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High Court Says Casual Workers Not Entitled to Equal Pay for Equal Work

The principle of equal pay for equal work cannot be extended to the workers appointed on a casual basis, the Delhi High Court has held, saying that daily rated workers are not required to possess the same qualifications as prescribed for regular ones. While allowing a plea of Air India Limited, a single judge bench of Justice S Muralidhar said that merely because the casually employed workers are performing the similar task as that of regular ones, cannot entitle the former to claim for application of the principle equal pay for equal work. The impugned order of the CGIT (Central Government Industrial Tribunal) to the extent it grants the relief of parity in pay scale to daily wage workmen with regularly employed workmen is hereby set aside, the court said.The direction of the high court came on the plea of Air India Limited challenging the order of the CGIT which had held that the workmen employed on a casual basis were entitled to the same wages as payable to regularly-appointed ones from the date of their initial appointment. The CGIT had, on a plea of Air India Workers Union, held that the principle equal pay for equal work was applicable to casual workmen. Justice Muralidhar cited various judgements of the Supreme Court and said, In light of the above law, as explained by the Supreme Court, the impugned order of the CGIT cannot be sustained. The court also said, Daily-rated workers are not required to possess the qualifications prescribed for regular workers, nor do they have to fulfil the requirement relating to age at the time of recruitment. They are not selected in the manner in which regular employees are selected. The court further said that a scale of pay was attached to a definite post and in case of a daily wager, he held no posts.

Economic Times, New Delhi, 01-08-2011