Labour Law Cases - Review of Recent Courts' Judgments

 
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1. Payment of Wages Act (IV of 1936)---

Ss. 15 and 17---Failure of employer to pay legal dues to workers and their appeal

S.48(5)--Sindh Industrial Relations Act (XXIX of 2013)

Labour Court rightly dismissed six-month delayed appeal against the order of Payment of Wages Authority concerning payment of workers' legal dues.

Employer company did not pay legal dues to its workers, who opted for separation under the Golden Handshake Scheme. Workers, filed applications under S. 15 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, which were allowed, directing the employer to deposit legal dues of the workers within 30 days. Employer filed appeal before Labour Court after 147 days, instead of 30 days as prescribed under S. 17(1) of Payment of Wages Act, 1936. Said appeal was dismissed by the Labour Court being time barred--Validity. Labour Court refused to condone delay. Plea of the employer was that appeal was not filed within prescribed period of 30 days as the court was lying vacant. Plea was misconceived as the Presiding Officer was available in certain periods and the office accepted/received applications/appeals regularly during absence of the Presiding Officer.

Employer after receiving certified copy of the order of Authority, could have filed appeal and could have obtained stay order during the period the court was available. Even grant of stay, was not a condition or requirement for filing appeal. No justification or explanation existed for filing appeal after 88 days or obtaining the stay. Payment of Wages Act, 1936, while authorizing the original Authority to condone delay in filing application under S. 15, had not authorized the Appellate Authority to condone delay in filing appeal under S.17 of said Act. Neither the employer had shown sufficient cause for not filing appeal within time, nor appellate authority had power to condone the delay. Labour Court, had rightly dismissed the appeal as time barred.

On merits also, the employer company had no case, as it did not dispute quantum of the legal dues, claimed by the workers, nor claimed to have paid them any amount in that regard. Workers produced sufficient documentary proof that they were employees of the employer company. Administrative Officer of the employer, had admitted that workers were the employees of the employer. Employees in their applications had claimed only legal dues, which even according to the agreement, was responsibility of the employer. In the matters of pay and pension bar of limitation, was not applied as their non-payment was a continuing breach/wrong giving rise to fresh cause of action on every refusal from day to day. No case having been made out for exercise of suo motu revisional jurisdiction, revision was dismissed, in circumstances. [LAT(Sindh): Thatta Cement Company Ltd. through Authorized Officer vs. Ghulam Muhammad and 33 others; 2016 PLC 103].

2(a) Employees' Old Age Benefits Act (XIV of 1976)---

Ss. 2(bb)(c) (d) and 9-- Person employed through contractor

Preamble--Punjab Employees' Special Allowance (Payment) Act,1988

Employer is responsible to make EOBI contribution on behalf of contract workers working on its premise hired through third party agents or contractor.

The employer-petitioner contended it is not responsible for the payment of EOBI contribution with respect to the employees engaged through independent Contractors and wages as well as other dues paid to them by the said Contractors. Denial of employer to pay contribution qua such person on the ground that contractor by whom such person was recruited was liable to pay the same--Validity. Contribution of workers performing duties through a contractor or all agent or employees whose services had been provided by a contractor should be paid by the employer. Employer was bound to pay the contribution of the workers performing their functions under a contractor or agent. Contribution for certain period had not been fixed by the official of the Institution after examining the record.

Appellate Authority had also added the amount of contribution with regard to the period for which relevant record was not checked by the concerned officials. Judgment of Appellate Authority was set aside, however, Authority would be at liberty to check record of employer firm in accordance with law and fix responsibility. Constitutional petition was accepted in circumstances. [HC(Lhr): Koh-e-Noor Industries (Pvt.) Ltd. vs. Employees' Old-age Benefits Institution through Regional Head and others ; 2016 PLC 107].

2(b) Employees' Old-Age Benefits Act (XIV of 1976)--- Preamble--

Preamble--Punjab Employees' Special Allowance (Payment) Act,1988

In case of conflict between Federal and Provincial Statutes, Federal Statute would prevail.

Employer contended that special allowance payable under Punjab Employees Special Allowance (Payment) Act, 1988 is not covered under the EOB Act. Petitioner submits that Section 8 of the Punjab Employees Special Allowance (Payment) Act, 1988 clearly speaks that special allowance shall not form part of wages of the workers for the purpose of any other law including the purpose of provident fund, gratuity and bonus and calculating wages for over-time work and it is special law which shall' prevail over the general law.

Special pay allowance...

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