Another indefinite strike likely in OFB, workers prepare notice

New Delhi | Updated on July 30, 2020 Published on July 30, 2020

A meeting of all major trade unions of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has decided to launch an indefinite strike from October 12 against the Centre’s decision to corporatise the OFB. A recent meeting of the trade unions with Secretary, Defence Production was inconclusive.

The unions, including the Bharatiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh affiliated with BMS, said in a joint statement that the Secretary, Defence Production had assured that he will communicate the concerns expressed by the employees representatives against corporatisation of OFB to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the earliest.

“If no communication is received from the Ministry of Defence or the Department of Defence Production about the decision of the Defence Minister by July 31 (Friday) a joint letter will be issued to the Secretary (DP) and Defence Secretary informing them about our decision to issue the strike notice on August 4, the date of opening of the tender (Expression of Interest cum Request for Proposal - EOI cum RFP) by DDP for deciding the selection of consultant for processing the corporatisation of OFB and to commence the indefinite strike from October 12,” the statement added.

The indefinite strike announced by the unions of about 82,000 workers in 41 defence factories went for five days in 2019. The government had created a high-level committe to look into the concerns of workers. Meanwhile, the Centre reiterated their stand for corporatisation during the lockdown. The unions allege that it was a drift from the agreement between them and the Centre. Majority of the workers favoured an indefinite strike at a strike ballot held in all OFB establishments.

The trade unions said from the initial remark of the Secretary (DP) itself it is clear that the government is going ahead with its decision of corporatisation of OFB. “Therefore the meeting was of the unanimous view that the date of the issue of the Strike notice and the date of commencement of the indefinite strike should be decided and communicated to the government,” the leaders said.

‘Must rethink decision’

Meanwhile, the BMS sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to stop the strategic sale of PSUs. “It is the obligation of the government to not hamper the existing huge infrastructure of PSUs by handing it over in private hands as it is neither the initiative nor effort of this government. Hence, the government must rethink on its decision on privatising and disinvesting the PSUs on rationale basis and to get the insight and real ground related reality must get engaged in dialogue with the stake holders,” the letter said. The Sangh Parivar organisation said that it is astonishing that irrespective of the political ideology, each government that came in power carried forward the agenda of destroying CPSUs with no concrete base.

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Published on July 30, 2020
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