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`Casual worker employed continuously entitled to reinstatement'

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, APRIL 14. A labour court here has ruled that a casual worker, continuously employed for six years with the Malaysian Airlines as traffic assistant, is entitled to reinstatement and all back wages.

The principal labour judge, K. Ramasubramaniam, awarded the relief to K. Balu, who worked with the airline between July 1987 and April 1993, when he was stopped from work without any notice. ``The airline has not actually issued any termination order, and it is an unfair labour practice. The management's conduct will amount to victimisation. Non-employment of Mr. Balu is not justified.

Mr. Balu raised an industrial dispute before a conciliation officer on the ground that he was continuously in service for over six years and that he was given an identity card also. Break in service was effected by the management once in three years ``to avoid continuity in service,'' he said.

The management contended that he was allowed to help passengers in lifting baggage on a commission basis, and was never employed as a workman. It claimed that he was engaged only intermittently.

Though initially the labour court dismissed Mr. Balu's petition, the Madras High Court allowed his appeal and remanded the matter back to the lower court, stating the question that he was a workman of the airline had been fully established. The labour court was directed to deal only with the question of non-employment.

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