Many Trade Unions and Political Parties have condemned the Essential Defence Services Ordinance 2021, promulgated by the President of India banning strikes in the Defence establishments and making it punishable upto 2 years of imprisonment. The Defence civilian employees who are basically Central Government Employees have got the constitutional protection of giving opportunity to hear them before dismissing them from service. However, the EDSO 2021 takes away that right and any employee can dismissed without an inquiry. Strikers can be arrested and jailed. Many organisations have termed it draconian and brutal, which takes away the constitutional, democratic and legal rights of the Defence civilian employees. The 5 federations which have given the strike call, met on 1-7-2021 and have unanimously resolved to condemn and fightback against the draconian Ordinance. They have also decided to take legal action and also to observe 8-7-2021 as All India Black Day, demanding withdrawal of EDSO-2021 and Corporatization of Ordnance Factories. The text of the resolution passed by AIDEF, INDWF, BPMS, NPDEF & AIBDEF is given below for the benefit of viewers of www.indianpsu.com –
RESOLUTION ADOPTED IN THE JOINT MEETING OF THE 5 FEDERATIONS OF THE DEFENCE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES (AIDEF, INDWF, BPMS, NPDEF & AIBDEF) CONDEMNING THE DRACONIAN ESSENTIAL DEFENCE SERVICES ORDINANCE 2021 AND DEMANDING TO WITHDRAW THE SAME!
In a Joint Meeting of the 5 Federations of the Defence Civilian Employees (AIDEF, INDWF, BPMS, NPDEF & AIBDEF) held on 1-7-2021 through video conference, has unanimously resolved to condemn the most draconian Essential Defence Services Ordinance 2021, promulgated by the Government of India. It is most unfortunate to note the manner in which the Government of India is treating its committed and devoted workforce by snatching away the legal right of the Defence workers under the provisions of Trade Union Act 1926 and Industrial Dispute Act 1947. The right to strike is organically linked with the right to collective bargaining and it is an inalienable part of protest by the working people, wherever the employer employee relationship exists. The right to strike is integral of collective bargaining and this right is a legal process recognised by Industrial jurisprudence and supported by social justice. Right to strike has also been recognised by various conventions of international labour organisation.
The draconian Ordinance has hurt the feelings of the Defence Civilian Employees since they have not resorted to any strike when the country was in need. Rather they have worked day and night without even going to their home for weeks together to fully equip the Armed Forces in all the wars the country has faced after independence including the Kargil war. Even in 2019 when the govt. took the arbitrary decision to Corporatise the Ordnance Factories, in the midst of one month strike, the Federations after considering the tense situation in the China Border has withdrawn the strike after 5 days. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and curfew period, it is the employees of the Ordnance Factories who worked day and night risking their life for producing PPEs and sanitizers required for the front line warriors. The workforce of the Ordnance Factories who always channelize their entire resources to equip the Armed Forces with most modern weapons, equipments and troop comfort items doesn’t deserve such a treatment from the Govt.
The Federations of the Defence civilian employees has decided to exercise this last tool of protest in an unavoidable situation since, the Government of India has arbitrarily taken the decision to splinter the 41 Ordnance Factories into 7 non viable corporations which is going to result in its closure in the coming days since Government has decided not to provide workload to these Ordnance Factories on the basis of nomination. The decision taken by the Government is In clear violation of the past written agreements and assurances given by the Ministry of Defence that Ordnance Factories would not be corporatized. The Government has also ignored the various alternative and robust proposals given by the Federations to continue the Ordnance Factories in the present Government itself. The arbitrary and biased decision of the Government takes away the rights and status of the Defence civilian employees who were recruited as Central Government Employees / Defence Civilian Employees under Article 309 of the Constitution of India and being paid from the consolidated fund of India. The Government failed to neither enter into a negotiated settlement with the Federations nor to refer the Dispute for adjudication under the ID Act 1947 inspite of the failure report submitted by the CLC a fortnight before.
The joint meeting of the 5 federations condemn the various draconian provisions given in the Ordinance such as dismissal of the employees without holding any inquiry, to arrest the employees who called for the strike, participate in the strike and to punish with imprisonment upto 2 years. Fearing these draconian provisions, the 76,000 employees will not surrender their demand to withdraw the Government decision of corporatisation and also to maintain the status of the employees as Central Government Employees / Defence Civilian Employees who were recruited under Article309 of the Indian Constitution and the right to receive salary and all benefits from the consolidated fund of India. The democratic and legal protest against the state authority misusing the state power against its own employees will continue. The draconian steps taken by the Government to suppress and crush the democratic rights of the Defence Civilian Employees is retrograde, undemocratic, anti-worker and is totally unacceptable to the Trade Unions and the entire workforce of the Defence Industry.
The joint meeting of the 5 Federations urges upon the Government of India to withdraw the draconian and colonial EDSO and instead of threatening and crushing its own employees should come forward to start immediate negotiations with the recognised Federations so as to ensure that the 220 years old pioneer Defence Industry viz Ordnance Factories and its employees are protected and saved.
The joint meeting of the 5 Federations calls upon the Defence Civilian employees to remain united and fight back against all these retrograde actions of the Government. The joint meeting also appeals to all the patriotic citizens of the country, all the Trade Unions, political parties, social service organisations to join hands with the Defence civilian employees in their struggle to save the most strategic prganisation from closure and sale and also in their struggle to save and protect the democratic and legal right of strike. It is proven time and again that genuine grievances of the working class cannot be strangulated through draconian laws and policeraj.