Explain in detail the concept of “collective bargaining agent”.

(1) Meaning

In relation to an establishment or group of establishments or industry, collective bargaining agent means trade union of workmen, which, under section 24 of Punjab Industrial Relation Act, is agent of workmen in establishment or group of establishments or industry in matter of collective bargaining.

(2) Explanation

Under Punjab Industrial Relations Act. Following points are important for explanation of collective bargaining agent:

(i) In case of one registered trade union

(ii) In case of more than one registered trade union

(iii) In case of large establishment

(iv) Written notice in case of more than one registered trade union

(v) List of workmen

(vi) Procedure for election

(vii) Rights & duties

 

(i) In Case Of One Registered Trade Union

When there is only one registered trade union in an establishment or a group of establishments or industry and it has its members, which should not be less than one-third of total number of those workmen, who have been employed in such establishment or group of establishments or industry, and it has made an application to certify it as collective bargaining agent for such establishment or group of establishments or industry, Registrar should certify this trade union as collective bargaining agent for such establishment or group of establishments or industry and he/she should do it in prescribed manner.

 

(ii) In Case Of More Than One Registered Trade Union

If there are more than one registered trade unions in an establishment or a group of establishments, or industry, and any of such trade unions has its members, which should not be less than one-fifth of total number of workmen, who have been employed in such establishment or group of establishments or industry or by employer or government, and it has made an application to certify it as collective bargaining agent for such establishment or group of establishments or industry, Registrar should hold a secret ballot to determine as to which one of such trade unions shall be collective bargaining agent for such establishment or group of establishments or industry, and he/she is to hold this secret ballot within fifteen days from making of application.

(iii) In Case Of Large Establishment

In case of a large establishment, which has its branches in more than one town, Registrar can hold secret ballot within thirty days from making of application.

(iv) Written Notice In Case Of More than One Registered Trade Union

Here following points are important:

(a) Contestant in secret ballot

(b) List of members

 

(a) Contestant In Secret Ballot

Upon receipt of an application in case of more than one registered trade union, Registrar is to give written notice to call upon every registered trade union in establishment or group of establishments or industry. to indicate whether it desires to be a contestant in secret ballot, which is to be held for determining collective bargaining agent in relation to such establishment or group or industry.

(b) List Of Members

If it so desires, it is to submit to Registrar a list of its members to show its each member’s parentage, age, section or department and place in which he/she is employed, ticket number and date of each member’s becoming a member, and it is to submit this list within that time, which is specified in written notice, and if union is a federation of trade unions, it is to submit a list of its affiliated trade unions together with a list of members of each such trade unions to show above mentioned particulars of its each such member.

(v) List Of Workmen

If Registrar requires, every employer is to submit a list of all workmen, who have been employed in establishment or group of establishments or industry, to show each workman’s parentage, age, section or department and place in which he/she is employed, ticket number and date of each member’s employment in establishment or group of establishments or industry, and every employer is to provide those facilities, which Registrar can require for verification of lists, which are submitted by employer and trade unions. Here those workmen whose period of employment in establishment or group of establishments or industry is less than three months are excluded from list of workmen.

(vi) Procedure For Election

Following points are important for explanation of procedure for election of collective bargaining agent:

(a) List of voters

(b) Right to vote

(c) Facilities for conducting of poll

(d) No canvass Date for poll

(e) Ballot boxes

(f) Conducting of poll

(g) Opening of ballot boxes & counting of votes

(h) Certification

(i) Run-off poll

(j) Further poll

 

(a) List Of Voters

After verification of those lists, which are submitted by trade unions, Registrar is to prepare a list of voters in which is included name of every workman whose period of employment is not less than three months and who is a member of any of contesting trade unions. Registrar is also to send a certified copy of this list of voters to each of contesting trade unions, and he/she is to send it at least four days prior to date, which is fixed for poll.

(b) Right To Vote

Every workman, who is member of any of contesting trade unions and whose name appears in list of voters, is entitled to vote at poll to determine collective bargaining agent.

(c) Facilities For Conducting Of Poll

Every employer is to provide all those facilities, which Registrar require for conduct of poll in employer’s establishment. But employer is not to interfere with voting or is not to influenc voting in any way.

(d) No Convassing

No person is to canvass for vote within a radius of fifty meters of polling station.

(e) Date For Poll

Registrar is to fix date for poll and intimate this date to each of contesting trade unions and also to every employer.

(f) Ballot Boxes

Registrar is to place ballot boxes in polling station, and is to seal ballot boxes in presence of representatives of contesting trade unions. And he/she is to do it on that date, which is fixed for poll.

(g) Conducting Of Poll

Registrar is to conduct poll at polling station at which representatives of contesting trade unions have right to be present.

(h) Opening Of Ballot Boxes & Counting Of Votes

After conclusion of poll and in presence of representatives of contesting trade unions, Registrar is to open ballot boxes and count votes.

(i) Certification

After conclusion of count, Registrar is to certify that trade union, which has received highest number of votes, to be collective bargaining agent. However, no trade union should be certified to be collective bargaining agent for an establishment or group of establishments or industry when it has received that number of votes, which is less than one-third of total number of those workmen, which have been employed in such establishment or group or industry.

(j) Run-Off Poll

If no trade union secures required number of votes in first poll, a run-off poll should be held between those trade unions, which have secured two highest numbers of votes in first poll, and trade union, which secures a majority of votes, which are cast at run-off poll, should be certified to be collective bargaining agent.

(k) Further Poll

If number of votes, which are secured by two or more trade unions, which secure highest number of votes, is equal, further poll should be held between them until one of them secures a majority of votes, which are cast at such further poll.

(vii) Rights & Duties

In relations to establishment or group of establishment or industry, followings are main rights and duties of collective bargaining agent:

(a) Collective bargaining

(b) Representation of workmen

(c) Strike

(d) Nomination of representatives

 

(a) Collective Bargaining

It is to undertake collective bargaining with employer or employers on those matters, which are connected with employment, non-employment, terms of employment or conditions of work.

(b) Representation Of Workmen

It is to represent all or any of workmen in any proceeding.

(c) Strike

It is to give notice of strike and declare strike in accordance with legal provisions.

(d) Nomination Of Representatives

It is to nominate representatives of workmen on board of trustees of any welfare institutions or Provident Funds. Even it is also to nominate representatives of workers participation fund.

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