UREU submits application in High court against ESMA

Thursday, 08 September 2022 | PNS | DEHRADUN

The Uttarakhand Roadways Employees Union (UREU) has submitted an application in the high court against the order of the transport department that invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) with immediate effect on September 5 to prohibit the strikes of employees till March 5. The officials stated that the Act was invoked by the department to prohibit the untimely strikes of the employees from several unions during the festive season as it severely affects hundreds of passengers on daily basis besides causing loss of crores to the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation (UTC). However, the secretary of UREU Ashok Chaudhary has called the imposition of ESMA as a strategic move of the department to suppress the voices of the employees against the irregularities in the corporation. He said that the union members have been raising their voices on several issues like regularisation of contractual drivers, equal pay for equal work and unnecessary recruitment of conductors and drivers from private agencies. “The union made the Roadways administration aware of the issues and asked them to take action on the matter as we were promised in the past. The officials concerned have given us written assurance on certain issues but still doing nothing on the matter. We told them about our plan to start our strike on September 1 and the officials asked us to defer the strike and assured us to take action on our issues soon. We deferred our strike as per the discussion for a few days but the officials used this time to strategise against us by invoking ESMA to prohibit us from going on strike for next six months,” said Chaudhary.  He said the invoking ESMA here is certainly a massive misuse of law by the department that shows how power can be used by the authorities to repress the rights of employees. Chaudhary said that the union has submitted an application in the high court against the order of ESMA and he is certain the court will provide them relief in the case as it did in a similar case four years ago. Meanwhile, the secretary of Roadways Karmchari Sanyukt Parishad  (RKSP), Dinesh Pant said that though the officials might have taken the route of invoking ESMA to avoid the strikes, it is also true that such random strikes four times a year affect the revenue generation of UTC that influence duties and salaries of several employees. He said, “The Roadways is already struggling financially.Unlike other commercial activities, Roadways cannot recover the loss of the revenue of the day when the buses do not operate because once the day passes, we cannot earn that money back. Many do not even get their salary for months. Such unions and the officials concerned must figure out the way to tackle the issues without jeopardising UTC and other employees.”

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