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Labour Laws/Acts/Unions

Labour Laws and Industrial relations

  • Industrial relation = interactions between employers (businessmen/bosses), employees (workers) and the government (which makes the laws for​​ them).

  • Labour laws = made by Government, they deal with a worker’s well being in the office: for example working hours, hiring and firing, maternity leave, pension, union formation​​ etc.

Laws for Female workers

  • Maternity Benefit​​ Act

Women in the labour force who have been employed for 160 days in a year to provide leave with pay and medical benefit.

Vishaka Case -​​ SC gave the guidelines regarding protection of women @work places against sexual harassment.

  • Sexual harassment​​ of working women amounts to violation of rights of gender equality judgment also laid down the definition of sexual harassment, the preventive steps,​​ the complaint mechanism, and the need for creating awareness of the rights of women​​ workers.

  • Factories​​ Act

Employer must provide crèches in factories where more than 25 women are employed.

  • Equal Remuneration​​ Act

For the payment of equal remuneration to men and women workers for same or similar nature of work.

Labour Laws of India

Working Hours, Condition of Service And Employment

  • Factory Act​​ (1948)

  • Mines Act​​ (1952)

  • Beedi and Cigar Workers (condition of employment​​ act)(1966)

  • Contract Labour regulation and abolition​​ (1970)

  • Inter state migrant Workmen regulation condition of service act​​ (1979)

  • Building and other construction worker (regulation and service condition) Act​​ (1996)

Wearker Section Act

  • Bounded labour Abollition Act​​ (1976)

  • Labour (prohibition and regulation​​ Act)(1986)

  • Children (pledging of labour) Act​​ (1933)

Industrial Relations

  • Trade union Act,​​ 1926

  • Industrial employment standing order Act,​​ 1946

  • Industrial Dispute Act,​​ 1947


  • Payment Wages Act,​​ 1936

  • Minimum Wage Act,​​ 1948

  • Payment of bonus Act,​​ 1965


  • Maternity benefit Act,​​ 1961

  • Equal remunaration Act,​​ 1976

Social Security

  • Workmens compensation Act,​​ 1923

  • Payment gratuity Act,​​ 1972

Trade Union Act

  • Gives immunity to the trade unions against certain forms of civil and criminal​​ action.

  • Provides for registration, internal democracy, a role for​​ outsiders.

  • Permission for raising a political fund subject to separate accounting​​ requirements.

  • Right to register a trade union however does not mean that the employer must recognise the union – there is in fact no law which provides for recognition of trade unions and consequently no legal compulsion for employers, even in the organised sector, to enter into collective​​ bargaining.

Minimum Wages Act

This law governs the methods to fix minimum wages in scheduled industries (which may vary from state to state).

Strikes and lockouts

  • Workers have the right to strike, even without giving notice to their boss, unless it involves a public utility service.

  • Employers (bosses) have the right to lockout, subject to the same conditions as a strike.To solve​​ the strike/lockout, both parties can engage with​​ negotiation/talks.

  • If that fails, they can go to government​​ appointed conciliation officer whose intervention may produce​​ a settlement, which is then registered in the labour department and becomes binding on all​​ parties.

  • If that fails then parties can go for arbitration (private judge) or labour​​ court.

Industrial​​ Disputes Act (IDA)

  • A​​ company​​ with​​ more​​ than​​ 100​​ workers​​ must​​ get​​ Government’s​​ permission​​ before​​ mass​​ layoffs​​ or​​ closing down​​ business.

  • Employer cannot change the existing service conditions / salary of a worker unilaterally without giving a notice of 21 days to the workers and the​​ union.

  • A permanent worker can be removed from service only for proven misconduct or for habitual absence – due​​ to​​ ill​​ health,​​ alcoholism​​ and​​ the​​ like,​​ or​​ on​​ attaining​​ retirement​​ age.​​ In​​ other​​ words​​ the​​ doctrine​​ of​​ ‘hire​​ and fire’ is not approved within the existing legal framework.

