Dispute resolution

1.   Arbitration

1.1   Types of Arbitration

The Industrial Dispute Act provides for

  • voluntary arbitration
  • compulsory arbitration

 1.1.1   Voluntary arbitration – is where parties consent to a reference made by the Commissioner of Labour to an arbitrator chosen by the parties to the dispute of the Commissioner if the parties cannot agree on a common nominee. Parties are free to nominate any person to act as a voluntary arbitrator.

1.1.2   Compulsory arbitration – where the Minister of Labour  is of the opinion that Industrial Dispute is a minor dispute, he can refer it for settlement to an Arbitrator appointed by him or to a Lab our Tribunal acting as an Arbitrator, even the parties do not consent to such a reference.

1.2   Representation of parties   

 Appearance before an Arbitrator may be in person or through a lawyer or a representative.

1.3   Duties and Powers

Arbitrators do not exercise judicial powers but arbitral powers.

1.4   Award

Arbitrator is required to make an order which is just and equitable and it will be published in the Gazette.

2.   Conciliation

Commissioner of Labour or a person authorized by him may settle a dispute by conciliation. If in the opinion of the Commissioner, such dispute is a major dispute, it will be published in the Gazette

 However where the matter is not settled in the conciliation, a recommendation for the settlement for the dispute will be sent to the Commissioner and the same will be transmitted to the parties concerned who must accept it or reject it within 14 days.

 Settlement so accepted is binding on both parties and its terms become the implied terms of the Contract of Employment thereafter

 3.   Industrial Courts

 Disputes can only be directed to an Industrial Court by the Minister and the Court is required to make an order which is just and equitable.

 Award of an Industrial Court cannot be repudiated by the parties. However either party can request for a reconsideration of the award after it has been in operation for 01 year.

4.   Labour Tribunals

 A workman or a trade union on behalf of a workman can make an application to a Labour Tribunal (LT) on following matters:

  1. the termination of his services by his employer
  2. questions on gratuity or other benefits

 Every application to a LT must be made within 03 months of the date of termination. Subject to the right of appeal on a question of law the decision of a LT shall be final.

Appeals from an award of a LT should be filed in the High Court of the Province within 30 days from the date of the order.