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The Coffee Break Guide to Compliance – Vol. 22

Posted by: on 6 December 2018 in Business Strategies, HR, Human Capital Management

This post is part of the Coffee Break Guide to Compliance by Anandan Subramaniam. Please subscribe to the blog updates if you’d like to be notified of these posts. Please comment below with your doubts and queries.

The Coffee Break Guide to Compliance – Vol. 22 {Employee Grievances and Requirement for Redressal System in Establishments}

As per the Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Act, 2010, under Chapter II B, a new section, 9C, was included.  Notable provisions include:

  • Every industrial establishment employing twenty or more workmen shall have one or more Grievance Redressal Committee for the resolution of disputes arising out of individual grievances.
  • The Grievance Redressal Committee shall consist of equal number of members from the employer and the workmen.
  • The Chairperson of the Grievance Redressal Committee shall be selected from the employer and from among the workmen alternatively on rotation basis every year.
  • The total number of members of the Grievance Redressal Committee shall not exceed more than six. Provided that there shall be, as far as practicable, one woman member if the Grievance Redressal Committee has two members and in case the number of members are more than two, the number of women members may be increased proportionately.
  • The Grievance Redressal Committee may complete its proceedings within forty-five days on receipt of a written application by or on behalf of the aggrieved party.

Grievance of an individual employee is actually a discontent or a dissatisfaction on the issues related to working condition, wages, supervision, peer group and others.


Types of Grievances

Grievance of an employee may be classified into different types, but there are three main types:

  1. Real grievance with facts, which is genuine. A discontent which was not fulfilled by the employer due to some reason, or an expectation which was postponed or denied, which is due to the employee.
  2. Unreal grievances, which includes erroneous information given to an aggrieved employee or on a perception which is imaginary.
  3. Grievance which is unknown to the employee. It may be due to stress from his/her personal surroundings, which is carried over to the workplace.

The Human Resources team or the Grievance Redressal Committee shall take cognizance of such individual grievances as early as possible. If the grievance is received verbally, there is no time limit to settle it, unlike the time limit fixed for a written one. Hence, the individual needs to be educated to document the grievance. HR or the Committee needs to identify the facts and resolve the grievance within the timeline stipulated. Though no process was notified under the Industrial Disputes Act, the grievance shall be handled to the satisfaction of the employee. Any real grievance shall be handled in terms of total effect on the establishment, and not be a temporary or patch-up solution, as this gets repeated in similar situations.

When complaints are not looked into, it may become a dispute and can spread across the workforce.  Hence, the government has included a specific provision in the Act in the interest of both the employee as well as the establishment.

The duty of HR or the Committee is to distinguish the nature of grievance – a wrong one may not be handled and an actual grievance may be identified for appropriate solution.

A list of common grievances that are being highlighted by employees in recent times:

  1. Salary-related
    1. Special Allowances
    2. Overtime
    3. Bonus, incentive, commission, etc.
  2. Work-related
    1. Quality of material / infrastructure made available to perform jobs
    2. Atmosphere of workplace, timings, work schedule, production norms
    3. Non-recognition
  3. Supervision-related
    1. Pre-conceived bias, favouritism, caste/ethnic/regional affiliations
    2. Neglect, victimisation / humiliation, etc.
  4. Others
    1. Training, transfer, promotion
    2. Welfare, safety
    3. HR rules, availing leave, etc.


The Grievance Redressal Committee

The Grievance Redressal Committee is to be different from the:

  • Works Committee under the Industrial Disputes Act. It shall be the duty of the Works Committee to promote measures for securing and preserving amity and good relations between the employer and workmen and, to that end, to comment upon matters of their common interest or concern and endeavour to compose any material difference of opinion in respect of such matters; or
  • Health, Safety and Welfare Committee, under the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments Rules. The duties, functions and responsibilities of this Committee is to consider welfare activities such as cleanliness/lighting/ventilation, first-aid appliances, precautions against fire, and washroom facilities for the employees.

Prior to globalisation, grievance was limited to issues related to wages or a few welfare measures.  Recently, with the growth of commercial establishments, the grievances are plenty. Hence, the employer’s need to take appropriate measures and have a suitable redressal system to address and resolve any issue before it becomes a major dispute.

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