THE MODEL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE - Industrial Relations Management

Model Grievance Handling Procedure

The draft Model Grievance procedure, accepted by the labour conference in 1958, is as follows:

  1. An arrived employee shall first present his grievance verbally in person to the officer designated by the management for this purpose. The response shall be given by the officer within 48 hours of the presentation of the complaint. If the worker is not satisfied with the decision of the officer or fails to receive the answer within 48 hours he will, either in person or accompanied by is departmental head, present his grievance to the head of the department.
  2. The head of the department shall give his answer within 3 days or if action cannot be taken within this period, the reason for delay should be recorded. If the worker is dissatisfied with the decision of the department all head, he may request that his grievance be forwarded to the Grievance Committee.
  3. The Grievance committee shall make its recommendation to the manager within 7 days if the workers request. If decision cannot be given within this period, reason should be recorded. Unanimous decision of the committee shall be implemented by the management. If there is a difference of opinion among the members of the committee, the matter shall be referred to the manager along with the views of the members and the relevant papers for final decision.
  4. In either case, the final decision of the manger shall be communicated to the employee within three days from the receipt of the Grievance Committee's recommendations.
  5. If the worker is not satisfied even with the final decision of the manager, he may have the right to appeal to the manager for revision. In making this appeal he may take a union official with him to facilitate discussion with the management. The management will communicate the decision within 7 days of workman's revision petition.
  6. If worker is still not satisfied, the mater may be referred to voluntary arbitration.
  7. Where a workers has taken a grievance for readdress under the grievance procedure the formal conciliation machinery shall not interview till all steps in the procedure have exhausted. A grievance shall be presumed to assume the form of a dispute only when the final decision of top management is turned down by the worker.

The Grievance Committee shall consist of 4 to 6 members.


The National Commission on Labour observed that there should be statutory backing for the formulation of an effective grievance procedure which should be simple, flexible and less cumbrous, and more or less on the lines of the pre Grievance Procedure. A grievance procedure, whether formal or informal, statutory or voluntary, has to ensure that it gives a sence of,

  1. Satisfaction to the individual worker,
  2. Reasonable exercise of authority to the manager, and
  3. Participation of unions.

The participation of the unions is necessary, because ultimately the unions will be answerable to members. To make procedure the effective, it is important that it should be simple and have a provision for at least one appeal. Besides, the procedure should be time-bound and have a limited number of steps. Hence, the Commission recommended that a grievance procedure should normally provide for three steps.

  1. Approach to the immediate superior;
  2. Appeal to the departmental head/manager; and
  3. Appeal to the bipartite grievance committee representing management and recognized union.

The constitution of the committee should have a provision that in case a unanimous decision is not possible, the unsettled grievance may be referred to an arbitrator. At earlier stages a worker should be free to be presented by a co-worker and an officer of the union.

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