ILLEGAL STRIKE AND LOCK-OUT IN PUBLIC UTILITY SERVICES



ILLEGAL STRIKE AND LOCK-OUT IN PUBLIC UTILITY SERVICES  

BY

SMART LEARNING WAY               
                          
Content

  1. Introduction
  2. Illegal strikes and lock-outs (sec-24)
  3.  When Would strikes or lockouts be illegal
  4. Consequences of illegal strikes / lockouts
  5. What is public utility services and is significance?
  6. Prohibition of strike and lock-outs in public utility service (sec-22)
  7. Penalty
  8. Bibliography

Introduction
                 
                  Strike in violation of the law. Most public-sector strikes are illegal. Strikes that violate an existing labor contract, are not properly authorized by the union membership, or violate a court order are also illegal.
   
Definition of strike

“Strike” [sec-2(q)]

             “strike "means a cessation of work by body of person employed in any industry acting in combination, or a concerted refusal, or a refusal under a common understanding , of any number of person who are or have been so employed to continue to work or to accept employment.

Definition of illegal strike

          There are four cases where a strike is, in principle, illegal. In other words, when the right to strike is denied or where its occurrence is suspended or subject to certain formalities, any strike which occurs is illegal in principle,

          The first case is that in which the employer, is a public utility. At all times, in all circumstances, any strike which occurs would be illegal.

            The second case is that in which t he employer is not a public utility but where the employees have stopped work without meeting all the time limits and conditions required by Article 24 of the Labour Relations Act.

                                   The third case is that in which the employer is not a public utility and where the employees declare a strike during the life of a contract in which they have agreed to accept as binding . all arbitration awards concerning grievances arising from the application of the contract.

                 The fourth case is t h a t in which the employer is not a public utility  and where the employees declare a strike during the life ef a contract without following the time-limits and conditions required by Article 24, Paragraph 2, of the Labour Relations Act.

What is a lockout?

ž               Lock-out‘ means temporary closing or 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. [section 2(l)]. Workers go on strike, while lock-out‘ is to be declared by employer.

        The 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. 

ž  It means the closure of the place of business and not closure of business itself.
ž  Lock-out is usually used by the employer as a weapon of collective bargaining.

Types of lock-out

Temporary closing of a place of employment.
Suspension of work.
Refusal by an employer to continue to employ any number of persons employed by him.



Illegal strikes and lock-outs (sec-24)

  1. Strike or lock- out is illegal if:
 It is commenced or declared in contravention of sec-22 or 23
  It is continued in contravention of an order made under sub-section (3) of section 10 or 4A section 10A

 2. Not deemed to be illegal if;


      Where a strike or lock-out has already commenced and is in existence at the time of the reference of disputes to the board, arbitrator, labor court/ tribunal/national tribunal, provided that such strike or lock-out was not at its commencement in contravention of provisions of this ACT or prohibition of under sec 10(3) or 10A (4A)
  3. Not deemed to be illegal if;
      A lock-out declared in consequence of an illegal strike or a strike declared in contravention of an illegal lock-out.
When Would strikes or lockouts be illegal

  In 'public utility service' [sec-22(1)& (2), 23, 30, 19] when strike / lockout is commenced :

  A)   without giving at lest 14 days notice 
 B)  commenced after 42 days of notice
  C)  prior to date indicated in the notice
 D) during pendency of proceedings before conciliation officer/board and seven days thereafter
  E) during pendency of proceedings before labourcourt / tribunal / arbitrators and two months thereafter
  F) during the period when a settlement or award is in operation on matters covered
Note :
       
A strike/lock out legally commenced would become illegal if continued after government bans it under section 10(4a) and 24

Consequences of illegal strikes / lockouts

            On  workmen
 -          All workmen no wages
- Instigators could be punished/imprisoned under sections 26, 27, 28.
            On employer
-          Will have to pay wages and can be punished/imprisoned under sections 26, 27, 28.
            On any person
 -  Any person extending financial assistance to further an illegal strike or lockout would be violating
            section 25.

What is public utility service & its significance

I)Significance

A)         Under section 2(n) of the ID ACT 1947 certain category of  industries have been declared as public utility services.
B)         As per sections 22 to 24 more stringent provisions have been prescribed for declaring lock outs (by employers) or for organizing strikes (by workmen) in such industries.

Ii)consequence

A)         non-observance by employers would make the lock out illegal and make the workmen eligible for wages for the period of illegal lock out.

B)         non-observance by workmen would make the strike illegal and make them disentitled for wages for the strike period.

What is public utility services?

      Categories of industries falling under 'public utility service‘
    Section 2(n) declares certain types of industries to be permanently public utility services and some others which could be declared as public utilities for temporary periods of six months at a time.
A)     permanent public utility services [sn.2(n)(I TO v)]

l)Any rail/transport/air services/services in major ports or docks

Ii)         Any section of an industry the working of which is    essential for ensuring safety of workmen employed.

