Protests gather momentum against EDSO

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on July 02, 2021

Binay Kumar Sinha

BMS writes to the Prime Minister

The Centre drew flak over Essential Defence Services Ordinance (EDSO) from trade unions, including the BMS. The BMS sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to review the decision to promulgate an Ordinance that takes away the rights of workers. Ten Central trade unions, in a statement, said EDSO is the most draconian law which India witnessed post independence and asked the Centre to immediately withdraw it.

BMS general secretary Binay Kumar Sinha said in his letter to PM Modi that the ordinance imposes severe restrictions on the genuine democratic rights of workmen and trade unions to protest. He said the corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is a thorny issue and said BMS had asked the Centre to enter into talks with the trade union federations to sort out the issue amicably.

“However, in total disregard to the best democratic norms, perhaps a section of bureaucrats resorted to the short cut of curtailing the rights of the workmen by promulgation of the said ordinance. In view of the above, the Prime Minister is requested to review the matter and arrange to issue necessary directives so as to ensure that the genuine democratic rights of the workmen to protest are restored,” Sinha said in the letter.

What Federations say

Meanwhile, a joint meeting of the five Federations of the Defence Civilian Employees (AIDEF, INDWF, BPMS, NPDEF & AIBDEF) and other organisations in the sector condemned the Ordinance. A resolution adopted at the meeting said the workers in OFB 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 faced after independence including the Kargil war.

“Even in 2019, when the government 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in the midst of one month strike, the federations, after considering the tense situation in the China border, have withdrawn the strike after five days.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 sanitisers required for the front line warriors,” the resolution said.

Maintaining that there is no change in the scheduled indefinite strike from July 26, the unions appealed patriotic citizens, trade unions, political parties, social service organisations to join hands with the Defence civilian employees in their struggle to save the “most strategic Defence Industries from closure and sale.”

Published on July 02, 2021

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