1. The petitioner in this petition, which is filed under Article 227 of the Constitution, are the Western India Paper & Board Mills Private Ltd., and they challenge the award made by the Industrial Tribunal in an industrial adjudication on a reference under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Unfortunately respondent No. 1, viz., the Mumbai Mazdoor Sabha, which represents the workmen of the petitioner company, is not represented before us, and the petition has to be decided ex parte.
2. The workers raised demands which, amongst others, were in respect of a claim for additional compensatory payment for work done on Sundays and holidays in the form of double the daily wages for working on those days and a lunch allowance. As there was no conciliation between the parties, the parties made a joint application to the State Government for making a reference for adjudication of the dispute to the proper authorities. Reference was accordingly made by an order dated 7th May, 1964 to the Industrial Tribunal. A statement of claim was filed by the Union which contained, among other demands, demand No. 2 in respect of additional compensatory payment for work on Sundays and holidays. The petitioner filed a written statement in reply. In so far as this demand is concerned, the petitioner's defence was as follows :
'12. With reference to para 7 of the statement of claims, it is submitted that the Union has demanded additional compensatory payment for working on Sundays and bank holidays. The company perforce is compelled to work for all the days of the month and this practice is prevalent in this company since a very long time. It is submitted that the provisions of the Factories Act, 1948, do permit the company to take the work on Sundays from the workers and grant them compensatory holidays. It is submitted that there is nothing illegal or unjustified about taking work from the workers on Sundays and holidays. It is submitted that there is no inconvenience or hardship either caused or entailed on the workmen as the workmen are supposed to work six days or 48 hours in a week for which they are fully paid and there is no obligation on either side. It is submitted that element of compensation as alleged is absent as the workers are not made to work for all the 7 days in a week and not denied their weekly off. The only thing looking to the nature of the company done is that the workers are granted weekly offs by rotation instead of one fixed day. It is submitted that there is no justification for this demand and, therefore, this demand should be rejected.'
3. We are concerned in this petition only with respect to the award concerned in respect of this demand. The learned Member of the Industrial Tribunal deals with it in para 4 of the award. The Tribunal observes that it could not be disputed that the workmen, who are called for work on Sundays and holidays when other factories, companies and workshops are closed are put to a little inconvenience and hardship and they cannot get their lunch or food from their homes and their other arrangements are also disturbed. The workmen, in the opinion of the Tribunal, could not however make a grievance of working on these days as they get a compensatory holiday. The Tribunal, however, thought that they were entitled to additional wages for the work done on Sundays and holidays. Then a reference is made to certain decision of the Tribunal in which awards were passed granting such compensatory payments or additional payment for work on Sundays and holidays.
4. The contention of the petitioner is that the Tribunal has failed to appreciate the method of work in their concern. This concern has no common holiday in the week for all workers and it has to work on all the days of the mouth. As pointed out in their written statement, the company is compelled to work for all the days of the month and that this practice is prevalent in the company for a very long time. What this means in practice is that only some of the workmen by their turn are required to work on Sundays and for which they get a compensatory holiday in the week, which is not a Sunday. But it does not mean, as far as we can see, that on a common holiday, i.e., a particular day which is a holiday for all the workers, any of the workers are called for extra work. Where there is a common holiday and some workers are called for work on that common holiday, the Tribunals have taken the view that in such a case the worker so called on duty is entitled to some compensation; it may be by way of additional full wage for that day or some other benefit.
5. A perusal of the decisions of the Tribunal, to which reference is made in the order, will show that in all those cases there was a common holiday declared for all the workers, and the claim was restricted to those workmen who were called on work on common holidays or Sundays which were common weekly offs for all the workmen. This not being the case in the instant case, we fail to see why the workers because the working day happens be Sunday or, in other words, their weekly holiday does not happen to be a Sunday, should claim a special allowance or compensation for working on a Sunday or a bank holiday. In view of the system of work which is prevalent in this concern, it is obvious that every worker gets, by turn, a weekly holiday; sometimes it may fall on Sunday, and sometimes it may be some other day of the week. To entertain the claim of the workers for an extra payment for working on Sundays or bank holidays would introduce an unhealthy principle, because there is no good reason why other workers who do not work on that particular Sunday as they do not work on other holidays are to be deprived of that benefit. We do not find any principle even of social justice in granting such allowance for the workers only because they called to work on Sundays when a Sunday is their normal working day according to the arrangement under S. 52 of the Factories Act.
6. The result is that the petition is allowed. There will be no order as to costs. The award, so far as para 4 is concerned, is set aside.