  • An employee can challenge the dismissal order in the labour court. Industrial Disputes Act provides for setting up of Labour courts and Industrial​​ tribunals.

Labour Courts

Labour Courts deal with matters pertaining to discharge and dismissal of workmen legality of strikes of lock outs etc.

Industrial Tribunals

Industrial Tribunals deal with collective disputes such aswages, hours of work, leave,retrenchment, closure of a company + all matters which come under the jurisdiction of Labour Courts.

A settlement arrived at in the course of labour court/ industrial tribunals is binding on all parties to an industrial dispute.

Workman’s Compensation Act

Covers all cases of accident arising out of and in the course of employment’ and the rate of compensation The injured person, or in case of death the dependent, can claim the compensation. This law applies to the unorganised sectors and to those in the organised sectors who are not covered by the Employees State Insurance Scheme

Employees State Insurance Act

Provides a scheme under which the employer and the employee must contribute a certain percentage of the monthly wage to the Insurance Corporation and it’ll run hospitals for them.



  • Those​​ who​​ have​​ not​​ been​​ able​​ to​​ organise​​ themselves​​ in​​ pursuit​​ of​​ common​​ objectives​​ on​​ account​​ of constraints like casual nature of employment, ignorance and​​ illiteracy.

  • They do not enjoy sick leaves, maternity benefit, provident fund etc. facilities enjoyed by organized labourers.

  • But Government​​ is making various schemes to help them out for example Aam Admi Bima Yojana, New Pension Scheme (N.P.S)​​ etc.

  • 91% of the working population is in the unorganised​​ sector.

  • Example of unorganized​​ labourers:


    • Small and marginal​​ farmers

    • Landless agricultural​​ labourers

    • Fishermen

    • Building construction​​ workers

    • Leather​​ workers

    • Handloom​​ workers

    • Weavers

    • Rural​​ craftsmen

    • Salt​​ workers

    • Workers in brick kilns and stone​​ quarries

    • Midwives

    • Domestic​​ workers

    • Barbers

    • Newspaper,vegetable and fruit​​ vendors


International Labour Organisation (ILO)

  • Established in​​ 1919

  • HQ- Geneva,​​ Switzerland

  • India is the founding member of​​ ILO

  • International Labour Organization has a tripartite governing structure, (usually with a ratio of 2:1:1) representing​​ governments,employers,workers.

Important Trade Union ACT(1926)

  • Trade union is an association of either of employees or employers or of independent workers. It is formed to secure certain economic, social benefits of the​​ workers.

  • Trade Union Amendment Act, 2001:- Indian parliament had passed the​​ trade union amendment bill,​​ 2000.

  • The bill was introduced with objectives​​ to

  • To control multiplicity of trade​​ unions

  • Establishing industrial​​ democracy

  • Encourage well managed expansion of trade​​ unions.

  • The amended act was introduced after incorporating the recommendations of the​​ Ramanujan Committee.​​ The act has following​​ recommendations:-

  • Minimum 10% of total labour force or 100 workers in an organization (whichever is less) must be required to form trade​​ union.

  • Number of members should not be​​ less than 7​​ in any​​ organization.

  • At least 5 members or 1\3 rd (whichever is less) should be employees of the​​ same.

  • Annual contribution for trade union should not be​​ less than Rs.​​ 12.

Top Nine Trade Unions of India

  • All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) in 1920, New​​ Delhi.

  • Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) on May 3, 1947, New​​ Delhi.

  • Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) on July 27, 1955, New​​ Delhi.

  • Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) in 1970, New​​ Delhi.

  • Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) on Dec. 24, 1948, New​​ Delhi.

  • All India Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) on April 26-27, 1958,​​ Kolkata.

  • Self-employed Women's Association of India (SEWA) in 1972,​​ Ahmedabad.

  • Trade Union Coordination Centre in​​ 1970.

  • All India Central Council of Trade UnionMay in​​ 1989.