Umakanthan53
Labour Law & Hr Consultant
KK!HR
Management Consultancy
+2 Others

I have some doubt relating with trade union and works committee.
You are requested to help me to come out from them.
1) Can a workman join more than one union in the same establishment?
2) Can contract labour cast vote in works committee election?
3) Can contract labour file nomination in the election of works committee members.
4) Who is ultimately liable to pay Bonus to contract labour?
Dear Rahul,
I think that most of these four questions stem up from the lack of clarity in understanding the difference between the actual meanings of the terms " workman" and " contract labor ". For the sake of simplicity of understanding, I would like to avoid the statutory definitions of the terms, very particularly, as they occur in the Industrial Disputes Act,1947 and the Contract Labor (R&A) Act,1970 respectively. Workman refers to the workman directly hired, controlled and paid by the employer himself so as to create a contract of service between them. Contract Labor, on the other hand, refers to the workman engaged by the Principal Employer through a Contractor with whom the PE has entered into a contract for service. Legally, therefore no contractual relationship of any sort between the PE and the Contract Labor though the latter works for him. In this back drop, "No" is the answer to your 2nd and 3rd queries regarding works committee.
Regarding the first question , as far as I know and understand there is no explicit statutory ban on simultaneous dual or multiple membership of trade unions. In case of any dispute between the unions as to the membership of such members, they would be treated as no members of any union. Therefore, no workman in the establishment can have simultaneous membership in more than one union in the establishment.
Regarding the liability for payment of bonus to contract labor, the opinions of the higher judiciary are also divided. However, whatever the contractor's charges quoted, approved and paid include the statutory bonus payable to the contract labor too. Therefore, the PE has to ensure that bonus is paid to the CL by the contractor.
Thank you Sir for this useful information.
Regards,
Rahul Sindhwani
At the end of the month ;All contractors are given wages + a specific % of service charge by the PE for arranging required no's of CL's.
Almost none of the PE gives bonus amt to Conteactor to distribute amongst his employees therefore contractor never gives bonus.
In such situation whose responsibility is to disburse bonus.
Amt of bonus is to be borne by whom ; by PE or by Cont. Pl clarify
Payment of Bonus depends on the allocable/available surplus of the employer as per Payment of Bonus Act, 1965. The Act makes no mention of the statutory liability on the Principal Employer unlike the PF, ESI, EC, MW Act etc. So in framing the Act the legislature has not consciously added it to be the responsibility of principal employer. Even otherwise if it is made the liability of PE, then depending on the deployment with the respective employers, different labourers of the same contractor will receive widely varying amounts of bonus - an anomalous situation . There is the clearcut judgement of Kerala High Court in Comminco Binani matter stating that the bonus is not the liability of PE.
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