HC tells power unions to approach disputes tribunal

The claim of rival unions to be declared as the representative of workers in five power firms, which came into being after state-owned DVB was unbundled in 2002, can be decided by the Industrial Disputes Tribunal, the Delhi High Court has said.

The Delhi State Electricity Workers Union (DSEWU) and Delhi Vidyut Karmchari Union (DVKU) have been fighting a legal battle with each other and with other firms for getting declared as workers’ representative body in five successor power firms of the erstwhile public sector unit, Delhi Vidyut Board.

A bone of contention in the legal row is whether a workers’ union can be recognised “industry-wise or it has to be establishment (company) specific.”

“When we look at the contrasting stands taken by the parties, we intend to agree with submissions of the respondents, that is to find out whether industry-wise recognition is feasible or it has to be establishment specific. This can be decided by the Industrial Disputes Tribunal by means of adjudication,” the court said.

“The Industrial Disputes Act contemplates a mechanism to sort out such issues.

Therefore, the issue of whether establishment-wise recognition is to be given to the unions or it should be industry-wise, needs adjudication for which the appropriate forum would the Tribunal,” said a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri.

DVB was unbundled in 2002 into five firms — Indraprastha Power Generation Co Ltd for power generation, Delhi Transco Ltd for transmission, and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and North Delhi Power Ltd for power distribution.

Two workers’ unions of erstwhile DVB are seeking industry-wise recognition in successor firms on the ground that they pertained to one industry. 

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