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Hooghly Mills Company Ltd. Vs. Fifth Industrial Tribunal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1963)IILLJ172Cal
AppellantHooghly Mills Company Ltd.
RespondentFifth Industrial Tribunal and ors.
Excerpt:
- .....award as bad on the ground that the award proceeded on a wholesale misreading of the third major jute textile industry award made in the year 1955.3. the circumstances under which the dispute arose are hereinafter stated in brief:4. for some time in the past, the weavers of the petitioner-company used to enjoy compensation at the rate of 4 annas per loom, per hour of stoppage of looms during normal working hours. payment of this compensation was stopped in the year 1958, possibly because the petitioner-company got wiser by certain observations contained in the third major jute textile industry award of 1955. the workmen of the petitioner-company raised an industrial dispute over the stoppage of payment of compensation and ultimately the state government referred the following issue for.....
Judgment:

B.N. Banerjee, J.

1. The petitioner-company, known as Hoogly Mills Company, Ltd., moves against an award by the fifth industrial tribunal, holding that the action of the petitioner-company in stopping compensation for idle loom hours was unjustified and directing the petitioner-company to pay snob unpaid compensation to its weaver-workmen, duo after the period 28 March 1958.

2. Mr. Phanindra Kumar Sanyal, learned advocate for the petitioner-company, characterized the award as bad on the ground that the award proceeded on a wholesale misreading of the Third Major Jute Textile Industry award made in the year 1955.

3. The circumstances under which the dispute arose are hereinafter stated in brief:

4. For some time in the past, the weavers of the petitioner-company used to enjoy compensation at the rate of 4 annas per loom, per hour of stoppage of looms during normal working hours. Payment of this compensation was stopped in the year 1958, possibly because the petitioner-company got wiser by certain observations contained in the Third Major Jute Textile Industry award of 1955. The workmen of the petitioner-company raised an industrial dispute over the stoppage of payment of compensation and ultimately the State Government referred the following issue for adjudication before the tribunal:

Whether the action of the management in stopping the compensation for idle loom hours is justified.

To what relief, if any, are they entitled

5. The tribunal took into consideration the Third Major Jute Textile Industry award but refused to be guided thereby on the following line of reasoning:

The company's contention is that this particular mill also was a party to the award, dated 28 September 1955. In respect of 101 specified jute mills and their workmen, and the learned tribunal did not mention this payment of compensation to be a condition of weavers' service, even though the tribunal fixed rates and scales of wages for different classes of workers. But I may simply point out that, this aspect of the matter was neither specifically raised nor decided by the tribunal in the said award. If simple place-rate of wages was fixed for such workers, that does not mean that the tribunal wanted to do away with the existing system of payment of compensation prevalent from before to meet some special circumstances. Amenities and advantages already existing besides piece-rates of wages were never intended to be curtailed by the tribunal, and this is indirectly tacitly supported by the management also by its subsequent conduct.

6. Mr. Sanyal contended that the Third Major Jute Textile Industry award of 1955 contained a provision for payment of compensation in case of involuntary unemployment. He drew my attention to p. 65 of the Government publication containing the award, in which the following observation appears:

Involuntary unemployment relief according to the first award and as revised by the second award is available for short-term involuntary unemployment due to stoppage of work owing to 8re, catastrophe, breakdown of machinery, stoppage of power supply, epidemic, civil commotion, shortage of coal or of materials or of essential stores, changes in lines of production and other causes beyond the control of the employers. The principles enunciated in the first and the second awards regarding the payment for involuntaryunemployment, do not contemplate delay in receipt of processed materials.

7. Relying on the aforesaid observation, Mr. Sanyal contended that in cases not covered by the aforesaid circumstances no compensation was payable for enforced idleness of looms. There is much substance in this contention. In ray opinion, workmen do not become entitled to compensation in all cases of involuntary idleness of looms but only in those cases which are covered by the aforesaid passage. in go far as the award did not take into consideration the aforesaid observation, it went a little wide of the mark. I, therefore, correct the apparent lacuna in the award and hold that compensation for idle loom hours payable to the weaver-workmen of the petitioner-company, after the period of 28 March 1958, must be limited to such hours, which are governed by the passage from the Third Major Jute Textile Industry award herinbefore quoted. This will certainly require a computation of the benefits available to the workers under the award, but in making the computation the appropriate labour court shall bear in mind the observation contained in the award hereinbefore quoted.

8. In the result, the award made by the fifth industrial tribunal is sustained subject to the clarification herein contained, and subject to the modification and clarification in the award, this rule is discharged.

9. There will be no order as to costs.


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