Rise of Contractual WorkersContractual Workers are those who are employed by Companies for short spans as defined in the contracts on the basis of which they join the Company. Section 2(g) of the Wages Code, 2019 defines “Contract Labour” as a “worker who shall be deemed to be employed in or in connection with the work of an establishment when he is hired in or in connection with such work by or through a contractor with or without the knowledge of the principal employer and includes inter-state migrant worker but does not include a worker other than a part- time employee”.
Kerala HC: Contractual Workers
The prevalence of contractual workers is so high that between 2017- 2018, contractual workers were found to increase by 36%, hence laws protecting such contractual workers are very necessary since they form a large part of the labor force.The Ruling by the Kerala HCJustice Anu Sivaraman in the matter of Tintu K & Anr. v Union of India & Ors., before the Kerala HC, ruled that the employer cannot remove a contractual worker any time depending upon his wish. He must provide a prior notice to the contractual worker beforehand and a chance to explain himself.In the present case, the two contractual workers were hired after an elaborate and fair process of selection. The argument put up by the defendant employer that they were contractual employers and they did not have the absolute right to continue employment was not considered a valid one because even contractual workers are a substantive part of the workforce and their rights must be protected. Furthermore, contractual workers are often promoted to permanent positions after they finish their period of contract, therefore, their work is also substantive and must be considered with importance.
Kerala HC Contractual Workers-Kerala HC Contractual Workers-Kerala HC Contractual Workers
Conclusion: Effect of the Ruling by the Kerala HCThis judgment by the Kerala HC has proactively voiced its support towards contractual workers who are often exploited at the hands of employers. In a labor relationship of employment, the employer and employee are always at a power imbalance and this imbalance is mitigated by correct legal measures such as the one taken by the Kerala HC.