The state government has submitted before the Kerala High Court that if trade union activities were allowed at BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL), it would affect the defence-preparedness of the nation and it would be difficult for the company to survive and progress.
In an affidavit, P Snehalatha, Under-Secretary, Labour and Rehabilitation Department, submitted that if they were forced to recognise such unions, it would cause the company to fall into a fate similar to what it succumbed to earlier.
The government notification exempting the company from the provisions of the Kerala Recognition of Trade Union Act, 2010 was not illegal, the submission said.
The state made the submission on a petition filed by BrahMos Staff Association (INTUC) and Brahmos Employees Union (CITU) challenging the notification.
The petitioners contended that it was a private company and therefore, exempting the company from the purview of the act was illegal.
The company is a subsidiary of Brahmos Aerospace Pvt Ltd, a joint venture with the Russian government, it was argued.
The state submitted that the central government has control over the BATL through BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL). It is submitted that BATL had been entrusted with the manufacture of metallic components, launcher containers and air borne launchers for BrahMos missiles. Besides, major orders like F3 (outer body of the missile) and missile engine project would soon be assigned.
The order book position had been strengthened with an order for BrahMos missile related jobs worth `150 crore.
Both DRDO and the parent company BAPL have committed funds for infrastructure development to undertake major projects. It also submitted that the trade unions had been a hindrance in the progress of the erstwhile Keltec.
At the time of the takeover, all the leaders of the then existing trade unions agreed to cease trade unions functioning in the company and transform their union activities in the form of a Workmen Welfare committee which should be in a democratic mode, the state said. According to the state, the trade union activities will be a hindrance for the smooth functioning of the organisation which was involved in the production of the components required for missile projects.
However, recently, some of erstwhile trade unions in Keltec, revived their activism and started functioning against the motives of the company.
They also violated the memorandum signed for five years. Activities of such unions were tarnishing the image of the company. “Credibility of the company would be questioned by valued customers like ISRO, DRDO, MOD etc”, the state said.