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Ordnance factory workers to go on indefinite strike from July 26

A. M. Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on June 29, 2021

The strike is against the Centre’s decision to split the OFB into seven corporations.

The joint platform of various federations and unions representing about 80,000 employees of Ordnance Factory Board have decided to launch an indefinite strike since July 26 against the Centre's decision to split the OFB into seven corporations. The unions will serve the strike notice on July 8.

In a joint statement, the federations and unions said that since it is a revival of the deferred indefinite strike, no strike ballot must be taken and no six weeks notice is to be given to the OFB. They reiterated that the Cabinet decision, taken on June 16, to "slice the 220-year-old OFB into seven corporations" is arbitrary, biased and one-sided. The employees had held an indefinite strike that lasted for five days two years ago against the Centre's decision to corporatise the OFB.

 

All India Defence Employees Federation general secretary C Srikumar said the strike is not to protect the workers’ rights but to block the Centre's plan to hand over the national security to some private hands. "In the name of corporatisation, the Centre is encouraging privatisation in the sector. The 220-year-old establishment that served the country during many crises is being handed over to private people. Our strike is in national interest. We are getting support from all sections of the society," he said.

Bharatiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh, a BMS affiliated federation, general secretary Mukesh Singh told BusinessLine that the Centre decided without any consultation with the unions. "We feel that we were defeated without even allowing to sit for an examination. We were given assurances that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the Empowered Group of Ministers on defence production headed by him will talk to us. Nothing happened. Instead, they announced this decision which will have a long-standing impact on the country's security," Singh said.

A joint meeting of the Federations and other unions held on Sunday unanimously decided to revive the indefinite strike deferred based on a conciliation settlement reached between the Ministry of Defence and the Federations of Defence Civilian Employees last year. "However, while the Federations implemented the settlement in its true spirit by deferring the strike and maintaining harmonious industrial relations, the Ministry of Defence was going on violating the agreement by proceeding its actions to appoint consultant and implement its recommendations through the Empowered Group of Ministers which is going to have far reaching implications on the national security, Defence preparedness and the future of 76000 devoted and committed workforce and their family," the joint statement issued on Tuesday said.

The statement said the unions will hold joint campaigns in the intervening period before the strike, and all the left out unions at the factory level should be included in the Joint Action Committee. "Letters seeking support from all the Chief Ministers and leaders of the political parties, Members of the Parliamentary Defence Standing Committee etc., will be issued both jointly by the Federations and also by the local Joint Action Committees in the respective states," they said.

Published on June 29, 2021

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