How To File a Complaint Against Unfair Labour Practice

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Deepshikha Mishra
Deepshikha Mishra is Co-Founder & Legal Head at - Legal strategic partner at SAS Exim -Legal Counsel at Galleon - Legal Advisor at Taxolawgy - Astrologer at Guruji app – Law Content Developer & Educator at UPSC coachings and Unacademy. BBA.LLB- Business & Taxation Laws, CM. Cyber Crime Laws. Pers. MD. Medical Laws from National Law School of India University, Bangalore. (Past intern & works - Supreme Court, High Courts, Human Rights Commission, Law firms, Path Legal, Libertatem Global Law News Network)

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Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 mentions clearly what are unfair labour practices on the part of employees. The Fifth Schedule of the Act provides a list of unfair labour practices. They are carried out by employers and trade unions of employers.  It also consists of unfair labour practices on the part of workmen and trade unions of workmen.

Prohibition of unfair labour practice 25(T):

No employer or workman or a trade union shall commit any unfair labour practices. It will make no difference if the trade union is registered under the Trade Unions Act, 1926 or not.

Penalty for committing unfair labour practices 25 (U):

A person shall be punishable with imprisonment if he commits any unfair labour practices. The term might extend to six months or fine is applicable which might extend to one thousand rupees or both.

Features of the Act: 

The MRTU & PULP Act, 1971 applies to every industry. It is available to which the Bombay Industrial Relations Act and the Industrial Disputes Act are applicable. It covers every person under the Bombay Industrial Relations Act defined as an employee. Under the Industrial Disputes Act, covers every person as a worker. It seeks to as follows:

  • It provides for recognition of trade unions which will help in collective bargaining. It formalizes rights and obligations of unions. It confers powers on unrecognized unions,
  • It regulates strikes and lockouts by defining the illegality they involve. It lists unfair labour practices and provides for prevention of these. It constitutes relevant labour judiciary institutions to deal with matters arising out of the provisions of the Act.

Procedure to file a complaint relating to unfair labour practice under the MRTU and PULP Act: 

Section 28 of the Act deals with complaints relating to unfair labour practices. The procedure to file a complaint are as follows:


If any person has engaged or is engaging in any unfair labour practice, a complaint is to be filed within 90 days. Any union, employee, or Investigating Officer can file the complaint. They can file a complaint after the occurrence of unfair labour practices. It should be filed before a competent court as given under Section 5 or Section 7 of the act. If the complainant shows a good reason for the late filing of the complaint then the court may entertain it.


The Court shall give its decision on every such complaint within six months. It shall be noted from the date of receipt of the complaint.


The court under sub-section (1), on receipt of a complaint, may first cause an investigation if it considers necessary. The said complaint is to be made by the Investigating Officer. It is to be directed that a report in the matter may be submitted by him to the Court. It is to be submitted within the period specified in the direction.


The Investigating Officer might visit the undertaking, the place where practice alleged is said to have occurred. He may make such inquiries as he considers necessary. He may also make efforts to promote settlement of the complaint at the time investigation.


The Investigating Officer shall submit its report to the court under subsection (4).  This is done after investigating the complaint and should be submitted within the time specified by it. It should state all facts and circumstances of the case, and the efforts made by him in settling the complaint. 

The Court shall supply a copy of the report to the complainant and the person complained against. It is done on demand and on payment of such fee as may be prescribed by rules.


The Court shall proceed to give its decision in a case where facts and circumstances require the matter to be considered further. This is done on receipt of the report of the Investigating Officer. Then the Court finds that the complaint has not been settled satisfactorily, 


The decision of the Court shall be in the form of an order and shall be in writing. The order of the Court shall be final.  It shall not be called in question in any civil or criminal court.


The court shall publish its order in such manner as may be prescribed. The order of the Court is to become enforceable from the date specified in the order.


The Court shall provide a copy of its order to the State Government. It can forward a copy to such officers of the State Government as may be prescribed in the act.


In India, several Acts and legislations are there which is enacted by the Government of India. It is done for the regulation of industries in the country. In the present scenario of increasing demand for labour flexibility, some practices would legally amount to unfair labour practices (ULPs). The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 has provided redressal measures against ULPs by employers, workmen, and unions. Therefore, while filing a complaint keep in mind the above points given in the article.


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