No Union Has A Right To Hoist Flag At The Premiss Of Employer - CiteHR
Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Malikjs
Gm (hr)
R P Srivastava
Can Handle Any Pressure, Emotion
+2 Others

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The Kerala High Court, in a writ petition as filed by kerafibertex International (p) Ltd., has held that a trade union has no right to hoist flags in the property of the Management.

The business premise is situated at KINFRA Park and land has been leased to it by KINFRA. The kerafibertex Employees Association put up flag masts and hoisted flags in front of the establishment. A writ petition has been filed against Association (hereinafter, called as Association for short).

The High Court accepted the petition by holding that trade union has no right to hoist flags in the property belonging to the Management and it wants to remove the same. It was further observed that it is true that there should be industrial peace in every industry, but that cannot be at the expense of the rights of the Management. It has further been held that the unions cannot unilaterally dictate terms in the name of industrial peace. Admittedly, this is a hundred percent export-oriented unit. Naturally the customers of the petitioner-company would be foreigners. When they come to the business premises of the petitioner and see such flags, naturally they would be afraid to have business with the petitioner getting suspicious about the capability of the petitioner to fulfill their export commitment in time, knowing about the industrial climate in the State on account of an overdose of trade union activities. In any event, no union has any right to hoist flags in the property belonging to the management, when the management objects to the same. The 1st respondent has categorically submitted before me that they want to remove the flag masts and flags, and they would certainly do so, if appropriate help is given in this regard from the authorities, concerned. In the above circumstances. I direct the 1st respondent to take appropriate steps to remove all flag masts and flags of all unions from the properties belonging to the 1st respondent. If any union objects to the same, the 1st respondent shall approach the concerned Circle Inspector of Police, who shall, on production of a certified copy of this judgment, give all necessary assistance to the respondent for removal of the flag masts and flags. The unions shall not, in future also, erect any flag mast or hoist any flags in the property of the 1st respondent. If done, the above direction would be applicable to such acts also.

Dear Mukesh ji, A good judgement. Kindly provide us the case number and citation for our reference and records. Regards, R P Srivastava, Chhindwara
Dear Mukesh,

Thanks for sharing the important information. Now let me share my personal views.

Not allowing the approved union to hoist their flag tantamount to violation of the fundamental rights. The verdict says that "Admittedly, this is a hundred percent export-oriented unit. Naturally the customers of the petitioner-company would be foreigners. When they come to the business premises of the petitioner and see such flags, naturally they would be afraid to have business with the petitioner getting suspicious about the capability of the petitioner to fulfill their export commitment in time, knowing about the industrial climate in the State on account of an overdose of trade union activities."

This is ridiculous. If trade union flag is eyesore, then these foreigners be told that the very concept of trade unions was born in the western countries and not in India. Every single western country is unionised. Then why this objection in India?

Today by hoisting the flag the industrial atmosphere gets vitiated. Tomorrow the management will say by joining trade union itself their atmosphere will get vitiated. If the management-union relations are so feeble, then possibly these be allowed to collapse rather than propping them through court verdicts.

Trade union movement is part of democracy. If we ban trade union movement activities then how are we different from China? Trade union movement is important because individual worker does not have voice. Trade union is collective voice. Trade unions have many times expressed diametrically opposite views. But then democracy demands acceptance of the opposing views as well. By giving such verdicts, are the courts becoming conduits of autocracy?

Since the verdict in its favour, management of the company may think that what they have done is proper but then let me remind them what's happening in Maruti's Manesar plant. The accumulated anger one day blows the lid off.

I feel that if the union approaches supreme court, the judgement could be reversed. Verdicts of lower court are not gospels. They can be challenged and this one is no exception.

While writing above views, let me clarify that I am not proponent of trade unionism. Nevertheless, in democracy no one's rights should be subjugated. That is far more important.

Dinesh V Divekar

Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.

Dear Mukesh jee and Dinesh
Thanks for sharing kerala high court judgement as well as views by mr dinesh.
In my view Union does not have any authority to hoist flag on company property.yes,definitely they have right to unionise
but as per the trade union act only they can unionise.hoisiting of flag oncompany premisis is not their right.

Dear Malik Sir,

Does the TU Act explicitly mention that TU does not have authority to hoist flag? Or is it that nothing is mentioned in the Act and this is the interpretation of the court?

Flag is only the symbol of the activities. How come the activities that are legally tenable are allowed but not their symbol? Is it not contradictory?

Theoretically the land where the company is located could belong to the management. It could be owned or on lease. But then this very land they use is for promoting their business with and through the workers. Therefore, ownership apart, this very land belongs to workers as well.

In fact from the theory of management standpoint, the whole incident hardly merits judicial intervention. The real challenge to management is survival in the cut throat competition. Competition is within India or from China. I doubt whether their vision goes beyond the horizon. Otherwise management would not have wasted their precious time in these frivolous activities.

21st century management style demands treating employees as business partners and not adversaries. Companies have become corporations and attained glorious heights because of their employees. When companies nurture their employees, groom their employees, show faith on them, the union activities become redundant hence question of raising the flag itself does arise not at all.

Regards,

DVD

Dear Sir,
Normally, the unions hoists their flags in front of the Factory.
Normally, the Factory management leaves some place in front of the factory. In that places, several
union flags will be there. Their Union Notice Boards will be put up there.
In case of recognized Unions, the management will generally provide an office inside the place
to have their discussions/meetings from time to time and to come forward for negotiation and for
settlement as a measure of give and take policy.
Without GIVE AND TAKE POLICY it is difficult to maintain cordial relations. We have act according
to the situations to maintain harmonious relations. THERE IS NO HARD FAST RULE. After all there are
our Business Partners.
D.Gurumurthy
Advocate/HR.IR Consultant

After going through the updates provided by Mr.Mukesh and Mr.Dinesh whom I thank for making the subject lively, what I have understood is while Mr.Mukesh provided the legal perspective of the rights of a trade union, Mr.Dinesh provided the social perspective of the same.For any indutry to grow, both the capital and the labour need to cooperate and it is no body's guess that one cannot survive without the other.Therefore there is need to balance both the perspectives -legal & social- in the sense that both can exercise their rights with some reasonable restraints so that there will be cooperation but not conflicts. Should the Trade Union Act needs some modifications to enumerate specifically how the employer and the unin shall conduct.? other views may enliven the debate.
B.Saikumar
HR & Labour Law Advisor
Mumbai

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