HC stays order to pay wages of estate workers through bankstext_fields
Kochi: The High Court Tuesday stayed an order of the Labour Commissioner, Thiruvananthapuram, directing that wages of estate workers be paid through bank accounts.
Considering a petition filed by Devikulam Estate Workers Union (AITUC) leader M V Ouseph, Justice A Muhammed Mustaq directed that payment of wages be continued as was being done post demonetisation.
Ouseph had submitted that the state government had issued a Government Order on November 17 as per which estate owners were to hand over the requisite cheque for payment of wages to workers to the district collector.
They in turn would encash the cheque through the district treasury and return the cash to estate owners for payment of wages to the workers.
Citing the G.O., Ouseph said the Labour Commissioners circular directing the Chief Inspector of Plantations to ensure that all employees have bank accounts for disbursement of salaries for December 2016 is "arbitrary and illegal".
The petitioner also argued that the direction to pay wages through bank accounts was against the statutory mandate in Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act 1936, which insists on payment of wages in coins or currency.
It is also opposed to Section 11 of the Minimum Wages Act, which provide that minimum wages under the Act shall be paid in cash, the petitioner said.