Defence employees bodies reject govt plans to corporatise Ordnance Factory Board


The Employee Federation of Indian Ordnance Factories has rejected the government’s decision to create seven corporations stating that it will completely destroy the fundamental concepts of strategic management by vertical integration and war insurance and reserve “due to its misguided ideology”.

Throughout the country in all the Defence establishments, the employees have decided to burn the effigy against the government’s decision of corporatisation on June 19, 2021.

The defence employees associations were in shock at how that government can splinter the fourth Arm of the Indian Defence, the 220 years old Indian Ordnance Factories, into seven pieces.

In a landmark decision, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday had approved the plan to corporatize the 41 Ordnance Factories into seven fully government-owned corporate entities, based on their production type.

It means, the Ordnance Factory Board, establishment by British India in 1775, will cease to exist.

The Narendra Modi-led Cabinet gave its go-ahead to the long pending corporatization of OFB, which has an annual turnover of around Rs 19,000 crore, into seven 100 per cent government-owned entities.

In a statement three defence employees association — All India Defence Employees’ Federation, Indian National Defence Workers’ Federation and Bhartiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh — stated that the entire workforce of Ordnance Factories and four lakh defence civilian employees reject the decision of the government as it is against the past written agreements and assurances given by the successive government in the past more than more than 20 years.

They stated that not only in War time but in peace time last year when the country was facing the onslaught of COVID-19 pandemic and the entire country was under a strict lockdown, it was the Ordnance Factories and its workers who produced lakhs and lakhs of Personal Protective Equipment required for the front line warriors.

“This decision of the Government to destroy the Ordnance Factories will make the nation repent,” said the associations adding that the breaking up of the OFB organization in to smaller entities will reduce the capacity of a unified conglomerate to produce everything under one roof.

“It is such a great news for the Private Corporates and Foreign Arms Manufacturers who have been finding it difficult to face the might of Ordnance Factories for its end to end amazing capability,” the association claimed.

They stated that the present government taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the name of “COVID-19 Relief Package” announced its decision to corporatize and subsequently privatize the Ordnance Factories.

Against this decision of the Government, the Trade Unions of the Employees started fighting back and since the Government was adamant, it issued a strike notice for indefinite strike, commencing from the 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.

However, the Ministry of Defence started blatantly violating the agreements and proceeded with its decision to corporatize the Ordnance Factories.

Against this series of violation by the Ministry of Defence the Federations lodge a complaint with the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) on March 31, 2021.

However, succumbing to the pressure of the Government, the CLC(C) remained a silent spectator and ultimately the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) concluded the proceedings by recording a failure report on June 15, 2021 in the absence of the three major recognized Federations and to enable the Government to take its decision on June 16, 2021 concluded the proceedings, the association claimed.

“The entire Government machinery has gone against the Ordnance Factories and its employees. The workforce will not tolerate this injustice and will fight back including reviving the deferred strike and other legal actions,” the associations declared.

The Ordnance Factories will be sold out because ultimately the Government policies are to privatize all the Government Industries and to sell out the precious land and infrastructure at throw away price to the Private Corporates and crony capitalists, the associations claimed.

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