Merger of govt presses brings uncertainty over fate of workers

The Cabinet has announced the merger of 17 govt presses with five others which would be redeveloped. According to the Centre, this would enable the presses to undertake important, confidential, urgent and multicoloured printing work of central government offices all over the country.

Written by Vidhi Ghai | Chandigarh | Published: September 28, 2017 4:42 am
govt printing press, printing press merged, workers laid off, Representational photo

THE RECENT announcement regarding the closure/merger of Government of India (GOI) presses by the Prime Minister’s Cabinet has created a feeling of uncertainty among the employees. The Cabinet has announced the merger of 17 GOI presses with five other presses. The five presses would be redeveloped following the merger. According to the Centre, this would enable the presses to undertake important, confidential, urgent and multicoloured printing work of central government offices all over the country.

Government of India Text Book Press Workers’ Association (GITPWA) held a meeting on September 21 with the National Federation of Printing, Stationery and Publication Employees in protest against this decision. The meeting focused primarily on the parliamentary standing committee’s decision to close 12 GOI presses along with the one in Chandigarh. Members of the association expressed grave concern at the ignorance of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs over the 16th Lok Sabha Parliamentary Standing Committee’s recommendation for modernisation of all the GOI presses.

Gurbachan Singh, president of GITPWA, Chandigarh, said, “It is sad to know that the Chandigarh press is not included in the list of redevelopment despite being named the best press four times. The decision is not fair and the fear of unemployment and homelessness at the age of 50 is disturbing the employees.”

Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher, too, had written to the Centre regarding the redevelopment of the Chandigarh press, but was ignored.

All the presses were examined by the parliamentary standing committee which suggested to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to provide the GITPWA with its requirement for development of all 15 presses, variety of printing presses, skilled manpower, adequate security and infrastructure to manage and store important government data in both manual and digital form. But all requests have been ignored by the Centre.

GITPWA has opposed the anti-worker move of the government and presented a report to the parliamentary standing committee to stop the closure.

The report has also been forwarded to the secretary to the Ministry of State, Housing and Urban Affairs and director of Printing and Controller of Stationery Office.

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