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IN LAW

Q:I am the secretary of one the workers' unions of a public limited company. Certain disputes have arisen between the workmen and the management regarding terms and conditions of service. The management has suggested that instead of referring the disputes to the labour court, the union and the management should jointly refer the disputes to a retired High Court judge. My queries are: (i) Does an arbitral award have the same binding force as the decision of a labour court or tribunal' (ii) What are the remedies available to the workmen if the management does not comply with the award'

Subal Biswas, Calcutta

A:Under Section 10 A of the Industrial Disputes Act, the employer and the workmen by written agreement can refer disputes to the arbitration of any agreed person. The arbitrator shall investigate the disputes and submit to the appropriate government the arbitration award. Section 17 of the Act requires publication of such award by the government within 30 days of receipt of the award. Under Section 17A, the award becomes enforceable 30 days after its publication. Under Section 18, the award shall be binding on the parties who refer the disputes to arbitration. Thus in your case, the award shall be binding on the management and will have the same force as that of a decision of the labour court or tribunal. Under Section 29 of the Act, any person who commits a breach of the award is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months with a fine of upto Rs 200 for each day that he continues to breach the award.

Q:My husband, who had been employed in a statutory corporation for 20 years, passed away in October 2004. My children and I were completely dependant on his income. In January 2005, I applied to the corporation for a job on compassionate grounds. I sent three reminders to the corporation but have not received any response till date. Do I have a right to get a job in the corporation' If yes, how can I enforce such a right'

Shila Pal, Howrah

A:Appointment on compassionate grounds cannot be claimed as a right. And such a scheme cannot be made applicable to all posts. It is permissible only in accordance with rules and regulations. In your case, if the corporation has a death-in-harness scheme applicable to the post your husband held, then the corporation should consider your application. If it, doesn't, you may approach the Calcutta High Court by filing a writ petition.


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