Monday, 18 May 2015

National Commission on Labour

The National Commission on Labour (NCL) was set up in 1966 to study the industrial relations situation in the country and to make recommendations for improvement. The recommendations of the National Commission on Labour which had far reaching implications on labour policy in different areas have been briefly discussed below:
 a) Strikes / Lockouts and Gheraos: The NCL categorised industries as „essential‟ and „non-essential‟ for the purpose of strikes and lockouts, and made the following recommendations: i. In essential industries / services, where a cessation of work may cause harm to the community, the economy or the security of the nation itself, the right to strike may be banned, but with the simultaneous provision of an effective alternative like arbitration or adjudication to settle disputes. ii. In non-essential industries, a maximum period of one month has to be fixed for the continuance of a strike or lockout. After the lapse of this period, the dispute has automatically to go before the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) for arbitration.

b) Industrial Relations Commission: The NCL recommended the constitution of Industrial Relations Commission, on a permanent basis, both at the state level and the Centre. → One of the principal reasons for suggesting these commissions is the desire to eliminate the possibility of political influence disturbing or distorting industrial peace in the country.

c) Resolution of Industrial Disputes: The National Commission on labour belt that the best way of settling industrial disputes is through negotiation between the parties.

d) Recognition of Trade Union:  The National Commission on Labour felt that statutory recognition should be granted to a representative union as a sole bargaining agent. For this, the following guidelines need to be observed:
 Recognition of a representative union should be made compulsory under a Central Law in all undertakings employing 100 or more workers or where the capital invested is above a stipulated size. A trade union seeking recognition as a bargaining agent from an individual employer should have a membership of at least 30 percent of the workers in the establishment. The minimum membership should be 25 percent if the recognition is sought for an industry in a local area.

e) Strengthening of Trade Unions: The trade unions should be made strong, organizationally and financially. Multiplicity of unions and intra-union rivalries should be discouraged by:
1. Providing compulsory registration of unions;
2. Raising the minimum number required for forming a union;
3. Raising the minimum membership fee;
4. Reduction in the number of outsiders; and 5. Taking steps to build internal leadership.

f) Collective Bargaining: The Commission found that collective bargaining did not make any progress in the country because of absence of arrangements for statutory recognition of trade unions, except in some states, and greater reliance on adjudication. The Commission recommended strengthening of collective bargaining through the following measures:
1. In order to enable employees to effectively participate in the process of collective bargaining, they should be well organised and trade unions must become strong and stable.
2. To facilitate collective bargaining, there should be compulsory recognition of a union as sole representative for the purpose of bargaining with the management.

g) Grievance Procedure: The NCL recommended that statutory backing should be provided for the formulation of an effective grievance procedure, which should be simple, flexible, less cumbersome and more or less on the lines of the Model Grievance Procedure. It should be time-bound and have a limited number of steps, say, approach to the supervisor, then to the departmental head, and thereafter a reference to the grievance committee consisting of management and union representatives. A formal grievance procedure should be introduced in each unit employing 100 or more workers.