After the enforcement of the Constitution, a number of legislations on labour welfare and settlement of disputes have been made. The Labour Laws have undergone drastic changes with the passage of time.
The old doctrine of laissez-faire has become redundant. The nineteenth-century concept of master and servant founded on the theories of “hire and fire” and “supply and demand” became a matter of past history.
The workmen under various enactments have been provided protection from their wrongful dismissal from service. The gratuity which was one time a gift from an employer to an employee on account of his good performance while he was in service no longer remained a gift but the workmen had been given legal right under the statutory provision to claim the same, namely, in Pakistan under clause (vi) of Standing Order 12 contained in the Schedule to the West Pakistan Industrial and Commercial Employment (Standing Orders) Ordinance, 1968 and in India by virtue of Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.
Similarly, the bonus is no longer considered solely as a reward by an employer to an employee on account of good production as by now certain types of bonus can be claimed by the workmen as a matter of right by virtue of statutory provisions, for
For example, in Pakistan because of clause 10‑C of the Standing Orders contained in the Schedule to the above Ordinance of 1968 and in India by virtue of Payment of Bonus Act, 1965.
There has been change in the approach in the matter of adjudication upon industrial disputes inasmuch as efforts are being made to do social justice and with that object to adjust rival claims of the employer and his workmen in a fair and just manner. While construing social legislation enacted for the benefit of the working class, liberal and beneficial constructions. are placed by the Courts in favour of the workmen.
Manner of dealing with unfair labour practices:
Where an unfair labour practice has been committed, and the case falls under section 25A, section 34, or section 53, as the case may be, the commission may deal with the case under that section:
Provided that the Commission while awarding punishment under section 53, may also direct the reinstatement of a worker and allow consequential benefits to him.
Whereas case of unfair labour practice is likely to occur, the Commission may take the following measures, namely:–
it may summon all or any of the persons connected with the case which is likely to occur, hereafter in this chapter referred to as the connected persons, hear them and hold such inquiry as it deems fit; ascertain the factors which are likely to give rise to unfair labour practice. advise, direct or prohibit all or any, of the connected persons to do or refrain from doing any act or to conduct themselves or their affairs in a manner calculated to avoid the occurrence of unfair labour practice;
reprimand or warn all or any of the connected persons that if they conduct themselves in the improper way it would be deemed to be in furtherance of the commission of an offense punishable under section 53, and initiate security proceedings in order to prevent the occurrence of unfair labour practice.
Where a person whom the Commission has reprimanded or warned under sub-regulation commits an unfair labour practice, the Commission may consider, for the purpose of awarding punishment under section 53; the reprimand or warning as a circumstance aggravating the offense.”
The first part relates to the acts of unfair labor practice which have already been committed and for that employees may be reinstated in service upon finding the employer guilty of acts of unfair labour practice and not otherwise while the second part relates to the commission of acts of apprehended unfair labour practice.
There are four stages for a settlement in terms of labour laws, namely, raising of a demand by a Bargaining Agent for the benefit of workmen, negotiations between a Bargaining Agent and an employer, signing of a settlement by a Bargaining Agent on behalf of the workmen and by an employer and the enforcement of the settlement of any right guaranteed to workmen under any law, award or settlement.
A Collective Bargaining Agent is to act on behalf of workmen during the first three stages mentioned hereinabove, but it cannot enforce under section 34 of the I.R.O. any right guaranteed or secured, inter alia, to any workman by or under any law.”
Purpose of Labour Laws:
The labour laws are constructed to be beneficial legislation. Industrial Relations Ordinance, 1969 was promulgated for the purpose of regulation of relations between employers and workmen and avoidance and settlement of any difference or dispute arising between them.
Labour Courts are established for the purpose of adjudicating and determining industrial disputes. Under section 25‑A of the I.R.O., 1969, a workman is entitled to invoke the jurisdiction of the Labour Court for adjudication and redressal of his grievances.
The Legislature has provided a mechanism of expeditious redressal of the grievances of workers. Subsection (4) of section 25‑A of the Ordinance provides that when the matter relating to a worker’s grievance is brought before the Labour Court it shall give a decision within seven days from the date of the matter being brought before it.