We have entered into negotiations with the Union after the period of the previous LTA was completed and the Union had submitted CoD. We did not initiate talks as the Mgmt was busy in ensuring the safety of workmen during the pandemic. After a lot of push from the Union, we agreed to initiate talks and also submitted our Mgmt. requirements

The Union is unwilling to discuss Mgmt. requirements saying this is a new practice. We are insistent that Mgmt Requirements are as much the right of the Mgmt as is the CoD of the Union. We have also appealed to the Union to cooperate during the pandemic due to dwindling orders and repeal of some incentives by the Govt. recently impacting the companies profits by more than 40%. The Union was contemplating strike notice. We had earlier requested the Labour Dept. to conciliate on the matter last week.

The Union is going ahead with the notice to strike. The Labour Dept had already directed the Union to appear in 1-2 days on the conciliation meeting

Wanted your views on the matter and how to resolve the issue and action to be taken? We have reiterated to the Union that there can be no preconditions to talks and we will discuss every single points

From India, Bengaluru
Dear friend,

I would like to quote here the reply of Samuel Gompers, the great President of American Federation of Labor to the question by a reporter during the first quarter of the last century - " What does the AFL stand for? " - Gompers replied succinctly : " MORE!". That is the objective and purpose of any trade union. It does not mean that unionists are impractical or adamant. They have as much the native intelligence and knowledge of the down sides of the industry as the Management do have. Everyone knows the logic behind the saying " If you aim at the star, then you'll reach at least your grandma's nose ". Therefore, first let the negotiating team of the management have the mindset that the union is right with their demands and the management is right with their counter demands whereas the situation is not right.

In any negotiation, particularly in a critical situation, the BATNA ( Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) - WATNA ( Worst Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement ) Analysis is more important to choose the best options from either side to create a both-gain result. Since the matter is before the Conciliation Officer, I hope that he would guide the parties appropriately to avoid any stale mate.

From India, Salem

You are right and justified in the stand taken. Now that the conciliation has started, any strike will be illegal with consequent actions. There are various methods to end the stalemate situation and as management, be prepared to come up with multiple alternatives between BATNA & WATNA, as pointed out by the Learned Umakanthan Sir
From India, Mumbai
Dear colleague,

Your current situation is the Union has served COD, management also served its demands, negotiations have reached deadlock, union is wanting to go on strike ( not clear if notice is served) , Govt Labour machinary has called parties for discussion.

I would like add to what Mr Umakanthan has advised. The plus point I see emerging that if the matter gets admitted in the Conciliation, then the stike will be prohibited.

So before the Labour Conciliation officer your attempt should be to get management' demands
( generally it is referred to as Management's Expectations.) admitted in Conciliation and to start the proceedings early so that strike threat is postponed till the proceedings are pending.

Since pandemic has weakened financial power of the company, you continue to resort to third party interventions -Conciliation/Adjudication in this matter.

At the same time, parallely mantain dialogue informally with the union committee members for possible breaktrough.


Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai
Dear Ved,
Please ensure that the conciliation starts in this matter quickly so that the union has to refrain from going on strike. Management demands are a common factor in negotiations today, therefore refusal to negotiate on this ground will not be accepted by the authorities. Also matter in conciliation or mediation by the Authority will ensure negotiations going the legal way. Finally, if there is a checkmate, the demands will be referred to Tribunal for adjudication so we can buy time in these tough times. As far as the IR issue is concerned, you can examine if an interim rise is possible till final settlement is arrived at, so that the union finds a reason not to strike.

From India, Pune
These types of issues are to be taken seriously and any correspondence / stand has to be taken after consultation with Labour Law expert. You may consult any expert of your choice. I am also consulting many employers on this types of issues professionally.
From India, Faridabad
Further to this thread, the Union has given a notice for strike. We had approached JCL but the Union has refused to meet the JCL after 3 rounds .
Honestly, the Union's demands are unjustified ( although they have come down from a 5x increase in salaries to now almost 2x of current salary inspite of mutliple rounds of persuasion.
Any ideas/suggestions a) to prevent the strike b) startegies to quickly highlight to court to declare the strike unjustified .
We also apprehend some disturbance if we attempt to run with managers and non unionised staff

From India, Bengaluru
Dear Ved,
If your establishment is a public utility service, on reference of the dispute for adjudication, the State Government can issue orders prohibiting the strike as per the amended provision of section 10-B of the IDA,1947.

From India, Salem
@Umakanthan sir. Our unit was a public utility service being notified as such ( 100% EOU) until 2018. I do not think the Govt. has re-notified in TN.
Is there any part of the unit that can be declared as public utility ( on grounds of safety)
Any further advise on how to approach court/Govt on justifiability of demands and declare the strike illegal Sir will be helpful.We have been continuously negotiating but do not see anything coming through as Union comes out with a new set every time

From India, Bengaluru
Dear Ved,
Generally, I insist people to provide essential details connected with the query but unfortunately many questioners provide the relevant details in instalments only. Particularly, in strike issues, the date of issuance of strike notice and the proposed date of strike, the nature of manufactury or services of the industrial establishment, the State wherein it is located, total no of workmen, no of trade unions, if the demands include revision of wages, whether the current wages are on par with the industry wages in the region, whether any trade union is recognized, in case of counter demands put up by the management, whether they relate to work load and whether the nature of work could be standardized, the existence or possibility of production-linked incentive scheme as a supplement to normal wages, the age of the industry and the average age of the workers, whether any dispute has been raised before the area conciliation officer after unsuccessful bilateral negotiations, if any and the present stage of conciliation and the like.
Coming to your issue, section 10-B of the IDA,1947 as amended by the State of Tamilnadu provides for prohibition of the continuance of strike, if any already commenced, while referring the issues for adjudication and prescribing terms and conditions of employment to be observed by both the employer and workmen till the disposal of adjudication. For further clarification, you may, please, go through the amended provision of 10-B.
You can request the conciliation officer to try his level best to resolve the dispute amicably and if not submit his failure report to the appropriate Government recommending invocation of sec.10-B, if necessary as soon as possible.
You cannot come to a hasty conclusion that the demands of union are totally unjustified and maintain a rigid stand. An amicable settlement of an industrial dispute is a both-gain phenomenon and therefore, whether it is the management or the workmen, whoever is not part of any reasonable solution becomes the part of the problem.

From India, Salem

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