Major trade unions have strongly opposed the proposed move to shift the Employees State Insurance (ESI) Sub-Regional office from Salem.
The Sub-Regional Offices provide easy accessibility to the employees and employers so that the benefits of the ESI schemes are availed and the statutory conditions are fulfilled by them respectively. The Salem Sub-Region office was bifurcated from Chennai in view of serving the growing industrial sector in Hosur.
Employees’ State Insurance Scheme of India,is a multidimensional social security system tailored to provide socio-economic protection to worker population and their dependants covered under the scheme. Besides full medical care for self and dependents.
It has been proposed to merge Salem with Coimbatore or Chennai Sub-Region office. In a joint representation to the Director General, ESI, New Delhi , the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Indian Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), and the Central Institute of Trade Unions (CITU), have pointed out that the proposed merger of the Salem Sub-Division would entail a 300 kms travel for the employers and employees.
An employer or employee from Hosur as to journey seven hours to Coimbatore and those from Salem have to travel for 3.5 to 4 hours to reach Coimbatore. Need would arise for employers and employees to visit the ESI office frequently and for certain issues on daily basis. Sub-Regional offices on the other handle a number of litigations in the local labour courts. Recovery proceedings are easily carried out by Sub-Regional officers by visiting defaulting industrial units or summon them.
The Trade Unions have further complained that for the ast 12 years, the Boards of the Regional Offices in Taminadu have not met. Democratic functioning of the ESI has been given a go-by due to lack of representation of the labor force and employers. Proposals for new services could not be initiated. In the absence of Regional eve meetings of the Board, decisions were being taken at the Head Quarters unilaterally without and deliberations without any appreciation of the ground realities. Regional and Sub-Regional offices act as decentralized service nodes with powers to take decisions of local issues.
The stake holders will be put to immense hardship because of the merger move and result in inaccessibility of the ESI scheme benefits, the trade unions have stressed. A representation has also been made to the Chief Minister, Ministers for Heath, labour.//