HC restrains HAL staff from continuing strike


The employees have been on strike since October 14

In a setback to employees of the public sector defence establishment Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday restrained the Hindustan Aeronautics Employees’ Association, its office-bearers and members/workmen from continuing their strike.

The order also restrained the workmen “from indulging in other forms of strikes, including go-slow, work-to-rule, or any other form of agitation, or disrupting day-to-day activities of HAL and its operating locations and at offices spread across different divisions/complex in Bengaluru.” The employees have been on strike since October 14 on the issue of wage revision.

Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar passed the interim order while observing that Section 22(1)(d) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1974, prohibits strikes and lockouts during the pendency of any conciliation proceedings before a conciliation officer and seven days after the conclusion of such proceedings.

The court noted that conciliation process was under way when the association resorted to a strike.

The court also directed the Conciliation Officer to continue the conciliation proceedings while directing the HAL management and the association to actively participate in the proceedings and endeavour to settle the issues at the earliest.

The court passed the interim order on the petition filed by the HAL questioning legality of strike, after hearing of preliminary arguments on behalf of the HAL and the association, which had already filed a caveat petition anticipating petition could file a petition against the strike. While admitting the petition, the court ordered issuance of notices to the Conciliation Officer and others and adjourned further hearing.

The court also observed that “HAL being a Public Sector Undertaking catering to the needs of the defence services in the country cannot be shut down by means of an illegal strike”.

It was argued on behalf of the management that conciliation process had commenced in August 2018 after the association, as settlement could not be reached on wage revision despite several rounds of talks, gave a notice to go on a one-day strike on August 24, 2018. Even though several rounds of bilateral talks were held with the association and holding of conciliation meetings by the Conciliation Officer, the association “illegally” issued notice of going on indefinite strike against the advice of the Conciliation Officer, it was contended by the HAL.

However, it was contended on behalf of the association that the management’s petition was not maintainable before the High Court as a settlement can be reached only through the Industrial Disputes Act, and “right to strike’ is recognised as a legitimate and important weapon for workmen.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 8:19:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-restrains-hal-staff-from-continuing-strike/article29771656.ece

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