Defence Services Bill aimed at preventing strikes gets Lok Sabha nod

Source: Tribune News Service

The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021, that allows the government to prohibit strikes, mass casual leave and lockouts in essential defence services establishments. All offences punishable under the Bill will be cognisable and non-bailable. Persons commencing or participating in illegal strikes will be punished with up to one-year imprisonment or Rs 10,000 fine, or both.

Persons instigating, inciting or taking actions to continue illegal strikes, or supplying money for such purposes, will be punished with up to two years of imprisonment or Rs 15,000 fine, or both. The Bill aims to ensure that the 41 ordnance factories under the Ministry of Defence, which are being corporatised, do not face any hurdle from employees or unions.

Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “The Bill snatches the democratic rights of workers in ordnance factories to strike.”

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the government had engaged the representatives of all unions across essential defence establishments. “The provisions of the Bill may not need to be invoked as it would be invoked under special circumstances only for a limited period,” he added.

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