Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent
Reacting to the report of the number of workers in the going down from 17.3 lakhs persons to 14.6 lakhs during 2012-13 to 2021-22, Shri C Srikumar, General Secretary, All India Defence Employees federation (AIDEF) and National Secretary, AITUC demanded immediate filling up of more than 11 lakh post lying vacant in the Central Government Departments and the 4 lakhs posts lying vacant in the Public Sector Undertakings. He said the AIDEF is already fighting for filling up of 2.9 lakh civilian posts lying vacant in the Defence Ministry 2022.
We are here below reproducing excerpts from an interview he recently gave on the subject.
He said that during the year 1994 the sanctioned strength of Central Government Employees was 41.76 lakhs which is today reduced to 30 Lakhs. More than 11 lakh posts al lying vacant in Central Government Ministries and Departments. In Railways 3.5 Lakhs, in Defence 2.90 Lakhs, in Postal Department 1 Lakh posts are lying vacant. It is not that the work has come down in these departments, rather work has been increased multi-fold. The deficiencies are being matched by out-sourcing, deployment of contract workers and casual and daily wage workers etc.
Under the Labour Laws Contract Workers can be deployed only for seasonal jobs and jobs pertaining for limited period. Contract and casual workers cannot be deployed on permanent and perennial jobs. The government themselves violate this. The contract workers are the victims since they are being exploited the maximum. Under the labour Laws, prescribed minimum wages depending upon the skill requirement of the Job has to be mandatorily paid to the contract workers. However, the contractors take away 20 to 25% of the wages of the contract employees and pay them the balance amount as their wages. The contractor conveniently escapes without payment of the EPF and the ESIC contribution and the contract workers remain helpless. When a contract worker dies in an accident while performing his job his family is not given any benefit including insurance coverage. Wherever they have organized trade Unions to some extend they are protected.
Trade unions in the Government Sector and Public Sector are fighting to fill up all the vacant posts by regularizing the services of those contract and casual workers who are working for years together. However, the present government is not taking any interest either to fill up the vacancies through direct appointment, compassionate appointment to the dependents of the deceased employees who died including in Covid-19 pandemic and accidents or through regularization of the contract and casual workers.
Many government departments are either closed or corporatized like BSNL and SPMCIL where recruitment is completely stopped.
What is the fate of 41 Ordnance Factories which are splintered into 7 Corporations? When the 41 Ordnance Factories were corporatized, during October 2021 there were 78 thousand employees. Today it is just 70,000 only. The government has decided no recruitment in the Ordnance Factories. Even compassionate appointment is stopped unilaterally in the Ordnance Factories and Army Workshops against which the AIDEF is relentlessly fighting.
It is now noted that some of the Ordnance Factory Corporations have started recruitment of Ex-Trained Trade Apprentices on 4 years contract basis. After 4 years what will happen to the future of these apprentices? Even in the name of skill development thousands of young boys and girls are recruited in the name of apprentices training. However, instead of giving them the world class training they are also utilized as contract workers. These are all very dangerous trends. These workers are having the danger of not being covered under any social security schemes, they are excluded from receiving coverage under Labour Laws because of their short tenure, short contribution period, low earnings etc. Is this the development and employment generation the government is propagating?
Recently 5 printing presses of Indian Railways are closed down. Permanent recruitment in the Armed Forces is stopped and the youngsters of the country who are willing to join the Armed forces are recruited for a four-year fixed term in the name of “Agni Veer”. Even at the level of Joint Secretaries in the Central Government persons are recruited for a fixed term from the private sector. The new four Labour Codes which the Trade Unions are opposing are famed in such a manner that these contract workers and casual workers will not get any protection. Another ill effect which reflects on skill developments is that the contract and casual workers are not subjected to any on-the-job training since no employer wants to invest money on them as they are not their permanent employees.
The most dangerous effect of casualization of jobs in the Government Departments and CPSUs is the social justice in the form of reservation in jobs guaranteed in the constitution for the up-liftmen of the OBCs, SCs and STs which will come to an end.
Government as an employer should behave as a good model employer to the private sectors and multi-National Companies of this country. Unfortunately, nowadays the government itself has become a bad model employer. Government, irrespective of the parties in power is expected to protect the constitutional values and behave like a good employer in the matter of providing employment and protecting the interest of employees. Then only it will have the moral authority to insist the same on the private sector and multinationals.
Government should immediately start recruitment action to fill up the more than 11 lakh post lying vacant in the Central Government Departments and the 4 lakhs posts lying vacant in the more than 380 Public Sector undertakings. The present Government had assured that every year 2 crore jobs will be provided for the unemployed youth of the country. This has been conveniently forgotten.