UP Govt Invokes ESMA, Bans Strikes for Six Months in all Govt. Depts

Under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), the police have the right to arrest without a warrant anybody violating the Act's provisions.

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File Photo: Yogi Adityanath

The Uttar Pradesh government has invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) banning strikes in all departments and corporations under it for a period of six months.

UP government has suspended payment of at least seven allowances to its government employees amid the coronavirus-triggered economic slowdown.

On April 25, the government had announced the freezing of DA for around 16 lakh government employees and 12 lakh pensioners till July 1, 2021. It had simultaneously announced that six other allowances would be frozen for a year.

Saying that it is “necessary and expedient in the public interest” to do so, the order prohibits strike in “any public service in connection with the affairs of the state of Uttar Pradesh, any service under a corporation owned or controlled by the state of UP and any service under local authority”.

The move comes in the wake of a strike call given by certain government organisations from February 6 demanding implementation of the old pension scheme.

Under ESMA, employees in a long list of ‘essential services’ like post and telegraph, railway, airport, and port operations are prohibited from going on strike.

The ESMA gives the police right to arrest without a warrant anybody violating the Act’s provisions.

It has been invoked after taking permission from Governor Anandiben Patel and a notification in this regard has been issued by Mukul Singhal, Additional Chief Secretary, a senior official said on Friday.

“The Governor is pleased to prohibit, for a period of six months from the date of publication of this notification in the Gazette, strikes in any public service in connection with the affairs of the state of Uttar Pradesh and any service under a corporation owned or controlled by state Government and any service under local authority”, it said.

Under ESMA, employees in a long list of “essential services” like post and telegraph, railway, airport, and port operations are prohibited from going on strike.

The Act mandates imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both, to any person who instigates a strike which is illegal under this Act.

The government has already invoked ESMA in every service of the state universities established under the Uttar Pradesh State Universities Act, 1973, including constituent colleges, associated colleges, and affiliated colleges.

Read More: More States suspend labour rights risking the lives of many daily wage labourers

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