The Labor Authorities must wake up against unfair labor practices by The Samaja Occupiers

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Servants of the People Society (SoPS), which is suspected to have occupied The Samaja by forging a Will of its founder Pt. Gopabandhu Das, has some life members that are spotted for moral turpitude and funds embezzlement. To preempt legal action, these tainted members have tampered with records of the society and occupied its office, brandishing an election that was never held. The known and legitimate authority of SoPS – K.C.Tripathi – has challenged this false election in appropriate legal forums in Orissa, which is pending.

The occupiers of office have not yet established their legitimacy as office bearers of SoPS. But these fellows have resorted to various unfair labor practices to intimidate the employees and have apparently influenced material officers of the labor department, as a result of which, the employees’ complaint against such illegality is not being attended to by the concerned officers in right earnest.

Samaj OfficeThe multi-editional Samaja has around 400 journalist and non-journalist employees. But, it has no legitimate Standing Orders as required under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946. The Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association, the only and duly recognized Trade Union of employees of the Samaja has attracted the attention of the Labor Commissioner (LC) repeatedly to this malady. The LC has been sleeping over the issue.

To impress their legitimacy upon the Court, the occupiers of SoPS are forcing the Samaja employees to carry out their orders, howsoever wrong, whimsical and capricious that be.

As for example, Dr. Satya Ray, executive editor, has been arbitrarily transferred to Sambalpur, even though his retirement on superannuation is knocking at the doors. But, while continuing at Sambalpur, he is dragged back to Cuttack to undertake a judicial lobby for the illegal occupiers of The Samaja using his personal relationship with a senior Judge.

According to confidential sources, he is assured of editorship of the paper if he succeeds in this secret mission.

Another Executive Editor Dr. Pramod Mohapatra, to his shock and everybody’s astonishment, has been subjected to humiliation by being drafted to sell books in the book fares.

They have even transferred the President of the Association, Sub-Editor Devi Prasanna Nayak to Kolkata by a back-dated letter, suggesting that his services were essentially required there; but have put him under suspension immediately thereafter on cooked up grounds.

One Bhimasen Jadav, suspended from SoPS for his illegalities, proclaiming himself as the chairman of the Samaja Board of Management wanted all employees to meet him in the evening of July 2, 2012. Sri Nayak being the President of the Trade Union of the employees had wanted to know if the known office bearers of the SoPS have handed over charges to him and his group and if he and his group have taken over the charges. This query irritated Sri Jadav and his group. As it was earlier known to everybody that Sri Jadav was suspended and removed, the employees thought it prudent to wait for any instruction from the known authority of SoPS, Vice-President Sri K.C.Tripathi, who, to everybody’s knowledge was functioning as Officiating President on being delegated with the functions.

Sri Tripathi in his Order dated 3 July 2012 addressed to all the employees, made it clear that, “No such Board of Management is in existence for Samaja”. And in the same order, Sri Tripathi called all employees to a meeting at 3 PM the same day in Gopabandhu Bhawan and advised all employees to remain present. Accordingly all employees had gone to the meeting and had taken his orders, that, no employee should obey any instruction of Jadav and his group.

After Sri Tripathi’s meeting was over, which all the employees had attended, S.C.Mantry, General Manager, issued an order of transfer of Sri Nayak from Cuttack to Kolkata in the guise of “exigencies of work” which was back dated 2nd July 2012. And, simultaneously, on the same day, i.e. 3rd July 2012, Sri Nayak was put under suspension “pending framing of formal charges” fixing his headqrs at Kolkata. On coming to know of this, the Officiating President of SoPS, Sri K.C.Tripathi cancelled all these orders by his order dated 3rd July 2012 and asked Mantry to go on leave.

Even as Sri Nayak had given a preliminary reply to the GM in his letter dated 25 July 2012, the Association in its communication No. 16/GS/12 dated 15.8.2012 besought Sri Tripathi’s opinion on the issue, as he was the known authority of SoPS.

Sri Tripathi, in his order dated August 20, 2012 directed the employees to “ignore” any order/instruction received from persons like S.C.Mantry/ Bhimsen Jadav/ Niranjan Rath/Manubhai Patel and any other posing as any manager or functionary of SoPS, as they are unauthorized persons.

The unauthorized persons have not yet been able to establish their legitimacy in the Court where Sri Tripathi’s case against them is pending. And hence, they have not created any legitimate environment for the Trade Union/employees to accept them as legitimate authorities to issue orders/instructions.

On the other hand, these unauthorized persons through hired hands as security personnel have obstructed Sri Nayak’s entry into his legitimate workplace in Gopabandhu Bhawan, Cuttack.

Worried because of such tactics of enforced idleness clamped on Sri Nayak, the Association moved the Labor law implementation authorities on 25.8.2012 vide their letter No. 19/GS/12 for intervention. The District Labor Officer, Cuttack in his order No. 4305 dated 31.8.2012, in forwarding a copy of the petition of the Employees Association, asked for the views of employer within seven days.

The General Manager who received the notice from the DLO is the same Sri Mantry who continues to keep the office of The Samaja in capture in blatant disobedience to the orders of the legitimate authority of SoPS, Sri K.C.Tripathy. In such circumstances, the DLO’s letter was perhaps suppressed from the employer and then the illegitimate occupiers of the Samaja appointed a man called C. R. Dash as enquiry officer to add a color of legality to the illegal orders issued by the name of the employer.

Sri Nayak attracted attention of the officiating President of SoPS to this and wanted his instruction in view of his order dated 20.8.2012. The officiating President of SoPS, Sri Tripathi, in his order dated 20.10.2012, informed that neither SoPS nor he has drawn any disciplinary proceeding against him as there was no allegation to draw up a disciplinary proceeding and also, there was no enquiry officer appointed. Hence he advised Sri Nayak to ignore the communication from the so-called enquiry officer.

Thus, without any legitimate authority, but in collusion with the illegitimate occupiers of The Samaja, Dash is holding the enquiry.

This Dash has, in collusion with the illegal occupiers of The Samaja, tarnished the public image of Sri Nayak through malicious advertisement in the Samaja dated 31. 10.2012 and is engaged in cultivating evidences against Sri Nayak, which is now clear from a complaint filed in Cantonment Police Station of Cuttack by an employee of the Samaja, who was forced by Dash to sign on dotted lines.

This complainant to Police is Machine man helper Sri Surendra Behera.

Behera, who works in the night, was summoned to the Office of the Samaja at about the noon on 3. 12.2012 by an assistant manager HR under a false plea of rectification of tax anomalies. After he reached the office, he was taken to the enquiry officer who forced him to receive a backdated summon to attend his court. The so-called enquiry officer then forced him to corroborate allegations against Sri Nayak which he refused. Then, under intimidation, he was asked to wait in the room to sign whatever dictation the enquiry officer was giving to a typist. Sri Behera refused to comply with this illegal order and reported the matter to Cantonment P.S., Cuttack, immediately thereafter on the same 3rd December 2012. The Police are yet to act.

Thus it is clear that the harassers of Nayak are cooking up a domestic enquiry to harass him further. The matter has been reported by the Secretary of the Employees Association to the District Labor Officer.

But the Labor Officer is yet to wake up, as is the Labor Commissioner in the matter of contravention of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders ) Act, 1946 by the management of The Samaja.

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