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Calcutta HC directs West Bengal Govt. to enter into “meaningful dialogue” with members of jute industry for payment of workers’ wages

The Court issued the direction while disposing of a plea moved on behalf of workers in the jute industry raising grievance that they have not been receiving their wages.

Lydia Suzanne Thomas

The Calcutta High Court has directed the West Bengal State Government to enter into “meaningful dialogues” with members of the jute industry for the expeditious payment of their wages (TUCI v. State of West Bengal and ors).

The Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee issued the direction while disposing of a plea moved on behalf of workers in the jute industry raising grievance that they have not been receiving their wages.

After hearing the Counsel for the Petitioner Sabyasachi Chatterjee, and Advocate-General Kishore Datta for West Bengal, the Court urged the State government to commission a principal officer or a labour commissioner with the initiation of dialogue with members of the jute industry, to ensure payment of wages “to the best of their ability."

In light of the difficulties that jute workers have been facing as a result of the non-payment, the Court has ordered the State to commence the dialogue and wage-payment process as soon as is possible. The Court has directed that this exercise be undertaken within a four-week period, preferably.

Disposing the writ petition, the Court said,

"It is expected that the State Government shall play a positive and proactive role in this matter generating requisite motivation.
Calcutta High Court

Recently, the Supreme Court through a three-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, MR Shah, and SK Kaul restrained Governments from taking action against private employers for failure to pay wages during the COVID-19 crisis period, directing instead that they “sit together to arrive at a settlement” on the issue.

The Supreme Court’s order remains in force till the end of July (Ficus Pax Private Ltd. & Ors..v. Union of India, order dated June 12).

Read the Calcutta HC order:

TUCI v. State of West Bengal and ors - Calcutta HC order.pdf
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