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Corporatisation of OFB: Workers’ federations decide to mark anniversary as ‘Save Ordnance Factories Day’

The Ordnance Factory Day is observed every year on March 18 to mark the foundation of the first Ordnance Factory at Cossipore near Kolkata in 1801.

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune |
March 18, 2021 1:20:30 am
Ordnance Factory DayThe Ordnance Factory Day is observed every year on March 18 to mark the foundation of the first Ordnance Factory at Cossipore near Kolkata in 1801

AS the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) celebrates the 220th ‘Ordnance Factory Day’ on Thursday, March 18, the three workers’ federations which are opposing the corporatisation of OFB have decided to observe it as ‘Save Ordnance Factories Day.’

The Ordnance Factory Day is observed every year on March 18 to mark the foundation of the first Ordnance Factory at Cossipore near Kolkata in 1801.

The Ordnance Factories network today comprises 41 factories divided into five operational divisions of the OFB, and constitutes a defence production conglomerate with one of the widest range of products in the world.

The government’s move to corporatise Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has faced strong opposition from federations of workers from these 41 ordnance factories and allied units across India. Their opposition has brought together an unlikely front of federations affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Left and the Congress.

In spite of the opposition from these three main federations, the Ministry of Defence is moving forward with the process.

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The three federations are All India Defence Employees’ Federation (AIDEF) of Left unions; Bhartiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh (BPMS), an arm of RSS-affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh; and Indian National Defence Workers’ Federation (INDWF) of the Indian National Trade Union Congress.

A joint circular issued by the general secretaries of these three federations read, “Our struggle against corporatisation and privatisation is continuing. The government is ignoring our protest and seriously going ahead to implement its decision of ruining the 220 years old strategic defence Industry. On March 18, the entire OFB organisation will be celebrating its 220th birthday while the entire workforce will be performing their duty towards the defence of the nation with lot of apprehensions and fear in their mind about the future of the Ordnance Factories and their service conditions, since the government is bent upon converting the Ordnance Factories into a corporation.”

The circular further reads, “It has now been decided by the three recognised federations that when the OFB organisation is celebrating its 220th birthday, the employees will observe the day as ‘Save Ordnance Factories Day’. All the trade unions and associations functioning in the Ordnance Factories and OFB Headquarters formation will address a letter to the Prime Minister, appealing him to think a thousand times before issuing the notification on corporatisation of ordnance factories… “.

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