Employers, staff must talk to settle wage disputes: SC

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The Supreme Court said a settlement, if arrived at between employers and employees, would be given effect to n...Read More

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday asked

employers

and employees in

different sectors

to enter into negotiations for settlement of disputes over non-payment of wages during the

lockdown period

.
“Private establishment,

industries

, employers who are willing to enter into negotiations and settlement with workers/employees regarding payment of wages for 50 days or for any other period as applicable in any particular state during which their industrial establishment was closed down due to lockdown, may initiate a process of negotiation with their employees’ organisation and enter into a settlement with them and if they are unable to settle by themselves, submit a request to

labour authorities

concerned,” a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and MR Shah said.
The bench said such a settlement, if arrived at between employers and employees, would be given effect to notwithstanding the Centre’s order of March 29 directing employers to pay full wages to employees during the lockdown period. The apex court asked them to file the terms of settlement before the court before the next hearing scheduled for the last week of July.
Different employers and employers’ associations have questioning the orders issued under Disaster Management Act, 2005, and other orders issued by different states where directions have been issued that all employers, be it industries or shops or commercial establishments, shall make payment of wages of their workers at their workplace, on the due date, without any deduction, for the period their establishments are under closure during the lockdown. The Supreme Court said, “It can’t be disputed that both industry and labourers need each other. No industry or establishment can survive without employees/labourers and vice versa. We are of the opinion that efforts should be made to sort out the differences and disputes between the workers and the employers regarding payment of wages of above 50 days and if any settlement or negotiation can be entered into between them without regard to the March 29 order, the said steps may restore congenial work atmosphere.”
The Supreme Court said it cannot be disputed that the lockdown had equally adverse effects on employers and employees. “Various industries, establishments were not allowed to function during the said period and those allowed to function also could not function to their capacity,” it said.

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