Strikes and Lockouts Meaning | Difference between Strike and Lockout

strike and lockout in labour law are the actions taken by the employees and employers respectively to fulfil their demands. The strike is the remedy for employees while the lockout is the remedy is for the employer of the company or industry. In the struggle between the employers and employees, lockout and strikes work as weapons. Strike makes an effect on the production in the industry whereas the lockout makes an effect on the salary of the employees. Law gives the room for strike and lockout to place in the industry. But both must be peaceful and must fulfil the conditions of the Industrial dispute act, 1947. Here, we will discuss what is strike or lockout, strike and lockout under the industrial dispute act, the definition of strike and lockout, illegal strike and lockout and lockout and strike difference.

Definition of Strike/ Strike Meaning

Section 2(Q) of the industrial dispute act, 1947 defines the Strike that ‘Strike is a temporary cessation of the work by the group of the employees of the industry with the same intention to stop the work.

The strike means the refusal of work that is decided by the association of a group of employees or workers. It is done by the workers to get their necessary demands fulfilled by the employer of the company or industry. The strike includes:

  • Willingfull suspension of work.
  • It is a temporary withdrawal of the workers from the work.
  • The workers can do the strike outside or inside of the workplace.
  • the common understanding for the suspension of work should be present for the strike.
  • it can be continued for any number of days.
  • The workers start working when the demands are fulfilled.

The strike can make a loss to the industry as the workers will not do any kind of work. The production or growth of the industry can take the loss.

Essentials of strike

There are many essentials of strike given under the act which are:

  1. Cessation of work
  2. Cessation of work in combination by a group of employed persons in the industry
  3. The persons should be employed in the industry.
  4. The refusal of work must be the refusal of common understanding by such persons.

Cessation of work

Cessation of the work in the industry is the essential element for the strike. Cessation of work means the work of the industry has been stopped. Even the period for the stoppage is only half-hour still it will fall in the definition of a strike if the other requirements of the definition are fulfilled.

Cessation of work in combination by a group of employed persons in the industry

The stoppage of work must be with the common intention of the employees and that too in defiance of the authority of employers.

Buckingham and Carnatic Co. Ltd Vs. their workmen

The Supreme Court held that if the employees do not stay away from work in pursuance of common intention, it will be not recognized as Strike.

The right to strike is not a fundamental right

In the case of All India Bank Employees Association VS National industrial tribunalit was held by the Court that the right to go on strike is not included in the ambit of freedom of speech and expression which is given under article 19 (1)(A) of the Constitution of India.

T.K. Rangarajan VS Government of Tamil Nadu

The SC delivers the strict decision that the Government employees have no legal, fundamental, or equitable right to go on strike even for the just cause.

Types of strike

There are various types of strikes. All the strikes are differing in their mode of action but all the strikes aim to enforce their demands from the employer.

Types of strike

General strike           

The general strike is also known as a legal strike. In the general strike, the workmen give prior notice to the employer with their demands that they wanted to enforce. If the management of the industry fails to fulfil the demand within the given time in the notice, the workers launch the strike after the expiry of the notice.

Sit down strike

In the sit-down strike, all the employees come on time in the industry normally, take their position in the area which they regularly work, they simply sit there without doing any kind of work. The object of this strike is to cripple the production of the industry.

Pen down Strike

The pen down and sit down strikes are almost the same. The pen-down strike takes place among people with white-collar jobs or the employees who work in the offices. The employees do not touch the pen/tool they use to do their work.

Punjab National Bank Ltd Vs Their Workmen on 24 September 1959

It was held in the court that a pen down stoppage of the work was a strike within section 2(q) of the industrial dispute act, 1947.

Go slow strike

In this strike the workmen come to the industry daily, they do the work also, but the speed of the work will as much slow that they are doing nothing productive. The production of the industry will become almost zero even after the working of the workmen.

Sick out strike   

It is not a strike, it is just to show the employer that what it would be like if the worker went on strike. In this, all workmen take the sick leave on the same day. They have not broken any rules because they just use the leave that was allotted to them.

Economic Strike

When the strike is happening due to economic issues like salary, bonus, working hours and conditions etc, it is called an Economic strike.

Sympathy Strike

When more unions of employees join the strike initiated by another union for support that union is called Sympathy Strike.

Wildcat strike

The type of Wildcat strike happens when workers go on strike without the consent of the union, made for them.

Hunger strike

Hunger strikes occur when the workers go on the strike without taking food/water. It is a very painful type of strike. There is a case when the Kingfisher airline’s employees went on hunger strike for the salary dues for several months.

