Supreme Court
Supreme Court
Image Source: ANI/Twitter

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered that there will be no coercive action against employers who did not comply with a March 29 government notification directing companies to pay wages to employees for 54 days during the lockdown period.

"No coercive action against employers till July last week," said the top court. It emphasized that employers and employees should talk and settle the matter. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.R. Shah asked the employers to negotiate a settlement with their employees. The bench added that companies that operated during lockdown, but were not operating on full strength too should hold settlement talks with their employees.

The bench asked the Centre to file a detailed reply on petitions challenging the notification. The apex court noted that in case the talks failed, parties could approach the Labour Department, which could facilitate a settlement, but efforts should be made to settle disputes between workers and employers.

The top court emphasized that the private establishments and workers sit together to negotiate to settle disputes relating to wages. The bench also asked state governments to facilitate such settlements and submit reports before the labour commissioners. The top court emphasized that "piecemeal consideration" cannot be made, and Centre and state governments should circulate court order through labour departments to facilitate settlements.

The top court has asked the Centre to file an additional affidavit in 4 weeks, and scheduled the next hearing on the matter in July last week. The bench noted that workers who are willing to work should be allowed to work notwithstanding disputes regarding wages.

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