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. The ESMA, as it is commonly known, gives the police right to arrest without a warrant anybody violating the Act’s provisions.
It is said that the UP government has taken this decision in view of the Corona Virus crisis. The government as it is preparing for the vaccine distribution and it wants the process to go unhindered.
The Act 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 a 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. Toeing the Centre’s line, the Uttar Pradesh government had last month decided to put on hold dearness allowance (DA) increase for its 16 lakh employees. The DA increase was due from January 1, 2020. The state government also decided not to pay the DA instalments which will be due from July 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021, a government order issued here said.