been given, the conciliation officer shall, hold conciliation proceedings in such manner as may be prescribed
  • The conciliation officer shall, for the purpose of bringing about a settlement of the dispute, without delay, investigate the dispute and all matters affecting the merits and right settlement thereof.
  • The Conciliation Officer may do all such things as he thinks fit for the purpose of inducing the parties to come to a fair and amicable settlement of the dispute.
  • If a settlement of the dispute or of any of the matters in dispute is arrived at in the course of the conciliation proceedings, the conciliation officer shall send a report thereof to the appropriate Government or an officer authorized in this behalf by the appropriate Government together with a memorandum of the settlement signed by the parties to the dispute.
  • If no such settlement is arrived at, the conciliation officer shall, as soon as practicable, after the close of the investigation, send to the concerned parties and to the appropriate Government a full report, in the electronic or other form as may be prescribed, setting forth the steps taken by him for ascertaining the facts and circumstances relating to the dispute and for bringing about a settlement thereof, together with a full statement of such facts and circumstances, and the reasons on account of which, in his opinion, a settlement could not be arrived at.
  • The Conciliation Officer shall send the report to the concerned parties and the appropriate Government within 45 days of the commencement of the conciliation proceedings or within such shorter period as may be fixed by the appropriate Government.
  • Where a conciliation officer receives notice under section 62, he shall send the report to the concerned parties and to the appropriate Government within 14 days of the commencement of the conciliation proceedings.
  • Subject to the approval of the conciliation officer, the time may be extended by such period as may be agreed upon in writing by the concerned parties to the dispute.

Binding of settlement

A settlement arrived at by agreement between the employer and worker otherwise than in the course of conciliation proceeding shall be binding on the parties to the agreement.

Commencement of proceedings

A conciliation proceeding shall be deemed to have commenced on the date on which the first meeting is held by the conciliation officer in an industrial dispute after the receipt of the notice of strike or lock-out by the conciliation officer.

Conclusion of proceedings

A conciliation proceeding shall be deemed to have concluded-

  • where a settlement is arrived at, when a memorandum of the settlement is signed by the parties to the dispute;
  • where no settlement is arrived at, and failure of conciliation is recorded by the conciliation officer; or
  • when a reference is made to a National Industrial Tribunal, under this Code, during the pendency of conciliation proceedings.

Strike

No person employed in an industrial establishment shall go on strike, in breach of contract during the pendency of any conciliation proceedings before a conciliation officer and 7 days after the conclusion of such proceedings.

Lock out

No employer of an industrial establishment shall lock-out any of his workers during the pendency of any conciliation proceedings before a conciliation officer and 7 days after the conclusion of such proceedings.

Application to Tribunal

Any concerned party may make application in the prescribed form to the Tribunal in the matters not settled by the conciliation officer under this section within 90 days from the date on which the report is received to the concerned party. The Tribunal shall decide such application in the prescribed manner.

Any worker may, make an application directly to the Tribunal for adjudication of the dispute referred to therein after the expiry of forty-five days from the date he has made the application to the conciliation officer of the appropriate Government for conciliation of the dispute, and on receipt of such application the Tribunal shall have powers and jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the dispute.

 

By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN - April 21, 2021

 

 

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