CPI Press Release
July 09, 2021
For Favour of Publication
Communist Party of India General Secretary D. RAJA has written a letter to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today urging him to withdraw the draconian Essential Defence Services Ordinance 2021.
We are releasing the full text of the letter for publication.
July 9, 2021
Shri Narendra Modi,
Hon’ble Prime Minister,
Government of India,
South Block, New Delhi.
Sub: Request to withdraw the draconian Essential Defence Services Ordinance 2021 and to direct the Defence Ministry to hold negotiations with Defence Employees Federations.
Respected Prime Minister,
I am very much shocked to know that the Honourable President of India have promulgated a draconian Defence Services Ordinance 2021, completely banning strike in the Defence Industrial Establishments, thereby snatching away the constitutional, democratic and legal rights available the Defence Civilian workers working in the Defence establishments including the 41 Ordnance Factories. The EDSO 2021 provides for dismissal of the employees without even an inquiry which is against the constitutional protection given to a Central Government employee. The Ordinance also provides for imprisonment of any Union leader calling for a strike and any employee participating in the strike. You will appreciate that employees and their Trade Unions resort to strike action as a last weapon if all other means of protest / representation on genuine grievances are ignored by the employer. In the present case the Ministry of Defence / Government of India is the employer and the employees of 41 Ordnance Factories are protesting against the Government decision to splinter the Ordnance Factories into 7 Corporations. Their complaint is that this decision is taken in a hasty manner by ignoring all the previous agreements and assurances and also by abruptly closing the conciliation proceedings by the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central). Even the alternative proposals given by the Federations for further improving the Ordnance Factories in the Government itself is also ignored by the senior officials in the DDP. I doubt whether the above mentioned facts were brought to your notice before the Cabinet took the decision to splinter the Ordnance Factories into 7 corporations and promulgating the EDSO-2021.
The Employees have got genuine grievances about the existence of these 7 corporations, since Govt. have already declared that PSUs will be privatised and in the strategic sector only four PSUs will exist. The Government has already assured the Federations in writing that none of the Ordnance Factories would be closed. Whether the Government still stands on this assurances, the Defence Minister has publicly announced that all the service conditions of the employees of Ordnance Factories would be protected. However, no official statement about the existence of Ordnance Factories, whether all the 76,000 employees will continue to be Central Government employees / Defence Civilian employees with all facilities and privileges available to them have been issued by the Government. Therefore, the employees and the Trade Unions are fully justified in calling for a strike, since they feel they have been ignored and that their future is in the dark. It is the responsibility of the Government as a model employer to call the Federations and enter into a negotiated mutually agreed agreement instead of crushing the democratic rights of the employees.
I therefore appeal to you that you may personally intervene in the matter and arrange to issue instructions to the Ministry of Defence to resolve the dispute raised by the employees by extending goodwill towards the highly committed and devoted workforce. For this purpose, at the outset the EDSO-2021 may be withdrawn and negotiations should start with the Federations. I am waiting for a favourable response from your office in this regard.