Participation by a third party in a industrial dispute between management and its employees in order to bring them together to resolve their differences is termed mediation or conciliation.
Which are the authorities competent for holding conciliation?
Section 4 of Industrial Disputes Act 1947 empowers the appropriate government to appoint such number of persons as may be deemed necessary by notification in the official gazette as conciliation officers, for discharging the responsibility of mediating in and promoting the settlement of industrial disputes. All Labour officers, Asst. Labour Commissioner including Dy. Labour Commissioner, Labour appointed conciliation officers. Government of N.C.T. of Delhi for administrative and public convenience has divided entire territory into 9 districts i.e. East, North-East, South-West, West, South, North, North-West, Central & New Delhi.
What are the functions of conciliation officers?
Section 12 of I.D. Act 1947 provides duties of conciliation officers. A conciliation officer is required to investigate without delay the industrial disputes and make efforts to settlement thereof and for the purpose of bringing about a settlement of the dispute he may do all such things as he deems fit for the purpose of bringing parties to come to a fair and amicable settlement of the disputes.
Can conciliation officer bind the parties?
No. A conciliation officer has no authority or power to force the parties to agree to his suggestions. He merely offers his services through his good offices to find an amicable solution and will meet the needs of the two parties. He may suggest answer to the problem.
Whether conciliation is mandatory or discretionary?
In case of public utility services where a notice under section 22 of the I D Act, 1947 has been received, the conciliation officer must necessarily hold immediate conciliation proceedings for prompt settlement of the disputes. He has discretion in respect of non public utility services.
When CO should intervene in industrial disputes?
Intervention must not be either premature or too late. Time for intervention may be chosen by the conciliation officer with due care.
When is conciliation proceeding commenced?
Conciliation proceedings in public utility services are deemed to have commenced on the date when the conciliation officer receives the notice of strike or lock-out u/s 122 of I.D. Act 1947 and in such cases he has to act with great speed in order to complete the proceedings within 14 days time. In case of non public utility services, the conciliation officer has to give formal intimation in writing to the parties declaring his intention to commence conciliation proceedings with effect from such date as he may specify.
When are conciliation proceedings deemed to have concluded?
The conciliation proceedings are concluded in the following manner.
Where conciliation ended in settlement - the date on which settlement is signed by the parties to the disputes or
Where conciliation ended in failure, the date on which the failure report of conciliation officer is received by the appropriate Govt.
When a reference is made to a Labour Court / Industrial Tribunal during the pendancy of conciliation proceedings.
Whether parties are required to be informed about the failure of conciliation?
Yes, copies of failure report under Section 12 (A) of I.D. Act 1947 are required to be sent to the parties to the dispute.
Whether conciliation officer can arrive at ex-parte conclusion of proceedings?
Yes, If the party raising the dispute fails to turn-up without reasonable cause, the case may be closed under intimation to it. If the opposite party fails to turn-up, inspite of having been given reasonable no. of opportunities, an adverse inference may be drawn and the case be proceeded with on ex-parte basis.