Trade Unions intervene in plea opposing MHA order directing payment of full wages to workers

Intervention application has been filed in this petition, in support of the government’s decision

PleaImage Courtesy:mumbaimirror

A joint intervention application has been filed by three trade unions in Supreme Court in connection with a petition that seeks that the court should set aside the government’s order directing private establishments to pay full wages to workers during this lockdown. The applicants, Trade Union Joint Action Committee of Maharashtra, Trade Union Centre of India and the Hind Madoor Sabha, have sought permission, through the application, to respond to the petition as they have fundamental interest in the issues raised therein.

The application, is a response to the Mumbai based textile firm’s plea challenging the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order dated March 29. The order stated that all employers, be it in industry or in shops and commercial establishments, should pay wages to their workers without deduction during the closure. The intention of this order was to prevent the migrant workers to back to their native states during the lockdown.

The petition, which was filed by Nagreeka Exports Limited, challenged the constitutional validity of the MHA order and questioned the reasonability of the order. The petition highlighted that factory owners were going through hardships too and without production taking place, it was virtually impossible for them to continue paying wages to their workers. Hence, it prayed that the order be modified and employers be allowed to pay 50% wages plus Dearness Allowance to the workers.

The application, filed through Advocate Aparna Bhat, states that the MHA order is an effective measure to reduce the burdens of the workers during this lockdown. The trade unions collectively submitted that the contracts of workers clarify that they are entitled to wages for as long as they are employed but it cannot imply that the same will not be adhered to if the employer is unable to provide them with work, and the workers cannot be punished for not being allowed to work.

The application further supports the government’s decision and states that the order only recognizes the rights of the workers to get paid. Contending against the plea of the petitioner, that they be allowed to pay 50% wages with DA, the applicant states that expenses of the workers are constant and in fact tend to increase during lockdown and hence rejected the entertaining scheme and formulae suggested by the petitioner.


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