SC allows employers to negotiate with their workers on lockdown wages

On 29th March, the Indian Central government issued a notice stating that all factories and industries will have to pay full wages to their employees for the entire duration of the lockdown. Payment of salaries was supposed to be done whether the factory was closed or partially operating during the lockdown caused by the novel coronavirus. The petition was filed by the owners of small commercial industry and factory owners who said that they couldn’t afford to pay the full salaries of their employees, as it will drive them out of business.

A Bench, led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, has respected the wishes of these industrialists and has asked them to reach a mutual agreement with their workers and settle the dispute. They urged the employees to understand that both they and their employers had to suffer because of the lockdown. Last Friday, the court issued an order allowing workers to resume their work in the factories. Many workers demanded to be paid for the 54 days of lockdown. This shed light on the decision taken by the court. The Bench has also asked the industries which were partially working to enter into a settlement with their employees. Court also asked the labor department and trade unions to come and help with regulating this decision and helping workers and their employers to agree on a settlement.

The court has also asked the government to provide a detailed counter affidavit stating their reasons to issue such a notification. They said that the government could not ask the private industries to pay full wages as it is an ill-devised plan. They told the lockdown has harmed both the parties involved and not every sector is strong enough to pay the salaries of the employees. For them to pay the wages on top of the current crisis has brought factories on the edge of bankruptcy. 

This crisis will cripple the economy. Hence the court has issued that no action will be taken for the non-payment of wages on employers during the lockdown period.   

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