Essential Defence Services Bill

Issue: 07-2021

The Government introduced ‘The Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021’ in the Lok Sabha on July 22, which seeks to prohibit any agitation and strike by anyone engaged in the essential defence services. The Statement of Objects said the ordinance issued on June 30 defines the expressions “essential defence services” and “strike”. It also empowers the Central Government to prohibit strike in essential defence services and provides for disciplinary action including dismissal, against employees participating in any strike. It also provides for penalties for “illegal strikes, instigation thereof and providing for financial aid to such illegal strikes.” The Bill is aimed at preventing strikes and any disruptions in the working of Ordnance Factories during their conversion to one or more one hundred percent government-owned corporate entity or entities to be registered under the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013. The aim of this conversion is to improve autonomy, accountability and efficiency in ordnance supplies. The recognised federations of the employees have given a notice for an indefinite strike. The conciliation proceedings initiated by the Government at the level of Chief Labour Commissioner, failed in the meeting held on June 15, 2021.