Labour laws course materials

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The definition can be divided into three parts. The first part refers to the factum of real and substantial dispute, the second part to the parties to dispute and the third to the subject-matter of the dispute. Standard Vacuum Refining Co of India Vrs. Their Workmen. AIR 1960 SC 948.

Industrial dispute can be raised about persons who are not strictly workmen of the employer as defined in the Act provided the workmen who have raised the dispute have direct or substantial interest in the dispute. Workman of Dimakuchi Tea Estate Vrs. Dimakuchi Tea Estate . AIR 1958 SC 353; Western India Match Co Ltd Vrs. Western India Match Co. Workers Union, (1970) II LLJ 256; see also All India Reserve Bank Employees’ Vrs. Reserve Bank of India, 1965 (11) FLR 137 (SC).

The term “non-employment” – As used in Section 2(k) of the Act – Has a special significance – Has to be read with the definition of “Workman” – Employees should have direct interest in the dispute referred – Deputed reference made for adjudication was a valid reference. Workers Union Vrs. Industrial Tribunals , 1994 (68) FLR 70 (Cal).
Since the expression “industrial dispute” as defined in Sec. 2(k) of the Act covers a dispute connected with non-employment of any person and Sec. 10 of the Act empowers the appropriate Government to make a reference in a case where an “industrial dispute” is apprehended. Workmen of Minakshi Mill Ltd. Vrs. Minakshi Mills Ltd 1992 (65) FLR 1 (SC).
Industrial Dispute – Once a dispute is referred to Tribunal by appropriate Government the presumption of it being on “ industrial dispute” is there. The Workers Union Vrs. The VIIIth Industrial Tribunal W.B. 1994 (68) FLR 701 (Cal).
If a Labour Court after considering the entire evidence before it gives a finding that the applicant is a workmen , the High Court will not be justified in disturbing that finding and take a different view and in case if the High Court does so, the Supreme Court wil interfere with the High Court’s order M/s. Loe and Cold Storage Co. Pvt Ltd. Vrs. State of U.P 1996 (72) FLR 104 (ALL).
Settlement of Labour disputes by direct negotiation and collective bargaining is to be preferred for it is the best guarantee of industrial peace which is the aim of settlement of labour disputes – AIR 1997 SC 2334.
Demand to confirm employee employed in acting condition is industrial dispute – AIR 1984 SC 1683 – Dispute between employer and minority Union also covered u/s 2(k) – Air 1978 SC 828. Service terminated – Suit in Civil Court for reinstatement and backwages – Suit not maintainable – Impliedly barred – 1989 (1) LLJ 572.
(ka) "industrial establishment or undertaking" means an establishment or undertaking in which any industry is carried on:
Provided that where several activities are carried on in an establishment or undertaking and only one or some of such activities is or are an industry or industries, then, -

    • (a) if any unit of such establishment or undertaking carrying on any activity, being an industry, is severable from the other unit or units of such establishment or undertaking, such unit shall be deemed to be a separate industrial establishment or undertaking;

    • (b) if the predominant activity or each of the predominant activities carried on in such establishment or undertaking or any unit thereof is an industry and the other activity or each of the other activities carried on in such establishment or undertaking or unit thereof is not severable from and is, for the purpose of carrying on, or aiding the carrying on of, such predominant activity or activities, the entire establishment or undertaking or, as the case may be, unit thereof shall be deemed to be an industrial establishment or undertaking;

  • (kk) "insurance company" means an insurance company as defined in section 2 of the Insurance Act, 1938 (4 of 1938), having branches or other establishments in more than one State ;

  • (kka) "khadi" has the meaning assigned to it in clause (d) of section 2 of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act, 1956 (61 of 1956);

  • (kkb) "Labour Court" means a Labour Court constituted under section 7:

  • (kkk) "lay-off" (with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions) means the failure, refusal or inability of an employer on account of shortage of coal, power or raw materials or the accumulation of stocks or the breakdown of machinery or natural calamity or for any other connected reason to give employment to a workman whose name is borne on the muster rolls of his industrial establishment and who has not been retrenched.
    Explanation.--Every workman whose name is borne on the muster rolls of the industrial establishment and who presents himself for work at the establishment at the time appointed for the purpose during normal working hours on any day and is not given employment by the employer within two hours of his so presenting himself shall be deemed to have been laid-off for that day within the meaning of this clause: Provided that if the workman, instead of being given employment at the commencement of any shift for any day is asked to present himself for the purpose during the second half of the shift for the day and is given employment then, he shall be deemed to have been laid-off only for one-half of that day:
    Provided further that if he is not given any such employment even after so presenting himself, he shall not be deemed to have been laid-off for the second half of the shift for the day and shall be entitled to full basic wages and dearness allowance for that part of the day;


The term “lay off” is used in industrial and labour law as meaning “putting aside workmen from employment temporarily.” According to the definition of the word “lay-off’ as given in this clause it means failure , refusal or inability on the part of the employer to give employment are enumerated in this clause.

The key words in the definition are the “failure, refusal or inability of an employer … to give employment to a workmen.” One thing is clear from the definition that the unemployment of the workman whether for the whole day or for a part of the day is not his own creation. It is independent of any action on the part of the workman himself.

Words “any other reason” – Meaning of – The words ‘any other reason “ enumerated in Sec.2(kkk) must be interpreted in the light of the preceding words , i.e. the principle of ejusdem generis.

See Kairbetta Estate Vrs Rajamanickam AIR 1960 SC 893.

It is clear that the lay off does not terminate or bring to an end to the contract of employment. The employees continue to be on the master roll of the employer and they have to be reinstated as soon as normal working is resumed Anusuyabai Vrs. Mehta 1959 (2). LLJ 742.

Employer should give reasons before laying off the workmen – Disconnection of power-supply and financial crisis due to non-receipt of sanction to develop land from Government – As reasons for laying off worked not relevant and proper. Hope Textiles Ltd Vrs. State of M.P., 1992 (65) FLR 770 (M.P).

Lay off by its very nature is for a short duration and cannot be for years - 1996 (2) LLJ 423.

  • (l) "lock-out" means the temporary closing of a place of employment or the suspension of work, or the refusal by an employer to continue to employ any number of persons employed by him;
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