People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 15

April 11, 2010



Withdraw ESMA against Strike Forthwith: CPI(M)


THE Jammu & Kashmir state unit of the CPI(M) has expressed concern over the problems which have forced the state government employees to go on a strike. Through a statement issued from Srinagar on April 6, the CPI(M) has appealed to all political parties in the state to contribute their best to end the deadlock.

In the statement, CPI(M) state secretary Mohammad Yousuf Targami said negotiations and mutual consultation were the only way to break the deadlock involving the continued agitation of the state government  employees. All the political parties should contribute to the settlement of this issue while desisting from viewing the issues involved from a narrow political angle, he added.

''They should, in fact, come forward and help in finding a mutually acceptable solution,'' Tarigami said.

The CPI(M) leader also pointed out that the recent all-parties meeting had decided to approach the centre for a grant of special financial assistance so that the main demand of the employees --- of payment of pay commission arrears --- could be met.

Reacting to the invocation of the Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA) against the striking employees, Tarigami described the measure as highly unwarranted. He said the government should explore other possibilities and take the employees into confidence rather than adopting harsh measures which could only worsen the situation.

The CPI(M) leader also appealed to the employees� leadership to respond with a sense of responsibility and exclude hospitals, power and water supply from the strike.

''Employees have a genuine cause and their dissatisfaction has to be addressed,'' Tarigami stressed.

Through a separate statement issued from New Delhi on the same day, the secretariat of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) also condemned the invocation of ESMA by the Jammu & Kashmir government to crush the ongoing strike by the state government employees.

One will note that April 6 was the third day of strike by the state government employees who were demanding payment of arrears on account of implementation of the sixth pay commission pay scales. The government, the CITU said, is lawfully bound to make the payment. It also noted that the employees unions have long been pursuing this demand with the state government and launched several agitations short of strike during last one and a half years to sensitise the state government to release the legitimate dues of the employees. It was only when the state government failed to heed the employees� demand that they had to finally resort to strike action. Almost hundred per cent employees of various government departments and state undertakings joined the strike.

Thus while the state government itself is at fault as it failed to release the legitimate dues of the employees on time, it sought to bulldoze the democratic right of the employees by invoking the ESMA. This warranted condemnation, the CITU said.

Expressing solidarity with over 4.5 lakh striking J&K employees struggling for just demand, the CITU asked the state government to withdraw the ESMA forthwith and sort out the issue agitating the employees without further delay, in consultation with their unions and associations. (INN)