Ordinance prohibiting strikes in Defence services

Law Ministry has notified Essential Defence Services Ordinance on June 30, 2021. This ordinance prohibits employees engaged in essential defence services from taking part in any agitation or strike.

Why this ordinance was notified?

Essential Defence Services Ordinance 2021 was notified in the backdrop of major federations affiliated with 76,000 employees of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) who made announcement that they would go on indefinite strike from July 26 to protest against government’s decision to corporatize the OFB.

What are the provisions of ordinance?

  • Under the Ordinance, strike has been made illegal. As per provisions, any person who commences a strike or goes or remains on or takes part in any such strike shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term up to one year or with a fine up to Rs 10,000 or both.
  • Persons instigating or inciting others to take part in strike shall also be punishable with imprisonment for a term up to two years and fines.
  • Under the ordinance, there would be no change in service conditions of employees of OFB even after corporatization. This decision aims to boost India’s defence manufacturing sector.

Who will be covered under provisions?

As per notification, employees involved in production of defence equipment, services & operation; maintenance of industrial establishment connected with military and in repair & maintenance of defence products will come under the purview of Ordinance.

Corporatization of OFB

Union Cabinet had approved a long-pending proposal of restructuring about 200-year-old Ordnance Factory Board on in June 2021. Earlier, OFB was operating 41 ammunition and military equipment production facilities which now have been subsumed into seven state-owned corporations in a bid to improve its accountability, efficiency and competitiveness.

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