'Holiday by govt under NI Act not valid for pvt firms'

Declaration of a holiday by the government under the Negotiable Instruments (NI) Act will not apply to private entities covered under the Factories Act, the Madras High Court has said.

Workers of these firms who do not report to work on such days will not be entitled to wages, it said.

Justice S M Subramaniam gave the ruling while allowing a plea filed by the management of Bimetal Bearings Limited of Hosur in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu.

The firm had challenged an order passed by a labour court, directing it to pay wages to 47 employees who did not work on July 30, 2015.

Former president APJ Abdul Kalam died on July 27, 2015. The state government, in a notification, issued the next day, had declared July 30, 2015, a public holiday under the NI Act as a mark of respect for him.

The factory declared it a paid holiday only for those who were on general and first shifts but it was denied to those on third and fourth shifts.

When the workmen sought holiday for the other shifts too, the management agreed to grant it on the condition that they work on their weekly off, which fell on August 2, 2015.

About 47 workers did not accept the condition and therefore wages were denied to them following which they moved the labour court.

The labour court directed the management to pay the wages.

Justice Subramaniam quoted Kalam as having said "don't declare holiday on my death, instead work an extra day if you love me" and set aside the November 2017 order by the Salem labour court directing the factory to pay wages to workers who failed to report to work on July 30, 2015.

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