Workers of three major defence manufacturing units in Pune—Ammunition Factory in Khadki (AFK), Ordnance Factory Dehu Road (OFD) and High Explosive Factory (HEF) in Khadki—have decided to go on an indefinite strike from July 11 protesting against the low pay hike proposed by the 7th Pay Commission and 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment in the defence sector.
More than 90 per cent of the workers of these factories belonging to unions such as Ammunition Factory Workers’ Union (AFWU), All India Union Congress, Centre of Indian Trade Unions and Hind Mazdoor Sabha would participate in the strike. The workers demand a minimum pay of Rs 26,000 as against the proposed Rs 18,000. AFK employs more than 4,000 workers, while OFD and HEF employ around 800 workers each.
A press release issued by AFWU said, “Subsequent to acceptance of the 7th Pay Commi-ssion recommendations by the Union Cabinet, the minimum pay of government service is notified as Rs 18,000. It may be noted that as per the 6th Pay Commission, government servants were getting Rs 7,000 and 125 per cent Dearness Allowance which sums up to Rs 15,750. It is clear that the pay rise is only around Rs 2,250 for the next 10 years.”
The three factories from Pune would be joining other factories under the Ordnance Factories Board across the country in the nationwide strike. A senior union leader said 93 per cent of the workers from these factories would participate in the strike.
The release said, “All central trade unions except Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh would embark on a joint protest programme from Monday till July 10 and this would be followed by an indefinite strike from July 11. The main demands are minimum pay should be Rs 26,000, withdrawal of the New Pension Scheme, cancellation of 100 per cent FDI in the defence sector and restoration of 100 per cent compassionate appointment.”