Joint Consultative Machinery - Introduction
1. A Scheme for joint consultation with the organizations of Government servants on the pattern of the Whitely Machinery in the U.K. was recommended by the Second Pay Commission (1959). After working out the details in consultation with the leaders of the employees, the Scheme (Appendix I) was introduced in 1966. It broadly covers over 95% of the regular civil employees of the Central Government including industrial employees working in departmentally run undertakings like the Railways and the Workshops/Production Units of various Ministries. The Scheme is a voluntary one, and the Government as well as the Staff Associations/Unions participating in the Scheme are required to subscribe to a Declaration of Joint Intent (Appendix II), which inter alia provides for abjuration of agitational methods by the Staff Unions/Associations for redressal of their grievances.
2. The Scheme has been introduced with the object of promoting harmonious relations and of securing the greatest measure of cooperation between the Government, in its capacity as employer, and the general body of its employees in matters of common concern, and with the object, further, of increasing the efficiency of the public service.
3. The Scheme covers all regular civil employees of the Central Government, except:
the Class I services;
the Class II services, other than the Central Secretariat Services and the other comparable services in the headquarters organization of the Government;
persons in industrial establishments employed mainly in managerial or administrative capacity, and those who being employed in supervisory capacity draw salary in scales going beyond Rs. 2900/- per mensem;
employees of the Union Territories; and police personnel.
Scope of Joint Councils
4. The scope of the Joint Councils includes all matters relating to conditions of service and work, welfare of employees and improvement of efficiency and standards of work, provided, however, that (i) in regard to matters of recruitment, promotion and discipline, consultation is limited to matters of general principles only, and (ii) individual cases are not considered. While the National Council deals only with matters affecting Central Government employees generally, such as pay of common categories of staff, allowances, etc., the Departmental Council deals with matters affecting only the employees in the Ministries/Departments concerned. The Office/Regional Councils deal with regional or local issues only.
Structure of Joint Councils
5. The Scheme provides for setting up Joint Councils at the National, Departmental and Regional/Office levels. The National Council is the apex body. Its Constitution is given in Appendix III. The detailed rules governing the Conduct of Business of the National Council are given in Appendix IV. Departmental Councils under the Scheme are set up in the Ministries/Departments. A Model Constitution of the Departmental Council is added at Appendix V. There will normally be one Departmental Council for each Department. For two or more small Departments under a Ministry, there may, however, be a single Council, especially if the nature of duties in the departments are similar. The instructions governing the Conduct of Business of the Departmental Councils are at Appendix VI. There will also be Regional/Office Councils where the structure of a department permits the setting up of such a Council. The Model Constitution of the Office Council is at Appendix VII.
Composition of Joint Councils
6. Composition of various Joint Councils is as follows:
Maximum number of representatives
Official Side -- StaffSide
National Council 25 - 60
Departmental Council 10 - 20 to 30
Office Council 5 - 8
6.1 The Chairman may, in addition, nominate any temporary member to the Official Side in connection with any particular item to be discussed at the meeting of the Council.
Distribution of staff side seats
6.2.1 Where there are two or more Unions/Associations representing different categories of staff the Chairman shall distribute the total permissible representation on the Council on the basis of the respective numerical strengths of the categories concerned.
6.2.2 Where there are two or more Associations/Unions representing the same categories of staff the total permissible representation shall be distributed by the Chairman on the basis of the respective membership of each Union/Association.
6.2.3 If there has been change in the membership of the Association/Union proportional representation given could only be changed after verification of membership to be done in the manner advised by the Chief Labour Commissioner.
6.2.4 Distribution of seats may also be done by the Chairman in consultation with the Associations/Unions in any other manner acceptable to Associations/Unions.
Nominations of representatives on the Staff Side
6.3.1 At the commencement of the constitution and thereafter when occasions arise each recognized employees organization which term shall include a Federation, a Confederation, an Association and a Union eligible for representation on the Council, shall be intimated the number of members it may nominate on the Council.
6.3.2 In the case of C.S.S. categories of staff nominations to the Staff side from amongst the Staff of the Ministry will be made by the concerned Central Associations/Unions/Federations recoginsed by the Government.
6.3.3 On receipt of intimation, a recognized employees’ organization may intimate the names of its representatives nominated by its Executive Committees.
6.3.4 In the event of retirement, resignation, death, etc., of a representative of an employees’ organisation such organization may nominate or, in the case of retirement, renominate its representative.
