Right to Strike – A Legitimate Illegality

Constitutional Realm: The Right to Strike

When One Lakh recruits are fired in masses, the executive Tribunals may serve as a rapid method for settling employee claims in the matter regarding service.

T.K Rangarajan v. State of Tamil Nadu

This was a matter concerning the right to life, which is mentioned under Article 21 of the Indian constitution. It becomes necessary for constitutional courts exercising writ authority to become embroiled in the terrible situation. Furthermore, executive tribunals are quasi-judicial organizations that occasionally operate on executive fancies rather than judicial norms. The freedom to form groups and unions is assured in Article 19 (c) of the Constitution.[1] The president’s rules, which are promulgated under Article 309 govern the terms of service of central administration. As stated in Union of India v. Tulsi Ram Patel, article 309 stated that is “subject to the requirements of the constitution,” which makes it obvious that the terms of service, imposed by legislation or governed by a set of laws, must conform to the constitution’s mandatory provisions.[2] In Article 43-A of the constitution, the participation of workers in the management of industries is addressed. It says that the state must take steps to guarantee worker participation in the management of undertakings. If workers need to back up their claims against management, they must have access to effective actions such as the right to strike.

Radhe Shyam Sharma v. PostMaster General

In the case, it was stated under Article 43-A that the State shall take appropriate legislative or other measures to ensure worker participation in the management of undertakings. The MRTP Acts, chaired by Rajinder Sachar J. of the Delhi High Court, has also given recommendations about worker engagement in company management.[3] Section 8 of the Trade Unions Act allows a trade union to be registered if all of the enactment’s requirements are met. The freedom to join groups and unions and allow for their registration was accepted to grant trade unions particular powers. The necessity of forming labour unions is evident for articulating labour demands and frustrations. Trade unionists serve as labour spokespeople. A labour union’s strength is determined by its membership. As a result, trade unions can bargain more successfully; yet, if demonstrations are prohibited, their bargaining power is decreased.[4] A strike is just a form of protest in a certain situation. There are many other sorts of demonstrations, including go-slows, sit-ins, and strikes, to name a few. In the hands of workers, the freedom to express, and thus the right to strike, is a powerful weapon. Almost every democratic government has recognized this right. It is widely recognized as a means of addressing workplace concerns, although it has not been elevated to the status of a basic right.

Judiciary on Right to Strike

A succession of judicial decisions focused on the legitimacy or indiscretion of strikes but did not prohibit strikers from exercising their right to strike.

Kotagiri v. Rajamanickan

In this case, the bench observed that, just as a strike is a weapon that employees can use to enforce their particular demands, a lockout is a tool that an employer can use to persuade employees to see his point of view and accept his requests. In the confrontation between capital and labor, the weapon of the strike is available to the workers. It was also found that using a strike as a weapon to force an employer to submit to an employee’s demand and pay them their dues is a strike under the Industrial Disputes Act’s Sec 2 (q) definition.[5]

Crompton Greaves Ltd v. Workmen

A strike is allowed if it does not infringe any statute, according to the division bench in this case. Again, a strike cannot be considered baseless unless the grounds for it are completely unreasonable. Whether a strike was reasonable or not is a factual question that must be answered based on the facts and circumstances of each instance.[6]

International Perspectives on Collective Bargaining: Right to Strike

Workers’ rights to negotiate and bargain collectively were achieved following a struggle that began with the industrial revolution in 1765. With the support of international conventions, the ILO ensures many other labor rights. Convention No. 87 and 98 are the two most essential conventions in connection to the right to strike. Although the convention does not mention the right to strike, the ILO committee considers it to be a very crucial aspect of the fundamental right to organize. According to the ILO expert committee, there would be no objection to curtailing the right to strike as long as an appropriate alternative remedy for dealing with employee concerns is made available. The departmental councils established under the program address all complaints related to service and working conditions, as well as employee and welfare enhancement. Government employees are guaranteed job and social security, and also for fair working conditions. Alternative grievance settlement systems, such as the Joint Consultative Machinery and the Central Administrative Tribunal, have also been provided. Although these conventions were not ratified, the need for them was not felt until the Supreme Court decision prohibiting the right to strike.

Opinion

In a big democratic society like India, with a wide range of economic dealings and a developed industrial sector, policies for the welfare of individuals engaged, as outlined in Article 38 of the Constitution, are very much needed. Article 19(1) (c) also provides them with the right to form associations and trade unions; nevertheless, this is insufficient. When circumstances need it, the staff must take a step to the side and commence a strike by suspending work to pressure the leader to end the tension. In India, the right to strike could be a statutory right protected by Section 22 of the Economic Disputes Act, 1947.[7] A right is a powerful tool in the hands of employees for protecting their liberties.

Conclusion

The right to strike was assumed to be a legally justified right by the courts, according to this statute. The legality of the ‘strike,’ was typically the point at which the courts intervened. The right to strike is crucial for a worker because it is linked to the source of their income.

Author(s) Name: Anjali Tiwari (Chandigarh University)

References:

[1] T.K. Rangarajan vs Govt. Of Tamil Nadu And Ors, 2003 (5) SCALE 537

[2] Union of India v. Tulsi Ram Patel, 1985 AIR 1416, 1985 SCR Supl. (2) 131

[3] Radhe Shyam Sharma v. Post Master General, 1965 AIR 311, 1964 SCR (7) 403

[4] Trade Union Act, 1926, No. 16 OF 1926

[5] Kotagiri v. Rajamanickan, 1960 AIR 893, 1960 SCR (3) 371

[6] Crompton Greaves Ltd v. Workmen, AIR 1978 SC 1489, 1978 (36) FLR 329

[7] Economic Disputes Act, 1947, No. 14 of 1947