If the 18(1) wage settlement copies have not been marked to the Authorities as defined in the state/Central Rules, can it impact the legality of the settlement? I would appreciate it if any case law is cited in support of your views.

Thanks and regards,

From India, Delhi

An 18(1) settlement is a bi partie settlement. Section 2(p) of Industrial Disputes Act 1947 defines 'Settlement' as a settlement arrived at in the course of conciliation proceeding and includes a written agreement between the employer and workmen arrived at otherwise than in the course of conciliation proceeding where such agreement has been signed by the parties thereto in such a manner as may be prescribed and a copy thereof has been sent to an Officer authorised in this behalf by the appropriate Government and the Conciliation Officer."

It is clear that if the management and the workers agree on certain things without any conciliation officer in place, the same is an 'agreement' and that agreement should be in writing and in the prescribed format, and a copy of the same should be sent to the government with a copy to the conciliation officer. If you have not sent a copy of the agreement to the government and conciliation officer, the same will not be treated as a settlement though it is simply an agreement. If any of the parties to the agreement violates the same, there is no remedy under ID Act.

So long as there is no dispute, the said agreement will be binding on both the employer and the employees who are parties to the agreement. But the question arises only when a new employee comes or when a minority union who was not party to the agreement claims that they should also be given the benefits of the agreement. Since it is not a 12(3) settlement or an agreement which has become a settlement by the reason that a copy of the same was sent to the government and conciliation officer, the employer can refuse to give it to new employees or new unions.

Simply, if you have not forwarded copy of the settlement to the government and conciliation officer the same will not be called a settlement but it is only an agreement. The enforceability of the agreement will depend upon its registration as per civil law.

From India, Kannur
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