The IAC is a court that serves as a last resort when other avenues for resolving a labour dispute have failed. If a dispute still cannot be resolved by the MUTTER, the employer, the union or both may refer the matter to the IAC for conciliation. “Working conditions and benefits, as defined in collective agreements negotiated by unions, have improved significantly since the `60s,” Karthikeyan said. The tasks of the IAK include the registration and certification of collective agreements, the settlement of labour disputes through the granting of court or arbitration decisions, the interpretation and enforcement of distinctions, the annulment or modification of collective attributions or agreements, mediation and the provision of labour relations advisory services. The tribunal thus helped to prevent labour disputes, such as strikes and picket lines, which were commonplace in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s, by proposing a peaceful alternative in the form of arbitration. While industrial arbitration is seen as a more efficient and less expensive method of resolving labour disputes, it is a relatively unknown process for many Singaporeans. The IAC was established in 1960 with the adoption of the Labour Relations Act and aimed to promote collective bargaining and the free negotiation of collective agreements in areas related to relations between employers and employees. In the event of a dispute over the right of senior managers to collective representation, the employer or union may request conciliation assistance from the Ministry of Labour. This collective bargaining process can be initiated either by the employer or by the union. The party wishing to enter into negotiations for a collective agreement is required to notify a termination and the receiving party is required to accept the invitation to negotiate. Negotiations between the employer and the union should begin as soon as possible. When the IAC first receives a request for arbitration, the Registrar calls for a meeting with the employer and the union concerned. Subject to the agreement of the parties, the Registrar may convene new meetings to assist the parties in resolving the dispute amicably through mediation.
If the parties are able to settle the dispute amicably, the party or parties who filed the application with the IAC are invited to withdraw the application and the case is closed. A collective agreement is an agreement between an employer and the union on the working and employment conditions of workers. The collective agreement is valid for at least 2 years and a maximum of 3 years. Once a collective agreement is signed, it must be submitted to the Labour Arbitration Tribunal for confirmation within one week from the date of signature. For more details on the conditions for submitting a collective agreement, the types of disputes and the different channels for filing an application with the IAC, visit the IAC website. In the event that a commercial dispute cannot be settled after conciliation at MOM and the negotiations have been blocked, the commercial dispute may then be referred to the Court of Industrial Arbitration (IAC) for conciliation. Escalating a commercial dispute at the IAC for arbitration should only be a last resort if all attempts to reach an agreement through conciliation have failed. The provisions relating to the establishment of such courts are defined in the standard rules agreed between the DA and the LO for the treatment of labour disputes which apply between all contracting parties that have not explicitly agreed on another appropriate procedure (§ 22, Labour Courts Act). . .