Casualization Of Permanent Jobs In Government And Public Sector Is A Dangerous Trend : C. Srikumar, National Secretary, AITUC

It takes away the social justice guaranteed in the constitution, says the veteran Trade Union Leader


The recently published Public Enterprises Survey Reports for the period from 2012-13 to 2021-22 reveals that in the Central Public Sector Enterprises, Government Corporations and Government subsidiaries which were providing jobs for 17.3 lakhs persons has been reduced to 14.6 lakhs during March 2022.

The survey which was conducted in 389 CPSUs of which 284 are still in operation. There is a significant down fall of jobs by over 2.7 lakh. Out of the total workforce 17% are on contract basis and 2.5% on casual and daily wage basis. The contract workers strength is increased to 36% in 2022 while the strength of casual / daily wage workers has increased to 6.6% which means 42.5% of the workforce in CPSUs and Corporations are either contract or casual and daily waged workers in 2022.

The survey reveals that in 7 CPSUs, the permanent employee’s strength has been considerably reduced. The employees strength of the major CPSU – BSNL which was, 2, 55, 840 in 2013 has been reduced to 1, 81, 127, SAIL from 1,86,207 to 1,24,279. MTNL from 39,283 to 4,286, FCI from 80,1672 to 52,104, ONGC from 49,366 to 28,246 during March 2022. In toto the workforce strength in the CPSUs is reduced by 2.7 lakh in the last 10 years. This is very alarming in a country like India where unemployment is in its peak.

C. Srikumar, National Secretary of AITUC and who is already fighting on behalf of AIDEF for filling up of 2.9 lakh civilian posts lying vacant in the Defence Ministry alone, is critical about the job opportunities going down in Government Departments and Public Sector Undertakings including Public Sector Banks and Insurance Sector. He said that during the year 1994 the sanctioned strength of Central Government Employees was 41.76 lakhs which is today reduced to 30 Lakhs. More than 11 lakh posts al lying vacant in Central Government Ministries and Departments. In Railways 3.5 Lakhs, in Defence 2.90 Lakhs, in Postal Department 1 Lakh posts are lying vacant. It is not that the work has come down in these departments, rather work has been increased multifold. The deficiencies are being matched by out sourcing, deployment of contract workers and casual and daily wage workers etc. Under the Labour Laws Contract Workers can be deployed only for seasonal jobs and jobs pertaining for limited period. Contract and casual workers cannot be deployed on permanent and perennial jobs. The government themselves violate this. The contract workers are the victims since they are being exploited the maximum. Under the labour Laws, prescribed minimum wages depending upon the skill requirement of the Job has to be mandatorily paid to the contract workers. However the contractors takes away 20 to 25% of the wages of the contract employees and pay them the balance amount as their wages. The contractor conveniently escapes without payment of the EPF and the ESIC contribution and the contract workers remain helpless. When a contract worker dies in an accident while performing his job his family is not given any benefit including insurance coverage. Wherever they have organized trade Unions to some extend they are protected.

Trade unions in the Government Sector and Public Sector are fighting to fill up all the vacant posts by regularizing the services of those contract and casual workers who are working for years together. However the present government is not taking any interest either to fill up the vacancies through direct appointment, compassionate appointment to the dependents of the deceased employees
who died including in Covid-19 pandemic and accidents or through regularization of the contract and casual workers. Many government departments are either closed or corporatized like BSNL and SPMCIL where recruitment is completely stopped. What is the fate of 41 Ordnance Factories which are splintered in to 7 Corporations When the 41 Ordnance Factories were corporatized, during October 2021 there were 78 thousand employees. Today it is just 70,000 only. Government has decided no recruitment in the Ordnance Factories. Even Compassionate appointment is stopped unilaterally in the Ordnance Factories and Army Workshops against which the AIDEF is relentlessly fighting. It is now noted that some of the Ordnance Factory Corporations have started recruitment of Ex-Trained Trade Apprentices on 4 years contract basis. After 4 years what will happened to the future of these Apprentices. Even in the name of skill development thousands of young boys and girls are recruited in the name of Apprentices Training, however instead of giving them the world class training they are also utilized as contract workers. These are all a very dangerous trend. These workers are having the danger of not covered under any social security schemes, they are excluded from receiving coverage under Labour Laws because of their short tenure, short contribution period, low earnings etc. Is this the development and employment generation the government is propagating, said C. Srikumar.

Recently 5 Printing Presses of Indian Railways are closed down. Permanent recruitment in the Armed Forces is stopped and the youngsters of the country who are willing to join the Armed forces are recruited for a four year fixed term in the name of “Agni Veer”. Even at the level of Joint Secretaries in the Central Government persons are recruited for a fixed term from the private sector. The new four Labour Codes which the Trade Unions are opposing are famed in such a manner that these contract workers and casual workers will not get any protection. Another ill effect which reflects on skill developments is that the contract and casual workers are not subjected to any on the job training since no employer wants to invest money on them as they are not their permanent employees, added C. Srikumar.

The most dangerous effect of casualization of jobs in the Government Departments and CPSUs is the social justice in the form of reservation in jobs guaranteed in the constitution for the up liftmen of the OBCs, SCs and STs will come to an end. Government as an employer should behave as a good model employer to the private sectors and multi-National Companies of this country. Unfortunately,
now a days the government itself has becoming a bad model employer. Government, irrespective of the parties in power is expected to protect the constitutional values and behave like a good employer in the matter of providing employment and protecting the interest of employees. Then only it will have the moral authority to insist the same on the private sector and multinationals. Government should immediately start recruitment action to fill up the more than 11 lakh post lying vacant in the Central Government Departments and the 4 lakhs posts lying vacant in the more than 380 Public Sector undertakings. The present Government has assured that every year 2 crore jobs will be provided for the unemployed youth of the country. This is conveniently forgotten concluded C. Srikumar.

Views expressed here are those of C. Srikumar, National Secretary, AITUC and General Secretary of AIDEF, who is a veteran Trade Union leader of the country

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