June 17, 2021 9:34:49 pm
Federations of ordnance factory workers affiliated to the Left, RSS and the Congress slammed the Centre’s decision to convert the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) into seven defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs).
Terming the move a “good news for private corporates and foreign arms manufacturers”, defence manufacturing employees started their agitation on Thursday. Three federations – All India Defence Employees’ Federation of the Left unions, Bhartiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh, an arm of the RSS-affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, and the Indian National Defence Workers’ Federation of the Indian National Trade Union Congress – will meet on Sunday to decide on further strategy, including a possible nationwide indefinite strike.
The Centre on Wednesday announced its decision to dissolve the 220-year-old OFB and restructure it into seven new DPSUs, which will govern 41 ordnance factories across the country and be fully owned by the government. The seven corporate entities are expected to be formed by this year.
A joint statement, signed by the presidents and general secretaries of these federations, issued on Thursday read, “The fourth arm of the Indian Defence, the 220 years old Indian Ordnance Factories is splintered into seven pieces. The government has completely destroyed the fundamental concept of strategic management by vertical integration, because of its misguided ideology. It is such great news for the private corporations and foreign arms manufacturers who have been finding it difficult to face the might of Ordnance Factories for its end-to-end capability. The entire workforce of Ordnance Factories and the four lakh defence civilian employees reject the decision of the government.”
All the unions under these federations have been called upon to hold local-level agitation starting on Thursday.
The statement added, “The trade unions started fighting with the adamant government and issued a notice for indefinite strike, commencing October 12, 2020. However, the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) intervened and a conciliation settlement was reached in his presence between the Federations and the Ministry of Defence on October 9, 2020. The MoD started blatantly violating the agreements and proceeded with its decision to corporatize the Ordnance Factories. The CLC (C) remained a silent spectator and ultimately concluded the proceedings by recording a failure report on June 15 in the absence of the three major recognized federations and to enable the government to take its decision June 16. The entire government machinery has gone against the Ordnance Factories and its employees.”
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