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Supreme Court rejects INTUC (Dubey Group) plea related to representation of individual trade unions

The Supreme Court has dismissed a Special Leave Petition filed by the Indian National Trade Union Congress (Dubey Group) over representation of individual trade unions affiliated to INTUC in an organisation or industry.

Upholding the Kolkata High Court verdict passed on February 10, 2023, the Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Manoj Misra and Justice Aravind Kumar on Wednesday allowed the SLP filed in the matter.

The Apex Court further permitted the Indian National Mineworkers Federation (Respondent no.1) to participate in the Joint Bipartite Committee for the Coal Industry (JBCCI)-XI as the communication issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment on October 18, 2021 clarified that the Office Memorandum dated January 4, 2017 was not against the representation of individual trade unions affiliated to INTUC in an industry or organisation.

The Apex Court said it did not find any justification in depriving members of the petitioner Union, which concededly commanded the majority of employees of WC from participating in negotiations and proceedings of the statutory and non-statutory Committees of the Western Coal Fields Limited.

Noting that the communications dated January 11 and 28, 2017 were issued by the Ministry of Coal in view of the interim order of the Delhi High Court, which had ceased to operate now, the Supreme Court stayed the communications till final disposal of the petition.

It said it did not find any justification in depriving members of the petitioner Union, which concededly commanded the majority of employees of Western Coalfields, from participating in negotiations and proceedings of the statutory and non-statutory Committees of the Western Coal Fields Limited.

The Bench allowed the petitioner/Union be to avail the check-­off facility till disposal of the petition and negotiate with respondent no.4 (­Western Coal Fields
Ltd).

The petitioner union shall be entitled to be members of the statutory and non-­statutory committees of respondent no.4­, added the Apex Court.

The petition had contended that JBCCI was constituted by Coal India Limited (CIL) with the approval of the Government and in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Department of Public Enterprises.

The JBCCI was a committee consisting of the representatives of management and Central Trade Unions operating in the coal industry, which negotiated and decided the wages/ salaries and other allowances for the workers of the coal industry.

In 1973, a Joint Bipartite Wage Negotiations Committee for the coal industry was set up, which later came to be known as JBCCI. The tenure of one JBCCI existed till the next committee was constituted, it added.

Senior Advocate S.B. Upadhyay and Advocate-on-Record (AOR) Neeraj Shekhar appeared for the petitioners, while Senior Advocate Sanjoy Ghose, Advocate-on-Record (AOR) Mayuri Raghuvanshi and Advocate Vyom Raghuvanshi represented the Indian National Mineworkers Federation, (Respondent No. 1).

Case title: Indian National Trade Union Congress (Dubey group) vs Indian National Mineworkers Federation & Ors

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