Terming the Essential Defence Services Ordinance draconian, CPI general secretary D Raja said the Narendra Modi government is attempting to crush the democratic rights of the defence civilian workers by the promulgation of such a law.

Raja said the defence civilian workers have been fighting to save the 41 Indian Ordnance Factories from the ill-conceived policy decision of the Centre to destroy the Ordnance Factory Board by converting it into seven non-viable corporations.

“This has been done at a time when the Modi government has already declared that only four public sector units will remain in the strategic sector. Defence is one of the strategic sectors where already eight PSUs are functioning,” Raja said in a statement.

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Raja said when the seven Ordnance Factories Corporations will be added to the existing eight DPSUs, it will become 15 DPSUs. “Out of the 15, which four will remain with the government is not known. Therefore, the picture is clear that all the seven Ordnance Factories Corporations will become sick, making the path clear for the Government for their privatisation and sale,” he said.

The former MP in Rajya Sabha said the Centre has ignored all the proposals and representations of workers in OFB.

“Even conciliation proceedings have been closed abruptly. In such a situation the trade unions have decided to use the last weapon of the strike,” he said and added that the Centre chose the Ordinance route to crush the strike by incorporating draconian provisions like dismissal from service without inquiry, arrest and imprisonment up to two years for calling a strike and participating in a strike.

“This is draconian and against the legal right of the employees. This Ordinance is also against the various ILO conventions,” he added.