JOINT CONSULTATION AND COMPULSORY ARBITRATION FOR CENTRAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.
THE MACHINERY FOR JOINT CONSULTATION AND COMPULSORY ARBITRATION
The Scheme for Joint Consultation and Compulsory Arbitration for the Central Government Employees was introduced in the year 1966 on the lines of the Whitely Councils of the United Kingdom. This is a declaration of joint intent regarding the common approach of the Government of India on the one hand and the employees' organisations on the other for joint consultation and smooth working. The basic objectives of the Joint Consultative Machinery (JCM) are as under:-
●To secure the greatest measure of cooperation between the government in its capacity as employer and the general body of its employees in matters of common concern; and
●To increase the efficiency of the public services, through a collaborative endeavour, to narrow the area of "unresolved differences" and widen the ambit of agreement on substantive issues of common concern.
The JCM scheme provides for a three tier machinery:
(i) the National Council as the apex body; (chaired by the Cabinet Secretary)
(ii) Departmental Councils at the level of individual Ministries / Departments including their attached and subordinate offices and (chaired by respective Secretaries)
(iii) Regional / Office Councils to deal with mainly the local problems at the level of each individual office, depending on its structure. (chaired by Head of office of respective organisations) The scope of the JCM Scheme includes all matters relating to:
●conditions of service and work,
●welfare of the employees and
●improvement of efficiency and standards of work, provided, however, that
(i) in regard to recruitment, promotion and discipline, consultation is limited to matters of general principles; and
(ii) individual cases are not considered.
Under the scheme, there have been continuous interactions with staff unions at the national level as well as at the departmental level and a number of important issues have been resolved amicably through mutual discussions. Forty five meetings of the council have been held since the inception of the scheme in 1966.
Standing Committee - There have been frequent interactions with the staff side through the meetings of the Standing Committee of National Council (JCM). Many issues of the employees of the major ministries / departments like Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Defence and Department of Posts have been resolved through negotiations and interactions with the unions / federations at the departmental level.
During the year 2008, a meeting of Standing Committee of the National Council (JCM) has been held on 7 March,2008. A special Standing Committee meeting to discuss the items relating to 6th Central Pay Commission was held on 7 May, 2008. A meeting under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary was held on 17 May. 2008 with the Standing Committee members to discuss issues relating to the 6th Central Pay Commission.
Arbitration - An important feature of the JCM Scheme is the provision for arbitration in cases where there is no agreement on an issue between the official side and the staff side on matters relating to:-
●pay and allowances;
●weekly hours of work; and
●leave of a class or grade of employees.
Board of Arbitration (BOA) - A Board of Arbitration (BOA) comprising a chairman (who is an independent person) and two members,(nominated one each by staff side and official side) is functioning under the administrative control of the Ministry of Labour. Awards of the Board of Arbitration are binding on both the sides, subject to the over-riding authority of the Parliament to reject or modify the awards. Under JCM scheme, 259 references have been made to the Board so far, for settlement. Out of these 257 have been decided by BOA. Most of the awards which were in favour of the employees, have been implemented, except a few which could not be accepted due to adverse affect on national economy / social justice.
The details of the break of 257 cases decided by the Board of Arbitration is given in table one and action taken by the government on 177 cases are given in table 2:-
TABLE -1 BREAK-UP 0F 257 CASES DECIDED BY BOA
TABLE-2 ACTION TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT ON 177 CASES
(MENTIONED IN FIRST COL OF TABLE.1 ABOVE)
Secretary General NFPE