PW Act empowers RTC to deduct workers’ salary: AAG

‘Management can impose fine on striking workers every day’

The TSRTC management can not only deduct salary of the workers who went on strike, but is also empowered to recover losses suffered by the organisation during the strike period, said Additional Advocate General J. Ramchander Rao on Wednesday.

The AAG said the provisions of the Payment of Wages Act invested such power with the management in the event of workers going on illegal strike.

He was presenting the TSRTC management’s contentions before Justice Abhinandan Kumar Shavili of the Telangana High Court on Wednesday in a writ petition filed by Telangana Jathiya Mazdoor Union seeking payment of salary for September.

After going on strike for 52 days, over 40,000 employees of the TSRTC finally announced withdrawal of the strike three days ago. Even as they declared that they would join duty from Tuesday, the TSRTC Managing Director In-Charge Sunil Sharma said the corporation would not permit them to resume duty.

He said the HC has already directed the Labour Commissioner to take a call on referring the strike matter to Labour Court.

The present petition was filed while the strike was on and had earlier been heard partially. Explaining the management’s stand on the petitioner’s contention that the salary be paid to the workers, Mr. Rao explained that the PW Act did not envisage payment of salary to workers who were on strike.

“Workers are not entitled to salary for the strike period as the strike itself was illegal,” the AAG explained quoting the provisions of the Act. As per the Act, the employees whose net salary is not more than ₹24,000 can claim the salary by appealing before the appropriate authority (Joint Labour Commissioner). The latter would take a call on the matter.

Alternative remedy

As an alternative remedy for the issue raised, the HC cannot issue direction on this matter, the AAG contended. But the judge asked why the workers should not be paid the salary for September since they worked that month.

The AAG said Sections 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the Act empower the management to impose fine on the striking workers every day.

The Act also has provisions to deduct eight days of salary of a worker for every one day of abstaining from duty. It also empowers the corporation to recover losses suffered by the organisation by deducting the same from the salary of the employees, Mr. Rao told the court.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 6:11:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/pw-act-empowers-rtc-to-deduct-workers-salary-aag/article30099837.ece

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