EDSO-2021 Against 4 Lakh Defence Civilian Employees Becomes An International Issue

CITU lodges complaint with the International Labour Organization (ILO) on behalf of 4 Lakh Defence Civilian Employees

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), on 24-7-2021, has lodged a complaint with the International Labour Organization (ILO) against the Government of India decision, to pass a Bill in the Parliament, to convert the draconian Essential Defence Services Ordinance (EDSO) into an Act of the Parliament. When the bill was introduced in the Parliament, many opposition MP’s opposed the move of the Government and stated it is draconian in nature and also violation of the democratic and legal rights of the Defence employees to protest.

The MP’s also stated that the Bill is against Article 19 of the Indian Constitution and hence it should be withdrawn from the House. However, the opposition was outnumbered and with majority voting, the Bill was introduced by the Government in the Lok Sabha. The Federations of the Defence civilian employees are relentlessly fighting against the EDSO-2021 and the entire Trade Unions of the country are extending support to the movement started by the Defence civilian employees.

In the meantime, one of the major Central Trade Union, CITU on 24-7-2021, has lodged a complaint with the Director General of ILO, against the Ordinance / Bill banning Industrial actions by civilian workers of Defence units. CITU, in its compliant, expressed their concerns and disastrous consequences posed before the workers and flagrant violation of ILO’s fundamental rights provisions, described in ILO conventions including the Core Conventions, resolutions and policies declared on freedom of associations. The CITU has also expressed its apprehension that the Government shall in every opportunity, extend this bill in many other sectors to gradually curb the fundamental rights of the workers and making Industrial actions illegal and severely punishable. The Bill is also designed to be applicable to port sector also.

Concluding it’s complaint, CITU has further stated that ‘the Bill is aimed not only to prohibit any industrial action by the employees and unions in Defence sector, but also would destroy the trade unions in defence sector. The Ordinance has violated constitution of India, several Conventions and recommendations of ILO, in addition contravened decisions of the Freedom of Association Committee of the Governing Body of the ILO. We, therefore, request ILO to intervene and to be considered by the ILO Labour Standard Committeeand accordingly to recommend to the Government of India to withdraw the Bill’.

It is now understood that many more Trade Unions are going to file complaint to the ILO, requesting for its intervention in stalling the EDSO-2021. The struggle of the Defence civilian employees has now become an International issue. Already, the World Federation of Trade Unions with its Headquarters at Athens in Greece, has already issued a statement supporting the struggle of the Defence civilian employees.

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