Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
We feel it is wrong in principle for the Railway Member of the Government of India or the Railway Board which represents the Government to enter into direct discussion of working conditions with representatives of the workers until the Agents responsible for the running of the railways have had an opportunity of a round-table conference with these representatives. The Indian Railway Conference Association and the All-India Railwaymen's Federation are bodies whereby a Joint Standing Central Board can be formed in the best interests of all concerned. We therefore recommend the introduction of machinery for dealing with industrial relations on railways which will provide for the constitution of a Joint Standing Central Board to which representatives of the Agents and of the workers should be elected in equal proportions. Taking existing organisations into account, we recommend that the representatives of the Agents should be elected by the Indian Railway Conference Association and those of the workers by the All-India Railwaymen's Federation and that, as far as possible, representatives should have practical knowledge of railway working. Neither side should have more than one representative connected with any one railway. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman should be appointed by and from the members forming the Central Board, suitable arrangements being made for the carrying out of secretarial duties. In this connection, we observe that verbatim reports of the proceedings of the meetings of representatives of the All-India Railwaymen's Federation with the Railway Member and the Railway Board have been printed and published. While it is necessary for a record to be kept of- decisions and of the more important points emerging from the discussions, there is much to be said against printing and publishing verbatim speeches of members of a joint conference. We advise that this practice should not be followed at meetings of the Central Board or of any other sections of the joint standing machinery. The functions of the proposed Joint Standing Central Board should be to consider and, where possible, to effect a settlement of general questions common to all railways and of matters common to one or more grades of labour, where it has not been found possible to reach agreement in the Railway Councils of individual systems. Such differences would come up automatically before the Central Board, which would also receive and consider joint references from Railway Councils. Where a dispute is apprehended on any railway, if the matter is not capable of settlement by its Railway Council, it should be referred automatically to the Central Board, it being agreed that no stoppage of labour either by strike or lock-out should take place pending consideration by the Central Board or, in the event of failure to reach agreement, pending the decision of the Tribunal to be set up.
In the event of the Central Board failing to reach agreement, we recommend that, if either party so desires, the dispute should be referred to a Tribunal, We suggest that this Tribunal be composed of five representatives from each side of the Central Board, together with other
five persons from outside, unconnected with railway administration or railway workers or their associations. Of the latter, two should be nominated by each side of the Central Board, and the fifth and last member should be selected by both sides of the Board to act as an independent Chairman; failing an agreed nomination, the Chairman should be appointed by the Government of India.