Q. Explain Lock-out. (Short Answer)
“Lock-out” means the temporary closing of a place of employment, or the suspension of work, or the refusal by an employer to continue to employ any number of persons employed by him. [Section 2(l)]
Lock out is an antithesis to strike. Just as “strike” is a weapon available to the employees for enforcing their industrial demands, a “lock out” is a weapon available to the employer to persuade by a coercive process the employees to see his point of view and to accept his demands (Express Newspapers (P) Ltd. v. Their Workers (1962) II L.L.J. 227 S.C.).
In lock out, the employer refuses to continue to employ the workman employed by him even though there is no intention to close down the unit. The essence of lock out is the refusal of the employer to continue to employ workman. Even if suspension of work is ordered, it would constitute lock out. But mere suspension of work, unless it is accompanied by an intention on the part of employer as a retaliation, will not amount to lock out.
Locking out workmen does not contemplate severance of the relationship of employer and the workmen. In the case Lord Krishna Sugar Mills Ltd. v. State of U.P., (1964) II LLJ 76 (All), a closure of a place of business for a short duration of 30 days in retaliation to certain acts of workmen (i.e. to teach them a lesson) was held to be a lock out. But closure is not a lock out.