Government passes Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021, criminalising workers’ right to strike
22 July, 2021: In the garb of ensuring unhindered supply of ordnance items to the armed forces, the Union government introduced the Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha. It was passed without any debate, through a voice vote in both Houses.
Earlier, the government had bulldozed the provisions though an Ordinance on 1 July, 2021. That was heavily criticised by workers and trade unions for stifling workers’ Right to Strike. The legislation declares the functioning of existing 41 ordnance factories in the country as essential services and bars workers from going on strike at these factories.
Workers had served a strike notice to the government against its decision of corporatising the ordnance factories. In 2019, a protracted workers’ strike had forced the government to roll back its privatisation plans.
Uttarakhand: Government bans power sector workers from striking for 6 months
27 July, 2021: The Uttarakhand government issued a notification banning strikes in all categories of services in power corporation, power transmission and Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam.
More than 3,500 power sector workers went on an indefinite strike on 26 July midnight, demanding that the government negotiate with them in good faith. Earlier, power sector workers had gone on a one-day strike on 20 July — after the government’s refusal to negotiate on their 14-point demands, including regularization of contractual employment and equal pay for equal work. The notification is valid of six months.
Assam: Government to include tea workers in MGNREGA
15 July, 2021: The Assam Cabinet approved the proposal to include tea garden workers under MGNREGA. It would help them in the winters, when work is hard to come by and people are forced to migrate to other areas in search of work, it stated.
Rajasthan: Government to constitute Employees Welfare Fund
7 July, 2021: The Rajasthan government decided to constitute a employees welfare fund with a corpus of Rs 3,000 crores. The fund will be used for:
- Contribution to the Rajasthan Government Health Scheme (RGHS)
- Housing loans to state government employees for a period of 10 years, up to Rs 15 lakh
- Loans for five years, up to Rs 5 lakh, for higher studies in the country and abroad for sons, daughters or dependents
- Personal loan for five years, up to Rs 3 lakh
- Vehicle loan for five years, up to Rs 5 lakh