In the last article, we have discussed Code on Wages, 2019. In this article, we will discuss the features of Code on Industrial Relations, 2020. Rest of the Codes will be discussed in further articles.
This Code subsumes and replaces three labour laws:
- The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947;
- The Trade Unions Act, 1926;
- And the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.
- Applicability of standing orders: The Code provides that all industrial establishment with 300 workers or more must prepare standing orders on the listed matters.
- Prior permission of the government: Under the Code, an establishment having at least 300 workers was required to seek prior permission of the government before closure, lay-off, or retrenchment.
- Lay-off refers to an employer’s inability to continue giving employment to a worker in the face of adverse business conditions.
- Retrenchment refers to the termination of service of a worker for any reason other than disciplinary action.
- Powers to the central government to revise the threshold: The Code empowers the government to increase (but not decrease) the threshold for the establishments to seek prior permission before closure, lay-off or retrenchment.
Negotiating Union and Council
- Sole Negotiating Union: If there are more than one registered trade union of workers functioning in an establishment, the trade union having more than 51% of the workers as members would be recognised as the sole negotiating union.
- Negotiation Council: In case no trade union is eligible as sole negotiating union, a negotiating council will be formed consisting of representatives of unions that have at least 20% of the workers as members.
- Disputes relating to termination of individual worker: The 2020 Bill classifies any dispute in relation to discharge, dismissal, retrenchment, or otherwise termination of the services of an individual worker to be an industrial dispute.
- The worker may apply to the Industrial Tribunal for adjudication of the dispute. The worker may apply to the Tribunal 45 days after the application for the conciliation of the dispute was made.
Strikes and Lockouts
- It is mandatory to give a prior notice of 14 days before a strike or lock-out.
- This notice is valid for a maximum of 60 days.
- The Code also prohibits strikes and lock-outs:
- during and up to seven days after a conciliation proceeding, and
- during and up to sixty days after proceedings before a tribunal.
- The Code provides for the constitution of Industrial Tribunals and a National Industrial Tribunal to decide industrial disputes.
- The awards passed by a Tribunal will be enforceable on the expiry of 30 days.
- However, the government can defer the enforcement of the award in certain circumstances on public grounds affecting national economy or social justice.
- The appropriate government can also make an order rejecting or modifying the award.
Fixed term employment, permanent employment and contract labour
- The Code introduces provisions on fixed term employment. Fixed term employment refers to workers employed for a fixed duration based on a contract signed between the worker and the employer.
Comparison between fixed term employment, permanent employment and contract labour
|Feature||Fixed Term Employee||Permanent Employee||Contract Labour|
|Type of employment||
|Nature of work||