The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court observed that to be appointed in any establishment as a worker, no written contract under the present law or the previous law was needed.
Once a person is engaged for any work, it is the duty of the employer to give him an appointment letter, prepare and maintain a service book, give him identity card, allow him leave and holidays, if leave is not enjoyed to pay wages in lieu of leave, to give service benefit on termination, retrenchment, discharge, retirement, death or even on dismissal, it also observed.
A seven-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the observation while delivering a verdict on a civil case.
The apex court delivered the short verdict on December 17 in 2020 and the full text of the verdict was released recently on the Supreme Court website.
According to the case statement, some drivers filed separate applications in a labour court against the Grameenphone, asking for a direction to treat them as permanent workers and provide them facilities of permanent workers.
But the Grameenphone contested the cases before the labour court by filing a written statement, denying the material allegations made in the petitions that there was no contractual relationship between Grameenphone and the drivers.
The drivers were engaged by Smart Services Limited (SSL)/Jamsons International (Jamsons) to render services for Grameenphone on outsourcing basis as employees of SSL/Jamsons and that SSL/Jamsons was being paid by Grameenphone for the service and that SSL/Jamsons paid the salaries and other benefits to the drivers for the services.
Therefore, the drivers had no locus standi to file the cases against Grameenphone in the labour court.
Upon hearing the parties, the first labour court on March 30 in 2011 allowed all the cases filed by the drivers. Being aggrieved, the Grameenphone Limited filed appeals before the labour appellate tribunal, which after hearing the parties by judgement dated September 12 in 2012 dismissed the appeals.
Then the Grameenphone moved the High Court by filing separate writ petitions and obtained a ruling. After hearing the parties, the High Court declared the ruling absolute. The drivers then filed appeal petitions with the Appellate Division against the High Court orders.
Upon holding hearing on the appeal petitions filed by the drivers the apex court said, "We find that Grameenphone is not the employer of the appellants."
The court said in its verdict that it was clear that the drivers were employed by Smart Services Ltd. and, thereafter, their service as drivers was provided to Grameenphone.
Hence, if anyone is liable to provide the appellants with any letter of appointment, or any other benefit under the Labour Act it is Smart Services Ltd./Jamsons International, said the court.
However, the court said, "We have seen the amount of the lump sums offered to the drivers who have chosen to accept the offer. We find that the sums offered are reasonable and based on rational calculation."
"In view of the settlement reached with many of the appellants, and the willingness of Grameen Phone to pay the due lump sums to the remaining appellants, we hereby direct Grameen Phone to pay to the remaining drivers-appellants their due lump sum payment," also read the verdict.