PIRA 2010 provides certain right to both employer and workman. If any industrial dispute arises between employer and the workman, they can restore to the conciliator for the settlement of such dispute and if the conciliation proceedings fail the employer may declare a lockout or a workman may go on strike.
2. Relevant Provisions
Sec 42 and 43, 44, 45 Industrial Relation Act 2012 and Section 40, 41 of Punjab Industrial Relation Act 2010.
3. Definition of Lockout and Strike
(i) Definition of Lockout u/sec. 2 (xix)
Lockout means the closing of a place or part of place of employment or the suspension of work wholly or partly by an employer or refusal absolute, or conditional by him to continue to employ any number f workmen employed by him and that closing, suspension or refusal must occur either in connection with industrial dispute or for the purpose of compelling workman employed to accept certain terms and conditions or affecting employment.
(ii) Definition of strike u/sec 2 (xxviii)
Strike means cessation of work by a body of person employed in any establishment acting in combination or a concerted refusal or a refusal under a common understanding of any number of persons who have been so employed to continue to work or accept employment.
4. Declaration of Lockout and Strike u/sec 40
An employer or workman may declare lockout or strike if the following conditions are satisfied.
(i) There must be an industrial dispute.
(ii) No settlement is arrived at during the course of conciliation proceedings.
(iii) Parties to the dispute do not agree to refer it to an arbitrator u/sec 39.
(iv) There must be 14 days notice by a workman to the employer for strike or the Period of notice u/sec 36 upon declaration of failure of conciliation proceedings have been made, whichever is later for the purpose of lockout.
5. Application to Labour Court
The party raising a dispute may make an application to the labour court for adjudication of the dispute.
(i) Time for making an application
An application may be made at any time, either before or after the commencement of lockout or strike.
6. Prohibition of Lockout or Strike
It can be discussed under the following three heads.
(i) Prohibition where it lasts for more than 30 days
Where the strike or lockout lasts for more than 30 days the appropriate Govt. may be order in writing, prohibit it.
(a) Authority Empowered Prohibit
Such strike or lockout may be prohibited by
(a-i) Federal Govt. if it relates to a dispute which the commission is competent to adjudicate and determine, and
(a-ii) Provincial Govt. if it relates to another dispute.
(ii) Prohibition before the expiry of 30 Days
The appropriate Govt. may prohibit the strike or lockout even before the expiry of 30 days if it is satisfied that the continuance of such strike or lockout is causing serious hardship to community or is prejudicial to the national interest.
(a) Authority empowered to Prohibit
Such prohibition may be made by
(i) Federal Govt. if it relates to a dispute which the commission is competent to adjudicate and determine, and
(ii) Provincial Govt. if it relates to other dispute, with the previous approval of the Federal Govt.
(iii) Prohibition of Commencement of Lockout or Strike
The Federal or Provincial Govt. as the case may be shall prohibit by an order in official Gazette, the commencement of a strike or lockout if the same is in the opinion of the Govt. Concerned is detrimental to the interests of the community at large.
7. Dispute to be Referred u/s 40(5)
Where the Federal or Provincial Govt. prohibits a strike or lockout, it shall forthwith refer the dispute to the commission or the labour court, as the case may be.
8. Making of award u/s 40(6)
The commission or the labour court after giving both parties to the dispute and opportunity of being heard shall make such an award as it deems fit as expeditiously as possible.
(i) Time Limitation for Making
Such award must be made within 30 days from the date on which the dispute was referred to it but any delay in making an award shall not affect the validity of it.
(ii) Making for Interim Award
The commission or the labour court as the case may be, may make an interim award on any matter of dispute.
9. Duration of award u/s 40(9)
The award made u/s 40(9) shall be for such period as may be specified in the award but shall not be for more than two years.
10. Strike or Lockout in public utility services u/s 41
The Government in case of strike or lockout relating to an industrial dispute in respect of public utility services may, by order in writing prohibit a strike or lockout at any time before or after the commencement of strike or lockout.
(i) Meaning of Public utility service u/s 2(XXIII)
Public utility service means any of the service specified in schedule I.
(i-a) Services Provided under schedule I
Following services are provided under schedule I.
(a) Generation, Production manufacture or supply of electricity, gas, oil or water to the public.
(b) Any system of public conservancy or sanitation.
(c) Hospitals and ambulance service
(d) Fire fighting service
(e) Any postal, telegraph or telephone service
(f) Railway and airway
(g) Dry Ports
(h) Watch and wards staff and security services maintained in any establishment.
(i-b) Time when Prohibition may be made
Such prohibition of strike or lockout may be made at any time before or after the commencement of the strike or lockout.
To conclude, I can say that the workman or employer both can go on strike or lockout, if their demands not accepted by the other party such strike or lockout must be in accordance with the provisions of section 40, otherwise it may be declared as illegal. Government may prohibit it if is detrimental to the national interest or unnecessarily prolonged.