THE nationwide strike of ordnance factory workers, called by the three key worker federations against the proposed corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), will be deferred from Monday morning, a joint circular issued by the three bodies said on Saturday.
The decision was taken after a meeting on Friday between the organisations’ office-bearers and the Secretary of Defence Production, Ajay Kumar, who said the decision on corporatisation was still under examination and workers’ interests would be safeguarded, the organisations said. The strike will be deferred from 6 am on Monday, when work at the factories is expected to resume.
Nearly 80,000 workers from 41 ordnance factories in the country have been on a strike since Tuesday. These civilian defence workers are from three federations — All India Defence Employees’ Federation (AIDEF) affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) of Communist Party of India, Indian National Defence Workers’ Federation (INDWF) affiliated to Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) of Congress and Bhartiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh (BPMS), which is part of the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
When contacted, general secretary of BPMS, Mukesh Singh, said, “The representatives of the organisations expressed that the decision to corporatise ordnance factories should be withdrawn. The cabinet note on corporatisation sets the goal of defence production of OFB at Rs 30,000 crore by 2024-25. This target may be given to the ordnance factories in the present set-up and workforce, and it can be achieved if the government extends all support, including salary budget and indent (an official order, given in advance) of all items, including those declared as non-core. The Army should place at least three years indent in advance since delay in indent is the main cause of delay in supply. After implementing above policy decisions, the government can monitor the performance of ordnance factories till 2024-25 and then review the decision. As of now, the joint fight against corporatisation will continue.”