Labour and Industrial Laws in India

Labour and Industrial Laws in India


Among the thousands laws, labour laws are one of the most important one. Labour law is also known as Employment law .

Labour law deals with the laws related to the workers and also it defines the relationship between workers, employers, union and government.

In other words, labour law defines the rights and obligations on workers, trade union members in the workplace.

The main object of labour law or industrial law is to provide industrial peace and economic justice.

Types of Labour law

Labour law is broadly categorized into two type’s i.e.

  • Individual labour law: It deals with the relationship between the employer and employee without the involvement of the trade union.
  • Collective labour law: It deals with the tripartite relationship between employer, employee and trade union.

The main difference between both is Individual labour law concerns employees right at work also through a contract for work whereas Collective labour law defines the tripartite relationship between employers, employee and trade union.


The earliest Indian law which regulates the relationship between employer and workman was Trade Dispute Act, 1929 and it restraining the right to strike and lockout but there was no machinery for the settlement of disputes. The state of labour law at any time is therefore both the product of and a component of struggles between different interests in society.[1]

Labour law arose due to the demands of workers for better conditions. The history of labour struggle about the demand for fair return to labour such as

  • Increase in wages
  • Better conditions
  • Equal opportunities
  • Unbiased etc.

International Labour Organization (ILO) was one of the first organizations to deal with labour issues. The ILO was established as an agency of the League of nation which follows the Treaty of Versailles which ended World War I. After World War I, many nations occupied the attention for the protection of unions.

Earlier labour was deprived of their rights at the workplace, they were paid less for their work and health issues and other issues were not considered. After going through such condition for a long time, they decided to raise their voice against exploiters and they demand more wages and better health condition for them at the workplace and they formed various organizations but it failed.

Then they decided to go on strike with the help of union and raised their voice so that their protest could reach to the government. Finally, in 1950, many articles deals with labour were added in the Constitution which protects the rights of labour and also assured that they are not humiliated at their workplace.

A Guide To Labour and Industrial Laws in India[2]

Under the Constitution of India “Labour” is a subject in the “Concurrent List” where both the Central and State Governments are competent to enact legislation subject. The Ministry of Labour and Employment needs to protect and safeguard the interests of workers in general.

Constitutional rights
  1. Article 14: Everyone should be equal before the law
  2. Article 15: state should not discriminate against citizens
  3. Article 16: equality of opportunity for employment
  4. Article 19(1)(c): to form association or unions
  5. Article 23: Prohibits trafficking and forced labor
  6. Article 24: Prohibit child labor under 14 years old in the factory
  7. Article 38(1): Promotes the welfare of people.
  8. Article 38(2): Decreases the inequality of income.
  9. Article 43(A): This article was inserted through the 42nd amendment that secures the participation of workers in the management.

Labour is stated in the concurrent list under the Constitution of India which imply to both union and state government.

Union ListConcurrent List
Entry 55- Regulation of labour and safety in mines and oil fields.Entry 22- Trade union, industrial and labour disputes.
Entry 61- Industrial disputes concerning union employee.Entry 23- Social security, insurance, employment and unemployment.
Entry 65- Union agencies and institution for vocational training.Entry 24- Welfare of condition of work, provident fund, employers, invalidity and old age pension and maternity benefits.

There are various labour laws enacted by the central government is classified into following categories i.e.

  1.  Laws relating to Industrial Relations-
  • Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
  • Trade union Act,1926
  1. Laws relating to Wages
  • Minimum Wages Act,1948
  • Payment of Wages Act, 1936
  • Payment of Bonus Act,1965
  1. Laws relating to Social Security
  • Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provision Act,1952
  • Employees State Insurance Act, 1948
  • Payment of Gratuity Act,1972
  • Employees Compensation Act,1923
  1. Laws relating to Working Hours, Condition of service and Employment
  • Factories Act,1948
  • Industrial Employment Act,1946
  • Weekly Holiday Act,1942
  • The Mines Act,1952
  • The Plantation Labour Act,1951
  • Contract Labour( Regulation and Abolition) Act,1970
  • The Dock Workers (Safety, Health & Welfare) Act, 1986
  1. Laws relating to Equality and Empowerment of Women
  • Equal Remuneration Act,1976
  • Maternity Benefits Act, 1961
  1. Prohibitive Labour Laws
  • Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976
  • Child Labour( Prohibition& Regulation) Act, 1986
  • The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act,1966
  •  The Sexual Harassment at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013

