KOCHI: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the state police to intervene if the employees of 10 Muthoot Finance branches, who are willing to work, are stopped from attending duty.
The court passed the order on a petition filed by managers of the branches at Illikkal, Erattupetta, Kanjirappally, Athani, Vandanmedu, Pachalam, Thodupuzha, Poonjar, Kattapana, and Mangatukadavu. The managers sought police protection for operating their branch offices.
The court also directed the management to participate in the conciliation meetings. The management should ensure that none other than the employees in the muster roll of the particular branch should be engaged for work, the court observed. The court said the order will not interfere with the right of the workers to peacefully protest against the management in front of the branches without causing any disturbance to the smooth functioning of the branches.
The state Attorney submitted before the court that the management was not cooperating with the attempts for conciliation initiated by the government. According to the petitioners, members of the Non-banking and Private Finance Employees’ Association and workers of the CITU were preventing the petitioners from entering the offices of Muthoot Finance.
The dispute between the trade union and management was not a ground to deny the right of the petitioners to earn their livelihood. The right to strike did not involve the right to obstruct employees willing to work, the petitioners argued. The petitioners alleged that head-load workers and auto drivers hired by the trade unions were threatening the petitioners and obstructing them from attending work.