Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Provisions regarding strikes and lock-outs

Strike generally means stoppage of work by workmen to pressurize the employer to fulfill their demands or for any other cause. Similarly, lock-out is a weapon in the hands of the employer for compelling the workmen to accept the terms and conditions. 

But strike and lock-out cause a lot of loss to the industry and causes a stoppage of production. Thus, to know the strike and lockout beforehand Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 lays down certain provisions regarding it.

Section 22 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 lays down the provision regarding the prohibition of strikes and lock-outs. This section is applicable to the lock-outs and strikes in industries carrying the public utility service. Lock-outs and strikes under this section are not totally prohibited but there are certain requirements to fulfill. 

Section 22(1) says that no person who is employed in public utility service shall go on strike in breach of contract and must follow the below requirements:

  1. Without giving notice to the employer within six weeks before striking;

  2. Within the 14 days of giving such above notice;

  3. Within the expiry of the date of strike specified in such notice;

  4. During the pendency and after seven days after the conclusion of proceedings before any conciliation officer.   

It is important to note that these provisions do not prohibit or restrict the workmen from going on a strike but these are certain requirements that they need to mandatorily fulfill before going on a strike. These provisions are only applicable to a public service utility and not to any other utility service. When there is a lock-out in existence then notice of strike is not necessary.

Section 22(2) says that no employer shall lock out any of his workmen who is carrying any public utility service-

  1. Without giving notice to the employer within six weeks before striking;

  2. Within the 14 days of giving such above notice;

  3. Within the expiry of the date of strike specified in such notice;

  4. During the pendency and after seven days after the conclusion of proceedings before any conciliation officer.

According to Section 22(3) the notice under subsection (1) and (2) can be dispensed in certain cases-

  1. When there is already a strike in existence then no such notice of lock-out is necessary for the public service utility concerned.

  2. When there is already a lock-out in existence then no such notice of strike is necessary for the public service utility concerned.

Section 23 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 provides the general prohibition of strikes and lock-outs. This section applies to both public utility as well as non-public utility establishments.

According to this section, a strike in breach of contract by workmen and lock-out in case of the employer is prohibited in the following cases-

  1.  During the pendency and after seven days after the conclusion of proceedings before any conciliation officer.

  2. During the pendency and after two months of proceedings before a Labour Court, Tribunal, or National Tribunal.

  3. During the pendency and after two months of arbitration proceedings before an arbitrator.

  4. During any period where a settlement or award is in operation.


 

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