• Advice regarding minimum working hours

I run a factory in Nashik, Maharashtra. Total No. of employees are 94.
I mainly supply to State Electricity Boards. Due to pandemic and lockdown, do not have sufficient orders in hand. 
Currently have orders of 40% of the manufacturing capacity of the plant.

Normally, we run 2 shifts of 8 hours each, a total of 16 working hours a day.

Now, due to reduced orders, have been running 2 shifts of 6 hours each a day, and have been making payment of wages proportionately. The wages for 6 hours of duty are well above the minimum wages prescribed.

This arrangement was mutually decided and agreed upon by the management and the workers.

Have been following this pattern for the last 5 weeks.

Now, the workers have joined and brought a Trade/Labour Union to the company.

The Union is demanding for 8 hours shift.

We neither have the orders in hand nor the financial capacity to pay for 8-hour shifts. 

My questions are:

1. What actions can the Union take if I do not agree with their demands? Can they go on strike? Would such a strike be legally justifiable?

2. Is there any law which provides for minimum working hours in a day/week?

3. What legal options do I have in my hand?
Asked 5 months ago in Labour

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4 Answers

as per the factories act there is a limit of maximum 9 hours limit in a day of working. There is no specification regarding minimum working hours. therefore, its upto the employer to set minimum working hour not exceeding 9 hours in a day.

you can go through Factories act 1948 along with Minimum wages Act 1948.


Sanjeev Gupta
Advocate, East Delhi
98 Answers
1 Consultation

5.0 on 5.0

1. They are expected to go for strike to unreasonably put pressure on you though your action is perfect as per law.


2. You have already acted legally. Now it is in the hands of the Trade Union. You can negotiate with the leaders to settle the matter.

Krishna Kishore Ganguly
Advocate, Kolkata
25300 Answers
726 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

As per the Factories Act 1948, every adult (a person who has completed 18 years of age) cannot work for more than 48 hours a week and not more than 9 hours in a day. According to Section 51 of the Act, the spread over should not exceed 10–1/2 hours.

However an employer can consider certain factors especially with regards to the financial crisis and downfall  in the business and can decide the reduction in working hours like what you did due to current covid-19 crisis.

If the union is issuing any notice, you may refer the matter to an advocate to issue a reply denying their demands because such demands are not legally justified nor there is any provision in law supporting their demand.


T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
71936 Answers
1062 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1. The Trade Union is right.  The agreement can not override the Factories Act.

2. Factories Act , shop and establishment Act. 

3. Consult an advocate. 

Devajyoti Barman
Advocate, Kolkata
22295 Answers
340 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

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