Labour Law Cases - Review of Recent Courts' Judgments


1. Industrial Relations Act (X of 2012)---

S.19(2) and (13)--Application for holding referendum for determination of Collective Bargaining Agent--

Embargo to transfer or dismissal of employee during referendum-Effect

Starting from application to NIRC till a referendum for trans-provincial CBA -- a period of 15 days -- no employer shall transfer, remove, retrench or terminate any worker who is officer of any contestant trade union save with the permission of the Registrar under S. 19(13).

Petitioner/employee contended that since application under S.19(2) of Industrial Relations Act, 2012 was pending before the Registrar of Trade Unions; the petitioner could not be dismissed from service. Employer/Bank and the Registrar of Trade Unions contended that the petitioner was actually challenging his dismissal under the garb of law as the referendum had been suspended by National Industrial Relations Commission--Validity. Record revealed that the disciplinary/departmental proceedings had commenced against the petitioner in the year 2010 and in due course petitioner's grievance petition before the National Industrial Relations Commission was dismissed in the year 2016 by which order it was observed that the Management of the employer Bank could proceed against the petitioner in accordance with the law. Later, Management of the Bank dismissed the petitioner from service.

On the date of dismissal of the petitioner from service, the referendum proceedings could not be said to be pending because referendum was ordered to be suspended by the National Industrial Relations Commission. For holding referendum on application under S.19(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 2012 the Registrar of the Trade Unions was supposed to hold a secret ballot to determine as to which of the trade union was to be the Collective Bargaining Agent for an establishment within a period of 15 days. Embargo on transfer, removals, retrenchment, or termination of workers in the said 15 days period was mandate of S.19(13) of the Industrial Relations Act, 2012 but if the referendum proceedings were suspended, it could not be said that any employee could not be dismissed.

No illegality or infirmity having been noticed in the impugned orders passed by the Registrar of Trade Unions and National Industrial Relations Commission, constitutional petition was dismissed accordingly. [HC(Isl): Zafar Iqbal vs. The President, United Bank Limited and 4 others; 2018 PLC 176].

Editor's Note: During the 15 day period, even the disciplinary proceedings has to be postponed till referendum is over otherwise it could be construed as unjustified pressure on trade union's or on its officers' conduct or employer's indirect support to opposing trade union.

  1. Civil Bank employee--Promotion--principle of Estoppel

    Once employee has accepted the Court's order of full and final settlement about his promotion and payment, he cannot then turn around and challenged the basis of that judgment to gain more benefits.

    Authorities in pursuance of order passed in an earlier constitutional petition afforded opportunity of hearing to the petitioner employee and promoted him as Senior Vice President with effect from 01-05-2006. Employee received arrears of pay accrued to him in pursuance of his promotion without any protest and objection. Petitioner had accepted his promotion with his free will and consent from 01-05-2006. Nothing was left to be claimed by the employee qua his promotion. Petitioner's contention that he was to be promoted with effect from 01-12-2002 and not from 01-05-2006 had no weight as same was hit by principle of estoppel. Employee had not disclosed that he had sought promotion through constitutional petition which was dismissed and civil...

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