Who is responsibl e to pay wages to contract workers? Also what will be rate of wages?
Whether the respondents have a right to claim the same wages as their counterparts doing the same type of work but employed directly by the petitioner Indian Airlines. Section 35 of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 invests the appropriate Government a power to make rules for carrying out the purposes of the Act subject to the condition of previous publication. Accordingly, the Central Government framed and published the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Central Rules, 1971, which are applicable in the present case. In a case where the type of work done by the workmen engaged by the contractor is the same as done by the workmen directly employed by the principal employer, the workmen employed by the contractor would be entitled to the same wages.
The proviso to sub-clause (v)(a) of rule 25(2) of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) rules would come into operation only if there is a disagreement with regard to the type of work. When there is no such disagreement sub-rule (v)(a) of rules 25(2) would be applicable. Under rule 25(2)(v)(b) of the Rules again if the work is not similar, the wage rates, holidays, hours of work and conditions of service of the workmen of the contractor has again to be specified by the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central). In one case the Allahabad High Court has held that a principal employer under the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) has to ensure that contractor's workers are paid minimum wages.1 Workmen employed through contractor performing same and similar nature of work which was being done by the regular employees of the petitioner will be entitled to same rates of wages, holidays, hours of work and other conditions of the work as were being enjoyed by regular workers of the petitioner/principal employer as per provisions of rule 25(2)(v)(a) of the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Central Rules, 1971. 2
In one case, the Karnataka High Court has held that whenever the employer has engaged the services of the contract employees through a contractor, the principal employer has to ensure that contractor's workers are paid minimum wages, to which they are also entitled to. In view of the failure to make payment by contractor, the principal employer de-serves to be dealt with by the strong arm of law. Though the principal employer is not prosecuted for the said failure, he is directed to pay compensation as ordered by the authority by the impugned order. 3
1. General Manager, Aligarh Dugdh Utpadak Sahakari Sangh Ltd. (Parag Dairy), Sasni Hathras v. Prescribed Authority, Minimum Wages and Dy. Labour Commissioner, Aligarh, 2009 LLR 316 (All HC).
2. Airports Authority of India rep. by its Airport Director, Coimbatore Airport, Coimbatore v. Authority under rule 25(2)(v)(a) & (b) of Contract Labour (R & A) Central Rules 1971 & Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central), South Zone, Bangalore, III Main, III Cross, II Phase, Tumkur Road, Bangalore-22 , 2012 LLR 399 (Mad HC).
3. Assistant Executive Engineer, B.W.S.S.B. West, 4, Bangalore v. Senior Labour Inspector, Peenya, Bangalore , 2014 (142) FLR 596 (Karn HC).
Source : H.L. Kumar : Labour Problems & Remedies