Iii) Post/telegraph/telephone services

Iv) Industries supplying power/light or water to public

V)         Any system of public conservancy sanitation.

b) Temporary public utility services

I)          section 2n(vi) empowers the central/state governments      to declare any industry listed in schedule -i of the ID act as public utility services

Ii)         Such declarations by the appropriate government is valid For six months from date of notification in gazette.

Iii)Government can extend the validity by renewing the declaration at the end of each six month.

Iv)If the declarations are not renewed such notified industries would come out of the definition of public utility.

V)         as per schedule-i, the following categories of industries could be cleared as public utility for six monthly spells through a gazette notifications:

Schedule-1
1.
TRANSPORT SERVICES
14.
BANKING
2.
CEMENT
15.
COAL
3.
COTTON TEXTILES
16.
FOOD STUFFS
4.
IRON & STEEL
17.
DEFENCE ESTABLISHMENTS
5.
HOSPITALS & DISPENSARIES
18.
FIRE BRIGADE
6.
GOVERNMENT MINTS
19.
INDIA SECURITY PRESSES
7.
COPPER MINING
20.
IRON ORE MINING
8.
LEAD MINING
21.
ZINC MINING
9.
SERVICE IN ANY OIL FIELD
22.
SERVICE IN URANIUM INDUSTRY
10.
PYRITES MINING INDUSTRY
23.
SECURITY PAPER , MILL, HOSHANGABD
11.
SERVICES IN THE BANK
24.
PHOSPHORITE MINING
12.
MAGNESITE MINING
25.
CURRENCY NOTE PRESS
13.
FERTILIZER INDUSTRY
26.
MANUFACTURING, MARKETING & DISTRIBUTION OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS


      Prohibition of strike and lock-outs in public utility service (sec-22)
    Sec-22 provides for following additional safeguards for the smooth and uninterrupted running of public utility services and to obviate the possibility of inconvenience to the general public and society.
-          State of Bihar V Deodhar jha AIR 1958 (pat)

Provisions

  1. no strike in public utility:
a) Without giving to the employer notice of strike, within 6 weeks before striking i.e. from the date of the notice to the date of strike, a period of 6 weeks should not have elapsed;
b) Within 14 days of giving such notice i.e. a period of 14 days must have elapsed from the date of notice to the date of strike
c) Before the expiring of the date of strike specified in any such notice as aforesaid i.e., the date specified in the notice must have expired on the day of striking;
d) During the pendency of any conciliation proceeding before a conciliation officer and 7 days after the conclusion of such proceedings.

2. No lock-out in public utility 

a) Without notice of lock-out within 6 weeks before lock-out
b) Within 14 days of giving such notice.
c) Before the expiring of the date of lock-out specified in notice.
d) During the pendency of any conciliation proceeding before a conciliation officer and 7 days after the conclusion of proceeding.

3. Notice of lock-out or strike under this section shall not be necessary where there is already in existence a strike or lockout in public utility service, but the employer or employee in case of strike shall send intimation of such lock-out or strike on the day on which it is declared to authority specified by appropriate government.

4. Notice of strike (u/s 22 (1) shall be given by such number of person to such number of persons and in such manner as may be prescribed.

5. Notice of lock-out(u/s 22(2) shall be given in such manner as may be presented.

6. Within 5 days of the receipt of notice from any person employed by him or employer shall report to the appropriate government or to the prescribed authority, the number of such notices received or given on that day.

lock-out

1. Penalty for illegal lock-outs
  An illegal lock-out is punishable for a term extending to 1 moth or with fine up to Rs. 1000 or with both.

2. penalty for instigation of illegal lock-outs
an illegal lock-out is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 6 months or a fine up to Rs. 1000 or both.

when would strikes or lockouts be illegal in 'public utility service

when would strikes or lockouts be illegal in 'public utility service' [22(1)& (2), 23, 30, 19] when strike / lockout is commenced :
a) without giving atlest 14 days notice 
b)   commenced after 42 days of notice
c)   prior to date indicated in the notice
d)  during pendency of proceedings before conciliation officer/board and seven days thereafter
e)  during pendency of proceedings before labor court / tribunal / arbitrators and two months thereafter.
f)   during the period when a settlement or award is in operation on matters covered.

consequences of illegal strikes / lockouts   on workmen   

  -  all workmen no wages 
  -   instigators could be punished/imprisoned under sections 26, 27, 28. on employer
    will have to pay wages and can be   punished/imprisoned under sections 26, 27, 28. on any person  
  -  any person extending financial assistance to further an illegal strike or lockout would be violating section 25.


Bibliography

ž  Labour laws
                            - Taxmann’s
ž   Legal systems in business
                            -  P. Saravanavel
                            -  S. sumathi
ž  Industrial jurisprudence and Labour Legislation
                             - A.M. Sarma 

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