6.3.5 On receipt of intimation from the organisation the Chairman of the Council shall consider whether the nomination is in accordance with the provisions of the Scheme and inform the employees’ organization concerned.
GOI decisions (O.M. No. 1/2/64-JCA, dated 14-1-1964).
(1) (i) According to the provisions of the Scheme, representation on a Joint Council can be had by employees of any particular grade only through their Association/Union, duly recognized for the purpose. Therefore, before any category of staff can be considered eligible for representation on a Joint Council, they would have to organize themselves into an Association/Union and get it recognized. Employees who do not do so, will not be eligible for representation on a Joint Council.
(ii) The representatives of the Staff Side on the Departmental Council will be chosen directly from recognized Associations/Unions and not from Regional/Zonal/Office Councils. (O.M. No. 1/2/64-JCA, dated 14-1-1964).
Term of Membership
6.4.1 The employees’ organizations will nominate their representatives for a term of 3 years; but there will be no bar to renomination.
6.4.2 Vacancies caused by death, retirement, resignation, transfer etc. will be filled for the unexpired term. An Association may replace on the Council such of its representatives as have ceased to be its office-bearer at annual elections or by exigencies such as a vote of no confidence.
6.4.3 For the purpose of nomination of the Staff Side, only those Federations, Associations/Unions will be recognized which had enjoyed recognition before 1966 and which represent broadly and adequately all the categories of employees of a Department. However, in the case of Department where there has been no recognized Federation/Association/Union in the past, or where the existing Federation etc., does not represent all the categories adequately, will another Association/Union be recognized.
6.4.4 No person who is not an employee or an honorably retired employee of the Central Government shall be a member of the Council.
Leader of the Staff Side
6.5 The Staff Side shall elect by simple majority, one of its members as its Leader, who shall hold that office for a period of one year but shall be eligible for re-election; a vacancy caused by dearth, retirement, resignation, transfer etc. will be filled for the unexpired term.
GOI decisions (O.M. NO. 1/2/64-JCA, dated 1-1-1964)
The Staff Side would speak through their Leader and they should iron-out their differences, if there are any, before their proposals could be considered. (O.M. NO. 1/2/64-JCA, dated 1-1-1964).
6.6 The Official and Staff Side may each appoint its Secretary or Secretaries from amongst its representatives.
Conduct of business in the Joint Councils
Frequency of Meetings
7.1.1 The ordinary meetings of the Council shall be held as often as necessary, and not less than once in four months. A notice of an ordinary meeting shall be sent to all members not less than fifteen days before the date of the meeting.
7.1.2 As far as may be possible, the date of the next ordinary meeting shall be fixed at each meeting of the Council.
7.1.3 Meetings of the Joint Council at Office level shall be held at least once in two months.
GOI decisions (O.M. No. 4/1/67-JCA, dated 5-3-1968).
The meetings of the Departmental councils should be held regularly in accordance with the relevant provisions in the rules for conduct of business of the various Departmental Councils. (O.M. No. 4/1/67-JCA, dated 5-3-1968).
7.2 The quorum shall be 1/3rd each of the strengths of the Official and Staff Sides.
7.3.1 A member desiring inclusion of a subject in the agenda of a meeting will communicate the subject together with an explanatory memorandum to the Secretary, Official or Staff Side, as the case may be, at least eight weeks in advance of the meeting. The Secretary concerned shall make sure that the subjects suggested fall within the purview of the Council and, thereafter, place the draft agenda before the Chairman not less than seven weeks before the due date of the meeting, for his approval to their inclusion in the agenda. If any item is not included in the agenda, the Secretary, Staff Side or Official Side, as the case may be, shall be informed of the fact and the reasons therefore.
7.3.2 The agenda for an ordinary meeting shall be circulated to all the members not less than thirty days before the meeting.
7.3.3 The agenda for a special meeting shall be circulated simultaneously with the notice of the meeting.
7.3.4 Business not on the agenda may only be taken up with the permission of the Chairman.
7.4 The minutes of a meeting will be drafted under the directions of the Chairman at the meeting and approved by the Council. They will thereafter be circulated to the members of the Council.
Decisions in Joint Councils
7.5.1 The Official Side will conclude matters at the meetings of the Council and will not reserve them for latter decision by the Government. Subject to the final authority of the Cabinet, agreements reached between the two sides of the Council will become operative.
