Decided on August 30,1972

F.N.LALA Respondents


- (1.) In this petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution, the petitioner-company has challenged the legality and correctness of the award dated August 21, 1967, made by the Industrial Tribunal in Reference (IT) No. 377 of 1966.
(2.) The relevant facts are as follows : The petitioner-company carries on business of manufacturing electrical and mechanical articles and appliances at its factory at Kalina, Santacruz (East), Bombay. Prior to May 22, 1966, the petitioner-company employed 110 permanent and 21 temporary workmen in its factory. The factory timings for all the workmen were then 8-30 A.M. to 5-30 P.M., with a lunch break from 12-30 P.M. to 1-00 P.M. on week days. By a letter dated May 17, 1966 addressed to the Chief Inspector of Factories the petitioner-company proposed alteration of the above working hours from 7-00 A.M. to 3-00 P.M., with a lunch break from 11-00 A.M. to 11-30 A.M. The petitioner-company made this proposal so as to begin working two shifts instead of one shift which was operative till May 22, 1966. The petitioner-company desired to bring into effect the above alterations in working hours with effect from May 23, 1966. The above letter of proposal dated May 17, 1966 was displayed on the notice board for the workmen to comply with the change. Respondent No. 2 union of workmen expressed its protest against the proposed change by a letter dated May 21, 1966. The petitioner-company brought into effect the alteration of the working hours as from May 23, 1966. The workmen, however, insisted that the working hours should continue to remain from 8-30 A.M. to 5-30 P.M. with a lunch break between 12-30 P.M. and 1-00 P.M. On May 23, 1966 the workmen came to join duty at 8-30 A.M. The workmen having not been furnished with work, according to the petitioner-company, staged forthwith a sit-down strike contending that unless the original timings were reverted to they would not resume work. Certain discussions then took place. Ultimately, the petitioner-company put up its first notice dated May 23, 1966, at 1-30 P.M., there by intimating to the workmen that their stay-in-strike was unjustified and that unless they resumed work within 30 minutes, i.e., by 2-00 P.M., the petitioner-company would be constrained to take further action against the striking workmen. This notice proved to be of no effect. The petitioner-company thereupon put up a second notice dated May 23, 1966, at 4-00 P.M. intimating to the workmen that they had no right to remain in the works, as they did not commence to operate and work and that thereafter the workmen would not be allowed to enter the factory, unless they gave a written undertaking that they desired to enter into the factory for carrying out the work peacefully.
(3.) The workmen refused to give the undertaking as above and were accordingly as from May 24, 1966, not allowed to enter into the factory. The workmen thereupon expressed their protest by carrying red banners and shouting slogans and remaining outside the factory. According to the petitioner-company, certain acts of violence took place after expiry of three or four days when some of the workmen intended to join work after giving the undertaking as demanded. It appears that thereafter 32 workmen out of the total of 131 commenced to work in the factory. Sixty-eight of the workmen, however, continued to protest against the conduct of the petitioner-company and refused to give the undertaking demanded. In the result, by a notice of termination of service dated June 25, 1966, the petitioner-company terminated services of sixty-eight workmen as from June 25, 1966. These workmen are all mentioned in the above notice at serial Nos. 1 to 68 by their personal names. These workmen were requested to collect their legal dues from the office of the factory on Monday June 27, 1966 or thereafter during the working hours. Copies of the above notice terminating the services of sixty-eight workmen were forwarded to the Chief Inspector of Factories, the Government Labour Officer, Secretary to the Industries and Labour Department, Deputy Commissioner of Labour and the Inspector of Police.;

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