After years, 15 employees of Reliance Energy Ltd will be made permanent.
Saying that a greater accountability is needed on labour policies of big corporations to ensure workers’ rights, a recent Bombay high court verdict rejected a petition filed by Reliance Energy Ltd challenging an industrial court ruling.
The workers had filed a complaint in the industrial court in March 2001, seeking permanent employee status. The court had directed the electricity supplier to grant permanent status to 15 employees it had hired on contract basis.
“The moment a workman completes 240 days of service in a span of 12 calendar months, he must be made permanent by issuing a written order,” said the high court.
Arguing for the workers, senior advocate SK Talsania had said they were entitled to a permanent employee status because their span of employment extended beyond the project they were hired for.
“An inference must be drawn that the intention of the employer in continuing such workmen for years together as temporary workmen was clearly to deprive them of their permanent status,” said Justice Nishita Mhatre.
Talsania said they were paid about Rs10,000 less than the permanent employees although “there is no difference in the nature of work”.
“One of the reasons for depriving them of their permanent status is obviously because the salary payable to temporary workmen was Rs10,000 less than that payable to permanent workmen,” the judge added.
Senior counsel JP Cama, appearing on behalf of Reliance Energy, argued that the workers did not share a direct relationship with the company and that they were hired on a temporary basis, despite the extension of their work period.
But the court did not buy the argument and upheld the industrial court verdict.