Umakanthan53
Labour Law & Hr Consultant

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Dear Mr.Umakanth,
The management entered into a 18(1) settlement with recognised union with enjoys the status of majority workmen being heir members. The tenure of this settlement is 4 years ( from 2017 to 2020) The erstwhile long term settlement was signed under section 12(3) of ID act before JCLwherein two out of three unions were signatories whilst one union opted out .Let us call this Union X Union..The erstwhile settlement provides for extending an Ayudha Puja Gift worth Rs 150/ for the year 2013,Rs 200/ for the year 2014, Rs250/ for the year 2015 and Rs 300 for the year 2016 for the first,second, third and fourth year respectively.The X union now claims Ayudha Poojs gift alone for the period 2017 despite not being a signatory to 18(1) settlement .
The union claims this on the ground that the benefits of the erstwhile settlement continue to flow, despite the fact that the union has not signed and accepted the settlement signed under section 18(1) as referred to above.
Whilst we agree hat the benefits accruing out of erstwhile settlement shall continue to flow, yet we are of view that the one time gifts like Ayutha pooja gifts which are value specific and year specific as mentioned in the erstwhile settlement , need not be extend the Ayutha Pooja Gift to the workmen who owe allegiance to the signatory union ( namely X union) . Except Ayutha pooja gift , we don't deny any other benefits like as committed in the erstwhile settlement to the members of X union.
Kindly let us have your expert views.
Thanks & Regards
Senprithvib6

Dear Mr.Senprithvi,
Let me first repeat the facts, contents and the coverage of the two settlements as I understand:
1) The earlier settlement was u/s 12(3) of the ID Act,1947 to which the disputant union i.e.,union-X was not a signatory.
2) The subject-matter of the settlement was,inter alia, Auyudha pooja gifts of a specific value for the years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 to all the workmen of the industry.
3) The settlement u/s 12(3) signed by the two unions representing the majority of workmen was equally implemented to all the workmen including the members of the non-signatory union for Auyudha Pooja gift was a common benefit conferred by the Management to all their workmen.
4) Later, a fresh settlement u/s 18(1) of the Act on the same subject-matter of Ayudha Pooja Gift pertaining to the subsequent years of 2017,2018,2019 and 2020 was entered into with the recognized union which enjoys the status of the only union representing majority of workmen in the industry as of now.
5) How ever, it is not clear to me from your post whether the erstwhile 12 (3) settlement is over in its entirety or only in respect of the clause relating to the annual Pooja Gifts for the years mentioned therein so as to necessitate a fresh negotiation on this issue only. Whatever it be, my inference is that only by virtue of its status as the sole bargaining agent of all the workmen, the recognized union alone was permitted to participate in the bilateral negotiations in this regard and sign the latter settlement on the same subject-matter for the further 4 years starting from 2017 u/s 18(1) of the Act.
Now, the union-X which is no-signatory to either of the settlements demands that the benefit of the 18(1) settlement should be extended to its members too on the analogy of implementation of the 12(3) settlement earlier. The contention of the Management is that the one-time-gifts like Pooja Gifts which are value-specific and year-specific as mentioned in the erstwhile settlement need not be extended to the workmen owing allegiance to union-X, though the Management stand by their commitment to the extension of all other benefits arising out of the erstwhile settlement to the members of union-X.
MY OBSERVATIONS:
A) I would like to avoid the question whether the demand for Ayudha Pooja gift partakes the essential character of an "industrial dispute" as defined u/s 2(k) of the ID Act,1947 in general because of the prevalence of the practice in the industry for long on the basis of settlements and in particular because of the fact of denial of the same to a particular section of workmen employed in the same industry. Amidst the multiplicity of unions in the same industry, allegiance to a particular union at a specific point of time is a matter of alignment of mere numbers based on workmen's expectations. If the Management tries to discriminate some workmen for their allegiance to a dissenting unrecognized union on a common benefit, it will tantamount to unfair labor practice enumerated at serial no.9 of Part I of schedule V of the ID Act,1947.
B) The contention of the Management banking upon the particular clause pertaining to Pooja Gifts in the 12(3) settlement amounts to approbation and reprobation. When the particular clause having value and year specificities in a subsisting settlement would be in force till it is replaced by a fresh settlement only and this has already happened in your case by signing a bilateral settlement with the recognized union.
C) Leaving union membership apart, the beneficiaries are same class of employees viz., workmen. Therefore you can not have two sets of rules for the same class of employees.
My suggestion in the light of the above discussion, therefore, is extension of the settlement u/s 18(1) with the recognized union to all workmen irrespective of their union allegiance.

Thanks for prompt response Warm regards Senprithvib6
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