7.5.2 If there is no agreement between the two sides, the matter may be transmitted to a Committee of the Council for further examination and report. But, if a final disagreement is recorded and the matter is one for which compulsory arbitration is provided, it shall be referred to arbitration if so desired by either side. In other cases, the Government will take action according to its own judgment.
(1) (i) The agenda items for the next meeting should be obtained from the Staff Side at least six weeks in advance and should be scrutinized to see that the items are admissible and do not have repercussions on other Departments; If they do the correct forum to discuss such items would be National Council, and a reference may be made to the Department of Personnel and Training at that stage itself so that the issue gets sorted out in time.
(ii) The Agenda items which are not proposed to be admitted should be discussed with the representatives of the Staff Side so that the items can either be modified or dropped after such discussions.
iii) The items should thereafter be processed with a view to deciding the stand to be taken by the Government on these items and where necessary the concurrence of Internal Finance/Ministry of Finance/Department of Personnel & Training should be obtained well in time so that a decision can be taken in the meeting itself. (O.M. No. 4/2/79-JCA, dated 20-7-80).
(2) Official briefs should be prepared uniformly in which the demand of the Staff Side should be reproduced and thereafter the Official views of the Government should be indicated. The Official briefs should also indicate the conclusion of the Ministry/Department specifying whether or not the demand can be accepted either in full or in part. (No. 3/37/79-JCA, dated 6-5-1980).
GOI decisions (O.M. No. 1/5/69-JCA, dated 30-1-1970)
The items proposed by the Staff Side should be examined expeditiously, and, where the Official Side is inclined to concede the whole or part of the demand, the orders of the competent authority should be obtained before the meeting of the Council. Where, however, for any unavoidable reason, the prior orders of the competent authority cannot be obtained before the meeting, the item may be deferred for consideration to the next meeting or remitted to a Committee of the Council. This would enable the Official Side to complete the examination of the matter, and to obtain the orders of the competent authority where necessary, before it is taken up for discussion/consideration in the Council or its Committee. (O.M. No. 1/5/69-JCA, dated 30-1-1970).
Publications of statements
7.6 Only statements issued under the authority of the Council shall be published; such statements shall be as full and informative as possible.
7.7.1 The Standing Committees shall frame their own rules of procedures subject to the approval of the Council. The Standing Committees shall not, however, take final decisions on any subjects that come before them and shall transmit their conclusions to the Council, except where powers have been specifically delegated to them.
GOI decisions (O.M. No. 4/2/79-JCA, dated 11-11-1981).
(1) (i) Demands of the Staff Side made in the Departmental Council should be scrutinized in advance, and the Ministries/Departments concerned should take a view in the first instance if considered necessary in consultation with Department of Personnel and Training, as to whether they fall within the jurisdiction of the Departmental Council or in the National Council. In the latter case, the Staff Side should be advised suitably. After admission of an item, it would not be proper for the Official Side to disown the item or for the Chairman to disallow discussion on the ground of conflict or jurisdiction.
(ii) If the Staff Side of the Departmental Council do not accept the Official Side view about the arbitrability of an item under the Scheme for JCM, the matter should be referred to Department of Personnel and Training by name to the Joint Secretary or Deputy Secretary in-charge of JCA Section. Till such advice is available, no final disagreement on the disputed item should be recorded, and, the Staff Side in the Council/Committee asked to await the advice of the Department of Personnel and Training as the final authority for deciding on the arbitrability of the issues under the JCM Scheme.
(iii) Department of Personnel and Training alone is competent under the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules to decide on all matters relating to the Scheme for JCM including the arbitrability of the item for Joint Council. (O.M. No. 4/2/79-JCA, dated 11-11-1981).
(2) Before a demand is accepted in the meeting of the Departmental Council (which includes Committees also), prior consultations should take place with the authorities concerned e.g., Ministry of Finance, Department of Personnel and Training etc., so as to avoid embarrassing situations subsequently. (D.O. No. 4/2/79-JCA, dated 3-2-1982).
(3) Wherever there is a scheme/proposal for introduction of new technology in a Ministry/Department, the Staff Side in the concerned Departmental Council may please be consulted before taking a final decision in the matter. ( No. 3/42/87-JCA, dated 25-1-1988).
(4) Staff Side had raised a demand that norms for sanctioning of posts in various grades may be fixed in consultation with the Staff Side (JCM), existing norms being arbitrary. It was also suggested that staff unions should be consulted in the matter of implementing SIU reports. In the National Council (JCM) it was agreed that the report of the SIU will be placed before the respective Departmental Councils. However, the Council will not put any impediment in its implementation. (No.3/77/91-JCA, dated 6-2-1992).