7. Labour Reform Act passed in Parliament Monsoon Season,2020

  • The Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions Code, 2020 ( Received Presidential
    Assent on-24-09-2020)
  • Advertisement
  • The Industrial Relations Code, 2020 ( Received Presidential Assent on-28-09-2020)
  • The Code On Social Security, 2020 ( Received Presidential Assent on-28-09-2020)
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

Industrial dispute means a dispute or difference between workmen and employers or workmen and workmen which is connected with employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of labour.[3]


  1. Promotion of measures for securing and preserving amity and good relation between employers and workers.
  2. Investigation and settlement of industrial disputes.
  3. Prevention of illegal strikes and lockout.
  4. Relief to workmen in the matter of layoff and retrenchment.
  5. Collective Bargaining.


  1. This act extends to the whole of India including the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  2. It encourages arbitration over the disputes between employers and employees.
  3. It provides for setting up of work committees as machinery for mutual consultation between employers and employees to promote cordial relation
  4. It paved the way for setting up permanent conciliation machinery at various stages having definite time limits for conciliation and arbitration.
  5. It emphasis on compulsory adjudication besides conciliation and voluntary arbitration of Industrial disputes.
  6. It empowers the government to make reference of the dispute to an appropriate authority i.e.
  7. Labour court
  8. Industrial tribunal
  9. National tribunal depending upon the nature of dispute either on its own or on the request of parties.
Trade Union Act, 1926

An Act to provide for the registration of Trade unions and in certain respects to define the law relating to registered Trade Union.

For registration of Trade Union, a minimum of 7 members are necessary.


  • They fight for discrimination against race, gender, sexual orientation and disability.
  • They foster respect and dignity in the workplace.
  • It promotes maternity rights, flexible working and paternity pay so that caring responsibilities are shared.

In India, there are 12 major trade unions are recognized as central trade union organizations i.e.[4]

  1. Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)
  2. Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC)
  3. All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC)
  4. Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS)
  5. Centre of India Trade Union (CITU)
  6. All India United Trade Union Centre(AIUTUC)
  7. Trade Union Co-ordination Centre(TUCC)
  8. Self Employed Women’s Association(SEWA)
  9. All India Central Council of Trade Union(AICCTU)
  10. Labour Progressive Federation(LPF)
  11. United Trade Union Congress(UTUC)
  12. National Front of Indian Trade Unions-Dhanbad(NFITU-DHN)

HMS, INTUC and SEWA are members of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). AITUC is a member of the World Federation of trade Union (WFTU).

Minimum Wages Act, 1948

The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 is an Indian labour law that sets the minimum wages that must be paid to skilled and unskilled labours.

The Act empowers the government to fix minimum wages for employees working in specified employment. It provides for review and revision of minimum wages already fixed after intervals not exceeding five years.[5]

Minimum Wage Act, 1948 was enforced to ensure that the employers did not exploit employees with insufficient wages.

Its aims is statutory fixation of minimum wages with a view to prevent exploitation of labour

Minimum wages in Haryana effective from 1 January 2020[6]

Class of employmentBasic per dayBasic per monthTotal per dayTotal per month
Semi skilled class A306.927980376.359785.05
Semi skilled class B322.278379395.1710274.29
Skilled class A338.388797.95414.9210788.01
Skilled class B355.309237.85435.6711327.42
Highly skilled373.079699.74457.4511893.79

India has many labor laws that governs almost all the aspects of the employment i.e. payment of wages, minimum wages, payment of bonus etc,

In Indian system of industrial relation the state play a vital role in the regulation of industrial relation as mediator or adjudicator.

Further Rule 81-A of Defence of India Rules, 1942 gave power to the government to intervene in industrial relations through compulsory reference of disputes to Industrial Tribunals and no emphasis was given to collective bargaining.

Also Read: Indirect Tax prior to GST and after GST

Labour and Industrial Laws in India.

[1]  LABOUR LAWS IN INDIA ( Ministry of Labour and Employment , Government of India :

[2]>india>,India:A Brief Guide To Labour And Industrial Laws Of India Article by Sulekha Kaul

[3] Section-2(k), Industrial Dispute Act,1947

[4]  LABOUR LAWS IN INDIA (Ministry of labour and employment, Government of India,

[5] LABOUR LAWS IN INDIA(Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India:

[6] LABOUR LAWS IN INDIA (Ministry of labour and Employment, Government of India,


BBA LLB, 5th Year, Chandigarh University

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