Defence workers threaten indefinite strike against ‘breaking up’ of OFB

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 17, 2021

The federations will meet on Sunday to decide on protests

The three federations of defence sector workers — the All India Defence Employees Federation, Indian National Defence Workers Federation and the the BMS-led Bharatiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh — have jointly condemned the Union Cabinet’s decision to divide the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) into seven corporations. The federations will meet on Sunday to decide on protests, including an indefinite strike.

The federations charged that the Centre has destroyed the fundamental concepts of strategic management by vertical integration and war insurance / reserve due to it misguided ideology. Central Trade Unions such as the CITU and the AITUC have also condemned the Cabinet decision. CPI general secretary D Raja said the decision will have a serious impact on the national security, defence preparedness and self-reliance.

The federations said India won Kargil War, Indo Pakistan war, Bangladesh liberation war with the contribution of 41 defence factories under the OFB. “This decision of the Government to destroy the Ordnance Factories will make the nation repent. The breaking up of the OFB organisation into smaller entities will reduce the capacity of a unified conglomerate to produce everything under one roof,” the statement of the federations said.

The entire workforce of the ordnance factories and the four lakh defence civilian employees reject the decision of the Government as it is against the past written agreements and assurances, the statement said. “The workforce will not tolerate this injustice and will fight back including reviving the deferred strike and other legal actions,” they warned.

CITU claimed “And in this case, it is not merely privatisation; it is going to be privatisation with domination of foreign corporates through multi-pronged route,” it said in a statement.

AITUC said five former Defence Ministers have given written assurances that OFB would not be corporatised.

Published on June 17, 2021

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