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Employers should go beyond minimum wages : HC Judge

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 09:39

Mumbai: Justice J H Bhatia of the Bombay
High Court has opined that besides providing suitable work
environment to workers, the employers must give them more than
the minimum wages by adopting the principle of "equal pay for
equal work."

"Industry, which runs on capital, expects more returns
whereas labour wants survival and satisfaction...unless the
workers are paid well they cannot be satisfied and expected to
perform. Hence employers must go beyond minimum wages and pay
more," the judge told a seminar on March 27.

The main cause for violence in industry appeared to be
the exploitation of contract labour. However, engagement of
contract labour in the industry cannot be eliminated. "It is a
necessary evil and has become an economic necessity," he said.

The judge cautioned the employers to ensure that
workmen were not frustrated and were fully satisfied. While
regular workers were getting higher wages, contract labourers
were not compensated properly which leads to dissatisfaction
and frustration, Justice Bhatia observed.

Hence, disparity in the matter of payment to regular
workmen and contract employees required to be minimized, the
judge told the seminar on "Violence and Militant Trade
Unionism in Industry" organized by Twin City Industrial
Employers Association.

Furthermore, Justice Bhatia observed, delay in
adjudication also caused frustration among workers.

"Sometimes, management is responsible for delay in
adjudication process. They take drastic action without
following proper procedure and employers in many cases do not
take a rational view," he said.

The judge suggested that proper steps should be taken
by all the concerned parties, including management, government
and labour, to minimize industrial conflicts.

"Instead of having expert lawyers, management experts
may also help in disposal of industrial conflicts at a fairly
rapid rate. The industry cannot function and survive in the
absence of peaceful atmosphere," Justice Bhatia remarked.

Retired Supreme Court Judge M B Shah said industrial
production between 1993 and 2005 rose by 40 percent but
industries grew only by two per cent. This showed that there
is more production with less manpower which includes contract
labour, trainees and students.

He said majority of issues start with contract labour.

Invariably, the gap in wages of regular employees and contract
workers is huge and the policy of the management has been to
employ contract labour and then forget about their wellbeing.

In today`s environment, employer is expected to
provide safety net, irrespective of the situation whether the
company makes profit or incurs losses. Variability of pay is
not acceptable to organized trade unions and they expect fixed
pay for their members irrespective of their performance or
whether the company incurs losses, Justice (retd) Shah said.


First Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 09:39

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