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Ramakanta Biswas

The Odisha government on Thursday brought the services of the employees of the Odisha State Cooperative Milk Producers' Federation (OMFED) under the provisions of Odisha Essential Services (Maintenance) Amendment Act 2020 thereby prohibiting them from going on any strike for six months.

As per the order of the State Home Department, employees working with the OMFED including contractual employees, outsourced staff and labourers in services, engagements connected with milk procurement, milk processing plants, security services, transportation, distribution, retailing, other marketing supply chains cannot go on strikes in the form of cessation of work, obstruction of work or unauthorised absence from work.

The Home department said the decision has been taken in the interest of public to ensure that collection, processing, distribution and sale of milk/dairy products in the State is not affected/disrupted.

As per Section 2 (b) of the Odisha Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1988 "strike" means the cessation of work by a body of persons employed/engaged in any essential service acting in combination or a concerted refusal or a refusal under a common understanding of any number of persons who are or have been so employed/ engaged to continue to work or to accept employment and includes unauthorized absence from duty in pursuance of a common understanding among the persons who unauthorizedly abstain themselves from duty or under the direction of any other person or persons. 

"Now, therefore, in exercise of the power conferred by sub-clause (ix) of clause (a) of Section 2 of the Odisha Essential Services (Maintenance) Amendment Act, 2020 (Odisha Act 1 of 2021), the State Government do hereby declare the above services as 'Essential Service' for the purpose of the said Act and in exercise of the power conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Odisha Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1988 ( Odisha Act 9 of 1992) do hereby prohibit strikes in the aforesaid services," the directive by the government stated.

The order shall remain in force for a period of six months with effect from the date of issue, it added.

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