Definition of workman
Definition of workman is provided under section 2 (s) of the Industrial Dispute Act 1947 as :
Workman is any person employed in any industry to do any manual , unskilled , skilled, technical , operational , clerical or supervisory work for hire or reward , Whether the terms of employment is expressed or implied.
Essential Condition As Per Sec. 2s of ID Act Workman:
- A person must be a employee of any industry.
- There should be a master & servant relationship.
- There should be a Contractual relationship between master & servant.
- Employee should be done there work under the supervision of Employer.
In Chintaraman Rao vs State of Madhya Pradesh 1958 — It was held that there should contractual relationship between masters and servant i.e. the servant is under the supervision, direction and control of his master.
In the case of Atam Prakash & ors vs. State of Haryana & ors 1997 it was held that to be a workman within section -2(s) of this act he should be employed in an industry and there should be master servant relationship.
In John Joseph Khokar vs Bhadange B.S. & Ors — it was held that whether a person is a workman or not the court has to principally see main or substantial work , for which he is employed. Neither designation nor any incidental work done by him will get him outside the purview of this act.
Retired employees association vs Union of India 2007 — it was held that retired employee shall be a part of “workman” as defined in section 2(s) of the industrial dispute act 1947 and can be a party to an Industrial Dispute.
In another case Reserve Bank of India & ors vs C.N. Sahasranaman & ors – It was held by the supreme court that employees are fully covered by the definition of the workman.
Who is not workman
There are certain employees who cannot be considered as workman by the status as per section 2(s) .
These are the following:
- Who is subject to the Airforce act or Army act
- Who is employed in the police services or other employee of a prison
- Who is employed mainly in a managerial or administrative capacity
Sub Inspector of Post Vaikan vs theyyan Joseph 1996 —it was held that extra departmental agents in postal service were civil servants and not workman.
M.N. Wadia Charitable Hospital vs Umakant Ramchander worker 1997 —it was held that it was never be the object of ID Act that highly qualified doctors or esteemed surgeons would be entitled to claim the protection of this welfare legislation
Bombay telephone Canteen employees association vs Union of India and another 1997 —Canteen employees were dismissed from service that led to an industrial dispute. Industrial tribunal held that departmental canteen is not an industry and in order to classify an employee as workman the condition precedent is that he is employed in an industry.
In the case of Ved Prakash Gupta vs Delton Cable India Pvt Ltd 1984 –Court held that absence of power to appoint or dismiss or hold disciplinary enquiry against other workmen is one of the indicators that he does not belong to the managerial category..
In another case of Inthru Noronha vs Colgate Palmolive India Ltd 2005Hon,ble Bombay High Court held that the appellant a bank employee who had power to sanction leave and initiate disciplinary proceedings was a workman.
A S Raghvendra vs Bharti Airtel Limited 2019:Karntaka High Court held that salary is no criteria to decide the managerial position of a person to be a workman and reiterated the judgement of Ved Prakash Gupta vs Delton Cable India Pvt Ltd 1984.
In one of the case it was held that a doctor examining patients ,diagnosing diseases and prescribing medicines as a full time employee of hospital cannot be a “workman” irrespective of his designation .
Why Everybody wants to be treated as workman under Labour Law :
Industrial Dispute Act provides answer to that as there certain protection and benefits under Industrial Dispute Act 1947:
- Protection against dismissal
- Protection against Retrenchment
- Retrenchment Compensation
- Mechanism to file complaint
- Trade Union
- Right to raise dispute