Workers' victory against Union Carbide

On June 21st the judge of the Labour Court in Bhopal, Ms. Seema Shrivastava, ruled in favour of workers  sacked by Union Carbide in July 1985 following the closure of the factory. Holding the termination of the employees invalid, the judge has directed Union Carbide India Limited [renamed Eveready Industries India Limited] to pay full wages with all service benefits to the workers till such time when their services are terminated in accordance with the law.

This would amount to about Rs. 1 million ( US $ 23,000) per worker.The judge has directed the company management to pay the sums due to the workers within 90 days. As the management prepares to appeal against the judgement, workers are jubilant with their victory in a 15 year long legal battle.

Termination of Carbide employees illegal: Court

Hindustan Times Correspondent

Bhopal, June 24

LABOUR COURT here has declared the termination of Union Carbide employees as illegal and as such null and void.

Disposing of six petitions filed by 90 Union Carbide workers, whose services were terminated along with other employees, of the factory following gas disaster in 1984, labour court judge Ms Seema Shrivastava said that the retrenched employees would be entitled to full wages with 91 the service benefits for the period from the closure of the factory in 1985 to the disposal of the case.

Holding that the employees of Union Carbide continued to be in service of the company, the judge said that they would continue to be in job till they were retrenched as per the rules laid down in the Industrial Dispute (ID) Act.

The judge further observed that the term 'retrenchment' as defined in Section 2 (00) of the ID Act also embraces within itself the termination of services of the workmen by the employer for any reason whatsoever than the excepted categories specified in the Act, even including the act of termination of workmen due to closure of the undertaking. She held that since the termination of the applicants-employees did not fall under excepted/excluded categories specified in the Act nor they have been removed by way of any disciplinary action as such their termination even due to closure of the factory amounts to illegal retrenchment and as per Section 25 -N (7) of the Act they are entitled to be declared to be continuing in service.

Ordering the Union Carbide, 'now named Eveready India Ltd. to pay full wages to the applicants-employees for the intervening period, the court said that the amount of compensation paid to them at the time of retrenchment could be deducted from the amount payable to each of the employee.

According to union leader Vijayan K, over 600 retrenched Carbide employees have convened a meeting at Bal Vihar, tomorrow morning to discuss the situation in the light of the labour court judgment which has held their retrenchment illegal.