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Investors scared to approach State govt due to militant trade unionism: Kerala HC on Gawking Wage

ANI | Updated: Oct 07, 2021 22:46 IST

Kochi (Kerala) [India], October 7 (ANI): Kerala High Court criticised the Kerala Government on Thursday over its failure to eradicate the practice of 'Nokku Kooli' (Gawking Wage) by labour unions. The court said that the investors are now scared to approach the State due to its image of promoting militant trade unionism.
The Court's criticism came while hearing a plea by TK Sundareshan, a hotel owner in Kollam, seeking police protection from labour unions on Gawking Wage issue. Court also posted this matter for further hearing to November 1.
The Bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran also said that the provisions of the Kerala Headload Workers Act, 1978 must be implemented effectively.

The Court said, "The real remedy in ensuring that entrepreneurs and industry are not intimidated from coming and operating in Kerala is by ensuring that there is a peaceful atmosphere in the realm of labour and employment scenario and to a large extent this is possible only if the head load workers and their unions act totally within the confines of the provisions of the act."
The court further stated that if the provisions of the act are implemented properly, the impression of Kerala having militant trade unionism would vanish almost instantly. This is because, in the event of any employer refusing to engage a head load worker, the consequence would not be violence but a proceedings initiated before the Headload Workers Welfare Fund Board which would then lead to the statutory consequences under the act.
The bench said, "Any demand of Gawking Wage by any person, head load worker or union, is illegal and unlawful and the Court consequently directs the Station House Officer of the areas concerned to take stringent action including under the various provisions of the IPC depending on the nature of the allegations and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book without any leniency, whatever be the colour of the flag they are working under."
Notably, on September 3, the Court asked Kerala DGP for a report regarding the steps taken to implement a ban on Gawking Wage. (ANI)