Collective conciliation brings the parties (employer and trade union) to negotiating table, to negotiate and discuss any issues or disputes. The person from third party is called as conciliation officer. This officer enables the parties to reach an amicable settlement. Collective conciliation is a successful way of resolving disputes because it gives a common ground to both the parties to reach a settlement.
There are various ways to solve the disputes between employer and trade union like adjudication, arbitration, mediation and conciliation. Adjudication is when both the parties solve their disputes through the court or tribunals. Arbitration, mediation and conciliation are the ways used when parties don’t want to go by judicial determinations and seek the help of third party to resolve the issue. That settlement would be sign by the employer, union and conciliation officer. The settlement signed would be binding on the employer, union and all workmen (present and future). The settlement would also be binding on assigns and heirs of employer.
Role of a conciliation officer:
Conciliation officer is a neutral and impartial third party officer. In India, the conciliation officer is appointed by government but in other countries like UK, there are various agencies which provide conciliation officer to settle disputes. In arbitration, the parties jointly choose arbitrator out of their free will and consent. The conciliation officer can only facilitate the discussion and bring fresh views to it but he/she has no right to decide the result of conciliation or fix the settlement by himself/herself. Sometimes a permanent settlement is reached by the parties and sometimes they agrees for a temporary settlement only.
When collective conciliation is required:
Let us understand it with an example. Suppose a company has done changes in pay, bonuses, shift timings or work practices which are not agreeable to workers. The workers’ union members have discussion with employers and show their agitation. But employers (management) are not ready to revert the changes. Then both the parties have to option to go to court/ tribunal to resolve the issue or resolve it by collective conciliation or arbitration. If the issue is not solved by both of these methods or union is not in favor of judgment or settlement, then it can lead to direct action like strikes or lockouts.