- ESMA is a draconian move and will be opposed tooth and nail, says C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF
After more than 3 decades, the Government of India has taken the outdated ESMA by rechristening the same as Essential Defence Services Ordinance 2021 to handle the proposed Indefinite Strike of the Defence Civilian employees of Ordnance Factories with iron hand. Strike is generally called as last weapon in the hands of the working class. The Defence civilian employees under the banner of their Federations has taken this weapon in their hands since all the efforts taken by them to save the Ordnance Factories from corporatisation and privatisation has failed. According to them the Government has not bothered about the innumerable number of representations submitted by them right from the Prime Minister to Defence Secretary. Even the Government completely ignored the alternative proposals given by the Federations to strengthen the Ordnance Factories in the Government setup itself. In accordance with ID Act 1947, once the conciliation proceedings failed, the matter should be referred for adjudication for settling the dispute. The Government has so far not done that. In this situation, the 5 Federations of the employees have decided to commence their already deferred Indefinite Strike from 26th of July 2021. The Government instead of calling the Federations to understand their problems, apprehensions about the future of Ordnance Factories and its 76,000 strong employees has now promulgated the Essential Defence Services Ordinance, 2021. This Ordinance has come into immediate effect and is applicable to all Defence Industry which manufactures goods for Defence, which render any service to the Armed Forces and which maintain Defence equipments.
This Ordinance fully empowers the Government to dismiss an employee who participates in the strike without even holding an inquiry, it empowers the police to arrest any person who commences strike, instigate others to take part in the strike, support the strike etc., and are punishable upto imprisonment of 2 years and fine upto Rs.15,000 or with both.
www.indianpsu.com approached C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF for his reaction on this unprecedented development. His immediate reaction was “we fail to understand the sudden urgency of the Government to promulgate this draconian Ordinance. The Government of India should better give more attention to the Armed drones attacking our Armed Forces than the innocent peace loving, devoted and committed work force of the 41 Ordnance Factories. The Government wanted to divert the attention of the people of the country from the injustice they have done to the employees of Ordnance Factories. The Government has ignored the previous assurances and agreements, the Government has not bothered to consider the alternative proposals given by the Federations to continue the Ordnance Factories in the Government setup. The Government is not prepared for a negotiated settlement. The Government is not prepared to refer the dispute on Corporatisation and service protection of the Defence civilian employees for adjudication or arbitration. The Government’s anti-labour and anti-ordnance factory attitude will be completely exposed before the nation if the employees commence the indefinite strike. The Government is scared of the patriotic workforce of Ordnance Factories. Since they are fighting a justified battle not only to save their service condition but also to save the strategic Ordnance Factories from its liquidation and their struggle will continue without any fear. The 5 Federations which have decided to go for an indefinite strike from 26th July, 2021 are meeting at 4pm today. He expressed confidence that a joint decision will be taken to fightback without succumbing to the threatening and draconian EDSO.