(I) Strike Sec 2(q)
Strike means a cessation of work by a body of persons employed in any industry acting in combination, or a concerted refusal, or a refusal under a common understanding, of any number of persons who are or have been so employed to continue to work or to accept employment;
(ii)Types of Strike:
There are mainly three kinds of strike, namely
1- General Strike – A general strike is one , where the workmen join together for common cause and stay away from work.
2- Stay in Strike – It is also known as tools down strike or pens down strike . In that form of strike where the workmen report to their duties , occupy the premises but do not work.
3- Go Slow Strike- In this strike , the workmen do not stay away from work place but they do their work slowly.
Other forms of Strike – These are the other forms of strike
1- Sympathetic Strike – It is resorted to in sympathy of other striking workmen .
2- Hunger Strike – In a hunger strike a group of workmen resort to fasting on or near the place of work or the residence of the employer with a view to coerce the employer to accepts their demands.
3- Work to Rule – The employees in case of work to rule, strictly adhere to the rules while performing their duties which ordinarily they do not observe.
(iii) Prohibition of strikes– sec 22 (1)
(1) No person employed in a public utility service shall go on strike, in breach of contract :
(a) without giving to the employer notice of strike, as hereinafter provided, within six weeks before striking; or
(b) within fourteen days of giving such notice ;
(c) before the expiry of the date of strike specified in any such notice as aforesaid;
(d) during the pendency of any conciliation proceedings before a conciliation officer and seven days after the conclusion of such proceedings.
It is to be noted that these provisions do not prohibit the workman from going on strike but require them to fulfill the conditions before going on strike. Notice of strike within six weeks before striking is not necessary where there is already a lock out in existence.
Term Public Utility Service: sec 2 (n)
Public utility service” means-
(i) any railway service or any transport service for the carriage of passengers or goods by air;
(ii) any service in, or in connection with the working of, any major port or dock;
(iii) any section of an industrial establishment, on the working of which the safety of the establishment or the workmen employed therein depends;
(iv) any postal, telegraph or telephone service;
(v) any industry which supplies power, light or water to the public;
(vi) any system of public conservancy or sanitation;
(vii) any industry specified in the First Schedule] which the appropriate Government may, if satisfied that public
Notice of Strike:
In Mineral Minors Union v Kudremukh Iron Ore CO. Ltd (1989) ILLJ Karnatak
It was held that the provisions of section 22 are mandatory and the date on which the workmen proposed to go on strike should be specified in the notice.
In Madura Coast Ltd V Inspector of Factories (1981)ILLJ SC 255
The workmen went on strike without serving a notice u/s 22. They claimed wages for national holiday which fell in the strike period. The SC held that they were not entitled to wages because they have themselves brought about a situation by going on strike without giving a notice where by the management was deprived of their right to take work from them.
In L.I.C. OF India and others V Amlendu Gupta and Others (1988)ILLJ Calcutta 495
The permanent class III and IV employees of corporation went on strike after serving notice in accordance with the provisions of industrial dispute Act, when the corporation did not pay bonus in spite of various orders of the supreme court. The corporation issued a circular for proportionate deduction of wages and allowance for strike period. In this appeal the circular has been challenged . It was held that under the I.D. Act , the employees are entitled to go on strike in case of refusal or denial by the employer to give its workmen benefits to which they are entitled under the law or contract of service . But before going on strike certain formalities have to be observed as per section 22.
Meaning of the Terms “ Within Six Weeks before striking and within fourteen days of giving such Notice”
Taking the two provisions together it means that a person employed in public utility service may go on strike on giving to the employer a notice of strike provided ;
(i) the strike takes place within six weeks giving of the notice and
(ii)14 days have expired after such notice .
Thus strike can take place only when 14 days have passed but before six weeks have expired after giving such notice .
During the pendency of Conciliation proceeding :
The expression is used in section 22 (1) (d). A conciliation proceeding means a conciliation proceeding before conciliation officer .
State of Bihar V Deodhar Jha AIR 1958 Pat 51
In this case the court held that neither the employees is restrained from going on strike nor the employer is restrained from locking out the industry but some minimum conditions before striking or locking out are required to fulfilled.
III– General prohibition of strikes – Sec 23
No workman who is employed in any industrial establishment shall go on strike in breach of contract and no employer of any such workman shall declare a lock-out (a) during the pendency of conciliation proceedings before a Board and seven days after the conclusion of such proceedings;
(b) during the pendency of proceedings before a Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal and two months, after the conclusion of such proceedings;
(bb) during the pendency of arbitration proceedings before an arbitrator and two months after the conclusion of such proceedings,
(c) during any period in which a settlement or award is in operation, in respect of any of the matters covered by the settlement or award.
(iv)Illegal strikes – Sec 24
(1) A strike shall be illegal if
(i) it is commenced or declared in contravention of section 22 or section 23; or
(ii) it is continued in contravention of an order made under sub-section (3) of section 10 or sub-section (4A) of section 10A.
(2) Where a strike in pursuance of an industrial dispute has already commenced and is in existence at the time of the reference of the dispute to a Board, an arbitrator, a Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal, the continuance of such strike shall not be deemed to be illegal,
provided that such strike was not at its commencement in contravention of the provisions of this Act or the continuance thereof was not prohibited under sub-section (3) of section 10 or sub-section (4A) of section 10A
(3) A lock-out declared in consequence of an illegal strike or a strike declared in consequence of an illegal lock-out shall not be deemed to be illegal.
(v) Punishment for Illegal Strike
The workers have a right to go on strike even it not a fundamental right. If a strike is illegal the party guilty of illegality is liable to punishment under section 26 of Act.
In Ram Krishna Iron Foundry Howrah V Their Employees (1954)ILLJ (LAT)
The effect of an illegal strike on the demand of the workmen to wages or compensation and their liability to punishment, there are two view . According to one view is based on the strike being justified. Mere illegality of the strike does not end the matter and other view if the strike is illegal and at the same time unjustified , the workmen have no claim to wages and must also be punished, if it is justified they have right to claim wages.
The Supreme Court in the case of Indian General Navigation and Railway Company Ltd and another V Their Workmen AIR 1960 held that , if the strike was illegal , workmen are not entitled to wages or compensation and they are also liable to punishment by way of discharge or dismissal.
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