WORKMEN OF LAXMI STARCH FACTORY LTD Vs. LAXMI STARCH FACTORY LTD
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
WORKMEN OF LAXMI STARCH FACTORY LTD
LAXMI STARCH FACTORY LTD
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(1.) AN award of the Industrial Tribunal, Alleppey in a dispute between the Management of the Laxmi Starch Factory and its workmen is challenged in these original petitions. The issues referred for adjudication to the Tribunal were- 1. Revision of pay scales. 2. Revision of rates of batta. 3. Grant of night allowance. 4. Increase in D. A. 5. Payment of production bonus. 6. Dress, washing allowance and chappals. 7. Promotion. There is no challenge now to issues 6 and 7, The reference related only to 11 workmen working in the factory they being drivers, cleaners and a machanic. The Laxmi Starch Factory is a concern engaging more than 200 workers and is engaged in the production of starch, dextrine, glucose, etc. Regarding the drivers, cleaners and machanic there was a long terra agreement which expired on 31-12-1967. Regarding the other categories of workmen also there were long term agreements which were terminated and the demands of such workmen considered. There was settlement pursuant to this, but this settlement did not cover the case of the 11 workmen referred to above and that is why the dispute happened to arise and happened to be referred.
(2.) THE Tribunal's award is challenged by the workmen as well as by the management in the two petitions. According to the workmen as well as the management the Tribunal has not acted properly in reaching its decision embodied in the award.
(3.) THE main dispute concerns the revision of pay scales. The approach to this question is commented by counsel for workmen as perverse. Mention is made in the award to the wage structure in comparable concerns, The workmen relied on the cases of comparable concerns like the Aluminium Industries Limited, Kundra, the Kerala Electrical and Allied Engineering Company Limited, Kundra and the Kerala Ceramics Limited, Kundra. That all these are situate in the same area where the Laxmi Starch Factory is situate is evident and, therefore, if the wage structure in the Industries in the region could be considered to be relevant, necessarily reference may be made to the wage structure in the three concerns mentioned here. But the approach of the Tribunal appears to be that it has not been shown that these are comparable concerns and in order to establish that these are comparable concerns it must be shown that the number of workers, the annual turnover, the paid up capital and investments, the past and future prosperity, the financial stability or debility and the like are more or less identical. It would appear from the award that the Tribunal's attention was also drawn to the wage structure prevalent in a similar industry in Chalakudy. But that too has not been considered apparently for the reason that the management did not adduce evidence that this Chalakudy factory is similar to the Laxmi Starch Factory. In fact, the evidence adduced in the case has not been adverted to. At the same time it would appear that the Tribunal took the view that while there were agreements to cover all other categories of workers it was unfair on the part of the management not to have given a reasonable enhancement in the wages to the drivers, cleaners and the mechanic after the termination of the term of the earlier settlement and the Tribunal, therefore, felt that it would be a "travesty of justice" not to grant them a reasonable enhancement of their basic pay, D. A. and the other relevant amenities. The proper course which the Tribunal thought it should adopt was "to raise both the bottom as well as the top of the scale. " Accordingly she scale of drivers and mechanic was revised as 80-5-115-7-150-9-204 while that of the cleaners was revised as 60-4-88-5-118-6-148.;
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