Centre fires ordinance at protesting OFB employees, warns them of arrest and fine
Gazette notification on Essential Defence Services Ordinance 2021 states that any person, who commences a strike that is illegal under the Ordinance or takes part in any such strike shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to Rs 10,000 or both.
The Centre has cracked down upon employees of the Ordnance Factory Board days after they announced an indefinite strike from July 26 against the decision to corporatise the OFB.
The government has brought an ordinance, prohibiting agitation and strike by anyone involved in the essential defence services.
A gazette notification on Essential Defence Services Ordinance 2021 issued by the Ministry of Law said that the employees engaged in the production of defence equipment, services and operation or maintenance of any industrial establishment connected with the military as well as those employed in repair and maintenance of defence products will come under the purview of the ordinance.
In the Gazette notification, the ministry said, "Any person, who commences a strike which is illegal under this Ordinance or goes or remains on, or otherwise takes part in, any such strike, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to Rs 10,000 or both."
Two weeks ago, the Cabinet had announced the corporatisation of the 41 OFBs by dissolving them and replacing them with seven government-owned corporate entities. Following this, OFB employees gave the call for indefinite strikes.
The Gazette notification further noted that Parliament is not in session and that the President of India is 'satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action'.
It also said the provision of the Ordinance will extend to the entire country.