Common Reasons for Strike

Here is the list of common reasons on which the strike occurs

  • Working hours of Industry
  • work conditions
  • Employment salary, bonus or increments etc
  • Layoff and retrenchment
  • Timely payment of work
  • Minimum wages issues
  • Holidays
  • PF/ ESI et

Lockouts Definition or what is a lockout?

Section 2(1) of the Industrial Dispute Act 1947 defines Lock- Out

Lock-out means temporary closing of the industry, or suspension of work, or the refusal of the work by the employer of the industry to continue employment to any number of workmen employed within the industry.

How to Resolve an Insolvent Company in India?

Essentials of Lock-out

There are two essentials of the Lock-out

1) Closing of the industry

2) Suspension of work

3) Refusal by the employer to continue to employ any number of workmen employed in the industry

Coercion and retaliation are the main elements of the Lock-out that must be used by the employer. The mere suspension of the work without accompanied by an intention to retaliate will not amount to Lock-out.

If the employer of the industry shut down the work because the raw material, or the fuel or any necessary material is not present, it will not amount to Lock-out.

Common Reasons for Lockout

Here is the list of common reasons on which the Lockout occurs

  • In response to a strike initiated by employees
  • disputes between workers and managers
  • Changes in the government rules
  • Illegal activity is undertaken in the company

Prohibition of strike and lockout

The stopping or cessation of work whether by the workmen or by the employer of the industry is harmful to the production and economy of the society. For this, the industrial dispute act is providing some prohibition of strikes and lockout.

Prohibition of strikes

The strike is not allowed by the persons employed in public utility services:

  1.  Without giving the 6 weeks prior notice to the employer before striking,
  2. Within 14 days of giving such notice,
  3. Before the expiry date of the strike which was given in the notice,
  4. During the pendency of any proceedings under conciliation,
  5. Before the seven days of the decision of the conciliation officer.

Prohibition of lock-out

The lock-out shall not allow the employer to carry on any public utility service:

  1. Without giving the 6 weeks prior notice to the employees before lock-out,
  2. Within 14 days of giving such notice,
  3. Before the expiry date of a lock-out which was given in the notice,
  4. During the pendency of any proceedings under conciliation,
  5. Before the seven days of the decision of the conciliation officer.

Illegal strikes and lock-out

Section 24 of the act defines the illegal strikes and lockouts that a strike and lock-out is illegal if it is:

  • Declared without the prior notice of 6 weeks,
  • Declared during the pendency of conciliation proceeding,
  • If it is continuingly contravention the boundaries of strikes and lockouts

Conditions where the strike and Lock-out is not deemed to be illegal

  • The strike or lock-out which is already commenced before the reference of the dispute
  • A lock-out declared by the employer in the consequences of an illegal strike
  • Strike declared by employees in the consequences of an illegal lock-out

Download- Strikes and Lockouts meaning pdf 

Penalties for illegal strike and lock-out

There are various penalties that have been given in the act for illegal strikes and illegal lock-outs

Penalty for commencing

a)  Imprisonment for one month,

b) Fine up to fifty rupees,

c) Both

Penalty for instigation

a) Imprisonment for 6 months,

b) Fine up to one thousand rupees,

c) Both.

Penalty for giving financial aid

a) Imprisonment for 6 months,

b) Fine up to one thousand rupees,

c) Both

Justified and unjustified strikes

A strike where the strike is legal and the motive or reason behind the strike is realistic, the strike is justified.

Where the strike is commenced by the employees to intimidate the employer is an unjustified strike.

What is the difference between strike and lockout?

Difference between strikes and lockouts

We have discussed the meaning of strikes and lockout. now, we will talk about the Difference between lockout and strike. Let’s discuss the strike and lockout difference:

1 It is the weapon of employees against employers to bend the employer in their side. It is the weapon of the employer against employees to restrict the militant’s spirits of the workers of industry.
2 Cessation of work by employees in the industry to show grievance or to compel the employer to fulfil their demands. Cessation of work by the employer to accept the terms and conditions decided by the management.
3 The Strike involves the united withdrawal of the supply of labour at work. Lockout Involves the withholding of demand of labour.
4 The reasons are often economic. Reasons can be economic or non-economic
5 The strike is of various types. The lock-out does not have varieties.
6 The strike is conducted to gain a concession from the employer. Lock-out is used to enforce the terms of employment during the dispute.
7 It is a full cessation of work by employees until the fulfilment of their demands. It is a temporal shutdown by the employer, refusal of employment.
8 The strike is a union power as it is sported by the labour or union. The Lockout is the employer power to compel the workers to do the work according to their guidelines.


So, we came to the conclusion that the strike and lockouts can be used as weapons or as a remedy to settle the disputes arising between employees and employers. These are used when they both failed to solve their disputes with peaceful negotiation. Lockout is usually announced when the workman continues to remain on the strike.

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