Economy

Workers may soon raise industrial disputes online

Workers across the country may no longer have to knock on the doors of the Labour Commissioner’s office to raise an industrial dispute against their employers as the process will soon go online.

The Labour and Employment Ministry has proposed an electronic process for workers to raise an industrial dispute with their management for retrenchment, lay-off or complaint arising out of a change in working conditions, under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

“With the aim to achieve the objectives of simplifying procedures for raising industrial disputes by individual workers or trade unions, easily, hassle-free and quickly, two proforma are developed for filing of industrial disputes online by workmen or trade unions under Section 2-A and Section 2-K of the ID Act, 1947,” a Labour Ministry circular dated July 18 said. The Ministry has invited public comments on the draft online form for 15 days.

The Ministry said that the move would help workers or trade unions to raise a dispute “without any outside help.”

Workers would get an alert through SMS on the status of their complaint, under the new facility. The online medium would initially be launched in English and Hindi and “gradually” be available in all the scheduled languages, according to the circular.

Industrial dispute is defined under the ID Act as any dispute arising between employers and workers or between group of workers related to employment, terms of employment or in case of retrenchment and termination of service. A worker can raise a dispute before a conciliation officer appointed by the government to act as a mediator and holdmeetings with employers and employees. In case the conciliation fails, the officer informs the Labour Ministry which, in turn, refers the dispute for adjudication to the industrial tribunals-cum-labour courts.

However, employees in managerial or supervisory roles, drawing salary more than ₹10,000 a month, are not allowed to raise an industrial dispute under the law.

“Workers will no longer have to come at our offices as the dispute can be raised online. The process will become easier for them. For us, we will be able to monitor the industrial dispute and reconciliation process effectively,” said Chief Labour Commissioner Anil Kumar Nayak.

He said although the law did not mandate a timeline for resolving disputes, as a guideline, the Labour Department makes an effort to resolve a complaint within three months. “The time taken to resolve a dispute and the disposal rate will improve with the online mechanism,” he said.

“Although it’s a welcome move, all workers do not have access to the Internet and may find it difficult to file a complaint through the online medium,” Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) general secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 9:25:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/workers-may-soon-raise-industrial-disputes-online/article19318403.ece

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