Explore the nuances of lockouts in the workplace with insights into causes, implications, legal definitions, and comparisons with strikes. An informative guide shedding light on employer-initiated work stoppages and their impact on industrial relations.

During a lockout, the employer may close the factory for a short period, but this will not be done permanently. It is often used to ensure that a group of employees continues to adhere to their employment terms in the face of a dispute. An employer may threaten or implement a lockout to coerce a labour union into accepting a lower demand, such as increased salary or benefits.

The factory lockout might have resulted from poor management caused by either internal or external factors. Management’s poor treatment of workers, disagreements with employees, or the factory’s financial woes is all potential causes of unrest inside the company. Workplace tensions might also arise from conflicts with management. Some factory lockouts may be traced back to external causes, such as when political parties inappropriately meddle with worker union management, or employees are incited to make unrealistic demands that management finds impossible to satisfy. The rules for lockout at a factory are laid out in the country’s labour laws. A lockout in the factory is a significant disruption that has consequences for the company and its employees; thus, it must not be initiated lightly.

In contrast to strikes, Lockouts are started by management in response to disagreements between management and employees over the latter’s excessive demands. However, the definition provided under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 is as follows:

A lock-out occurs when an employer refuses to pay any of his employees or workers are forced to shut down operations at their place of business. Article 2 Section 1 For this reason, a lockout happens when a company closes its doors to avoid an industrial dispute, violence, or property damage. The employment relationship is paused when one party suspends work, such as when an employer stops giving employees work until they comply with his requests or when a business shuts down. A lockout is the reciprocal of a strike. The purpose of a lock-out is to coerce or force the workforce to come to terms, much as a strike gives employees leverage over their employer by preventing them from entering the workplace. Therefore, lockouts invariably include overt, malicious behaviour on the employer’s part. Without such manifest behaviour, the momentary suspension of work would not constitute a lockout, and the employees would have no legal right to compensation for the period they were not on the clock.

A lockout may be either aggressive or defensive. The purpose of a defensive lockout is to prevent imminent and irreparable financial harm to the business or to defend a legal right. In contrast, the purpose of an offensive lockout is for management to apply economic pressure on employees to gain a bargaining advantage over a union.

1. Conflicts or conflicts between employees and management are one of the primary causes of lockouts.

2. Disputes or brawls involving employees.

3. Workers’ strikes are either legal but infrequent or illegal but ongoing.

4. For instance, you should be able to obtain money if you own a factory that generates much of it.

5. If a company is involved in illegal or dishonest practices.

6. The inability to keep the peace and harmony in the workplace.

A more complete and exact definition of the lockout was supplied by section 2 (e) of the Trade Disputes Act of 1929. (Now repealed). The current definition is a shortened version of the term “lockout,” as it lacks the phrase “when such closing, suspension, or refusal occurs in consequence of a dispute and is intended to compel those persons or to assist another employer in compelling persons employed by him to accept the terms or conditions of or affecting employment.” In the case of Sri Ramachandra Spinning Mills v. State of Madras, the High Court explained the problem with the current definition as follows: “As the words of the definition stand, whatever be the circumstances in which he finds himself placed, whatever the strength of the agencies that forced on him the step, and however impotent he may be to avoid the result if an employer closes the place of employment or suspends work on his If the place of employment is closed, work is suspended, or

Later, the Court decided that a lockout would invariably occur when a strike-like shutdown, suspension, or refusal was implemented. The Supreme Court of India upheld this view in the case of Kairbetta Estate v. Rajamanickam, writing that “just as a strike is a weapon available to the employees for enforcing their industrial demands, a lockout is a weapon available to the employer to persuade the employees by a coercive process to see his point of view and to accept his demands.” In the struggle between capital and labour, both parties have access to and utilize the weapon of their choosing, strikes by workers and lockouts by employers. However, each side’s use of both weapons must comply with the relevant provisions of the Industrial Dispute Act of 1947.

A lock-out occurs when an employer deliberately prevents employees from coming to work to prevent them from filing a claim. There are four parts to a lock-out system:

1. The temporary closing of a workplace, suspension of employment, or refusal to recruit any number of workers by the employer,

2. The activities of the employer should be compelled.

3. An industry covered by the Act; 4. A disagreement within that industry.

4. Loss of a Workplace Due to Closure Short-term or Putting ‘Work’ on Hold

The goal of a lockout is to prevent workers from joining a union, to get people to agree with the employer’s position, or to negotiate terms that favour the employer more than the workers. To get a concession from his employees, an employer withholds labour from them.

A lockout may be used as a weapon by the employer in the same way that the employee can use a strike. The goal is to get the employees to comply with the employer’s demands and see things from his point of view.

Lock-out, as defined by the LAT in Mahomed Samusddin v. Sasamusa Sugar Works Ltd., is an employer’s refusal to let any number of his employees do their jobs without terminating them. The word “refusal to employ” only relates to a refusal or an intention not to pay since it would not be a lockout if the employer paid and did not give the employees any job to complete. It does not imply that the employer was unwilling to find jobs for the employees.

Furthermore, a lockout may only occur between parties with an employer-employee relationship. Since it would be impossible for the employer to maintain that the lockout had continued improperly and should be ended if the termination is legal and binding, the adjudicator must investigate the relevant facts in cases where the employer asserts a claim of terminating the employee’s employment. However, the following does not constitute a “Lock-out.”

1. A lockout does not occur when just one worker is restricted.

2. A lockout does not apply if your employment is eliminated due to retrenchment.

3. A lockout would not be caused by firing many employees at once.

4. The employer only declares a lockout if the employees have missed work.

Strikes and lockouts hurt the economy and the industry because they produce a loss of production due to work stoppage and the consequent damage to the national economy.


Lockout (Factory or Industry), What is human resource, (April 12, 2023) http://www.whatishumanresource.com/lockouts

Samatina Fernandes, STRIKE AND LOCK-OUT, G R Kare law Library, (April 12, 2023) http://www.grkarelawlibrary.yolasite.com/resources/LLMSY-Lab-1-Samatina.pdf

Sri Ramachandra Spinning Mills v. State of Madras (1957) 1 LLJ 90

Kairbetta Estate v. Rajamanickam (1960) 2 LLJ 275, 278

Mahomed Samusddin v. Sasamusa Sugar Works Ltd (1956) 1 LLJ 575, 578

Shakti Electromechanical Industries Pvt Ltd v. FN Lala, (1974) 2 LLJ 1

Aarti M, Strikes And Lockouts, CiteHR (April 12, 2023) https://www.citehr.com/41134-strikes-lockouts.html

Author Bio

Qualification: LL.B / Advocate
Company: N/A
Location: Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
Member Since: 23 Apr 2023 | Total Posts: 1

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