Bombay High Court directs SpiceJet not to Employ new Contractual Workers

Munmun Kaur

Published On: January 27, 2022 at 12:23 IST

In an Interim Order, the Bombay High Court directed SpiceJet that no new contractual employees or personnel be deployed by any agency until February 8 i.e., when their Plea challenging an Order of the Industrial Tribunal be heard.

The Industrial Tribunal in its Order, had directed the airline to reinstate 463 contractual workers.

SpiceJet had argued that the contracts of the said workers had expired on December 31, 2021 and since these employees were appointed on a fixed-term contract basis which expired, Section 2(oo)(bb) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 would be applicable. Further, Section 2(oo)(bb) excludes from the ambit of retrenchment, the termination of the service of the workman as a result of the non-renewal of the contract of employment.

It was further contended that the pandemic had severely affected the industry, weakening the company’s financial condition and they were striving to sustain themselves.

Earlier this month, the airlines had challenged the Industrial Tribunal’s Order.

Advocate Jaiprakash Sawant appearing for the All India SpiceJet Staff and Employees Association submitted that the workmen were terminated from January 1, 2022 despite a status quo Order passed by the Central Government Industrial Tribunal, Mumbai. On the other hand, Advocate Mahesh Shukla appearing for SpiceJet Airline Management raised the contention that the said employees were not removed but their term of employment had expired.

Justice Ravindra V Ghuge observed that since these workmen have been working, though on contracts of service, for tenures of 24 months under each contract, for about 8-9 years, Section 2(oo)(bb) of the Industrial Disputes Act would not apply.

The High Court in its Order posted the airline’s petition for urgent Hearing on February 8 and directed that until further orders, “The Respondent (Union) would not precipitate the issue by filing any application for execution of the impugned Interim Order”. It also directed the airlines that “Status quo shall be maintained as existing today and no new contractual employees or personnel be deployed by any agency”.

Related Post