New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the concept of unfair labour practice must be understood in the present economic situation and the old labour-management agreement should be reasonably interpreted keeping in mind the vast changes in economic and industrial scenario.

"It is also to be kept in mind that in the changed economic scenario, the concept of unfair labour practice is also required to be understood in the changed context.

On Wednesday, every state, which has to don the mantle of a welfare state, must keep in mind that twin objectives of industrial peace and economic justice and the courts and statutory bodies while deciding what unfair labour practice is must also be cognizant of the aforesaid twin objects," a bench of justices D K Jain and A K Ganguly said.

The bench made the remarks on a petition filed by Multi National Company Siemens Ltd challenging Mumbai High Court order which had held that it had resorted to unfair labour practices by asking the officer trainee to perform the work of workmen.

The bench set aside the High Court's order which had passed the order in favour of the labour union which contended the company's decision was in violation of 1982-agreement between it and management of the company.

"Even if we assume that the 1982 agreement still subsists, even then when a challenge is made of unfair labour practice on the basis of violation of a clause of the 1982 agreement on the basis of a complaint filed in 2007, the Labour Court and the High Court must consider the said agreement reasonably and harmoniously keeping in mind the vast changes in economic and industrial scenario and the new challenges which the appellant-company has to face in the matter of reorganizing work in order to keep pace with the changed work culture in the context of scientific and technological development," the bench said.

(Agencies)