GOI decisions Arbitration
8.1.1 Compulsory Arbitration under the Scheme shall be limited to:
pay and allowances; weekly hours of work; and leave of a class or grade of employees.
Disputes regarding arbitrability of an item:
(1) In case of doubt whether a demand is arbitrable under Clause 16 of the JCM Scheme or not, the Department of Personnel & Training may be consulted in advance. ( No. 4/2/79-JCA, dated 20-7-1980).
(2) (a) If there is a dispute in the Departmental council on the arbitrability of an issue after it has been decided to sign a disagreement on the issue, the matter may first be referred to the Department of Personnel and Training to ascertain whether the item would be arbitrable.
(b) If the Department of Personnel and Training is also of the view that the item is not arbitrable, the issue will further be processed by the Department of Personnel and Training as follows:-
the dispute whether any particular issue is arbitrable under para 16 of the JCM Scheme may be referred to the Attorney General for his opinion.
each side may present its views in writing to the Attorney General and there may be no hearing.
The opinion of the Attorney General will be binding on both the parties.
(c) The approval of the Cabinet may be obtained for recording disagreement in the Departmental Councils as and when it is finally decided that the item is an arbitrable one.
(d) While adopting the procedure outlined in the preceding paragraphs it should be ensured that there is no unavoidable delay at any stage so that the disagreement could be recorded in the concerned Departmental Council without giving any cause of grievance for delay to the Staff Side. ( No. 1/7/87-JCA, dated 15-4-1988).
8.1.2 Cases of individuals shall not be subject compulsory arbitration.
8.1.3 A dispute shall not be referred to arbitration unless it has been considered by the National Council or the appropriate Departmental Council, as the case may be, and final disagreement between the two sides has been recorded. If there is a dispute relating to an arbitrable matter in a lower council, it will be placed before the Departmental Council concerned.
GOI decisions Constitution of Board of Arbitration
The Cabinet Note prepared for obtaining approval from Cabinet before signing disagreement with the Staff Side on arbitrable matters under Clause 16 of the JCM Scheme may be prepared on the lines of prescribed model note. (No. 6/26/82-JCA, dated 17-11-1982).
Constitution of Board of Arbitration
8.1.4 On a final disagreement being recorded on a arbitrable matter in the National Council/Departmental Councils, and on either side asking for referring the matter to arbitration, the Government is required to appoint a Board of Arbitration consisting of three members, one drawn from a panel of five names submitted by the Official Side, one from a similar panel submitted by the Staff Side of the National Council and a Chairman who is an independent person. The members and the Chairman are selected by the Minister of Labour. The award of the Board of Arbitration is binding on both the Official and Staff Sides, subject only to the power of Parliament to modify or reject an award on grounds of national economy or social justice.
8.1.5 In determining a dispute the Board of Arbitration shall examine the merits of the case presented by both the official side and staff sides, and take into account all other relevant factors including the principles enunciated in any recent report of a Commission of enquiry etc.
8.1.6 Before a case is referred to the Board of Arbitration, the following conditions will have to be satisfied:-
i.the subject should be one for which compulsory arbitration is provided according to the provisions of clause 16 of the Scheme;
ii.the dispute should have been considered either by the National Council or the appropriate Departmental Council;
iii.If there is a dispute relating to an arbitrable matter in a Lower Council it will have to be placed before the Departmental Council concerned.
8.1.7 Matters determined by the Government in accordance with the recommendations of a Commission will not be subject to arbitration for a period of 5 years from the date of the recommendation after which they will become arbitrable with reference, as far as possible, to the factors referred to in 8.1.6 above.
Awards of Board of Arbitration
8.2.1 Subject to the overriding authority of Parliament, recommendations of the Board of Arbitration will be binding on both sides.
If, for reasons to be recorded in writing, the Central Government is of opinion that all or any of the recommendations of Board of Arbitration should on grounds affecting national economy or social justice be modified, the Central Government shall, as soon as may be, lay before each House of Parliament the report of the Board containing such recommendations together with the modifications proposed and the reasons, therefor, and thereupon Parliament may make such modifications in the recommendations as it may deem fit. Modification may extend to the rejection of a recommendation.
8.2.2 Orders made by the Government in pursuance of recommendations of the Board of Arbitration shall, unless otherwise specified in those recommendations or modified by mutual agreement, remain in operation for a period of 3 years.