Servants of the People Society forces employees of Samaja into Hobson’s choice of hunger , serious threat to human rights: A case for OHRC to intervene

Subhas Candra Pattanayak

Every employees of Orissa’s mainstream newspaper Samaja has been forced to have a Hobson’s choice of hunger by accepting any one of the four options “offered” by the ‘Servants of the Peoples Society’ (SoPS), which has fraudulently kept the popular paper perceived and published by the famous Panchasakhas of Satyabadi under its illegal occupation.

This oppressive act is styled ‘APPEAL’!

The employees are forced to make their individual choice of hunger out of the four traps laid down under the ‘APPEAL’ to help the management fight COVID-19 . They are to accept any one of the four traps by exercising their respective “option” in order to evade a lay-off. They are to sign on these four declarations as per personal choice:
1. I would like to go on Lay-off for a period of 01 month/02 months
2. I will donate 30% of my net salary for one month
3. I will donate______% of my net salary for one month
4. I will donate Rs._____/- as lumpsum
The mega nuisance lies in two options in option No.1. An employee shall have to volunteer to embrace “lay-off” for either one month or two months. Naturally, no employee would prefer lay-off for two months if option for one moth is available. This means, any employee, who prefers the first option shall have to volunteer for lay-off for one month. More wicked are the traps 3 and 4 where an employee is to fill up the blanks, which would supposedly be more than what has been stipulated under trap 2. Trap 2 forces the employee to be denuded of 30% of his/her “net salary”.

From the instrument of exploitation styled APPEAL, it transpires that this offense is repeatedly perpetrated under colorable exercise of managerial powers. It admits that earlier the employees were laid-off “for months together” allowing themselves to thrive with half of their wages. It says, the SoPS has “not forgotten yet, the tears ebbing the eyes of the laid-off employees for months together with 50% salary, their helpless condition and miseries.” What a sadistic sympathy!

This instrument of exploitation further admits, “Even now, the full salary could not be paid”. But, it says, Corona is forcing the organization to lay-off sign die if the employees do not allow themselves to be denuded of their purses.

SoPS has looted revenue worth thousands of crores of Rupees created by the employees of the Samaja. Crooks in the SoPS have kept this mega newspaper under their illegal occupancy by using a forged document purported to be the will of Gopabandhu Das. So there is no possibility of wealth famine in SoPS to pay the employees their due salary regularly.

The “APPEAL” in question is therefore a cunning exploitation of COVID situation to loot even the revenue generators.

The design of exploitation is so very ruthless that, the employees have been asked to sign their declaration by 20th when the so-called APPEAL is issued on the 18th of this month. I am informed that no employee has signed any declaration so far. It is, therefore, apprehended that, a severe lay-off, as before, would soon be imposed.

The Labor Laws having been clubbed into a conundrum by Modi administration, where the admittedly “helpless” employees of the Samaja would seek protection from this scheme of the crooks determined to whittle their earned wages?

It is a clear case of exercise of managerial powers to ruin the human rights of the employees of the Samaja by SoPS taking advantage of their “helpless condition” admitted even in the APPEAL in question. Orissa Human Rights Commission has a duty to intervene suo motto in such a serious condition of threat to survival of the entire workforce of the Samaja by its illegal occupier SoPS. Will it act, please?

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