Bombay High Court directs SpiceJet no new contract workers These directions are a result of a petition filed by SpiceJet to challenge an Industrial Tribunal order directing the aviation company to continue the employment of 463 contractual employees. SpiceJet has been ordered by the Bombay High Court to maintain status quo and does not have to hire any new contractual employees until...
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Bombay High Court directs SpiceJet no new contract workers
These directions are a result of a petition filed by SpiceJet to challenge an Industrial Tribunal order directing the aviation company to continue the employment of 463 contractual employees.
SpiceJet has been ordered by the Bombay High Court to maintain status quo and does not have to hire any new contractual employees until February 8, 2022 when they will be able to challenge a decision made by the Industrial Tribunal. [The Chairman & Managing Director of Spice Jet Ltd. & Anr. v. India Spice Jet Staff & Employees Association].
SpiceJet's management had been told to reinstate 463 contractual workers by the Industrial Tribunal.
According to SpiceJet, their contract was set to expire on December 31, 2021.
In their statement, they said that COVID had affected the aviation industry, affecting the company's financial conditions, and they were struggling to survive.
According to the opposing side, since these employees were employed on a fixed-term basis that expired, they were covered by Section 2(oo)(bb) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
The retrenchment of a workman who is terminated as a result of non-renewal of his or her contract of employment is excluded from the application of section 2(oo)(bb).
The defendants have been employed, despite being on contracts of service, for tenures of 24 months under each contract, for about 8-9 years, according to Justice Ravindra V Ghuge. Therefore Section 2(oo)(bb) of the Industrial Disputes Act is not applicable.
According to the Court, "In so far as the management's contention that Section 2(oo)(bb) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 should apply to these workers, I fear that section 2(oo)(bb) would be meaningless for workers who have been working under contracts of service for 24 months, under a contract of service for about 8-9 years."
Specifically, the Court ordered that no new contract employees or personnel be deployed and that the status quo be maintained.
A Court of Appeals order clarified that the staff and employee association should not attempt to "precipitate proceedings by filing an application for immediate execution of the tribunal's order".
A strike notice was served by the India SpiceJet Staff & Employees Association in June 2021, causing the dispute.
As a result of the notice, the conciliation officer clarified that the service of both individuals would automatically end on the basis of the terms of their appointment letters and not on the grounds of their termination.
In the meantime, the Union brought the issue before the High Court, which instructed them to contact the Central Government Industrial Tribunal to resolve the issue.
As part of the union's interim request, the tribunal ordered SpiceJet to retain its 493 employees, including the ground-handling employees in addition to the 493 names recorded in the list of employees.
SpiceJet challenged the order before the High Court.
The Court set February 8, 2022, as the date for hearing the petition after hearing both sides for some time.
For this reason, Justice Ghuge deemed it appropriate for SpiceJet to send an offer of work to a list of its contractual employees, those who are considered to be fixed-term employees.
Spice Jet management was represented by Advocates Mahesh Shukla and Niraj Prajapati.
The association was represented by Advocate Jai Prakash Sawant.