Unions urge PM not to corporatise Ordnance factories

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 03, 2019 Published on September 03, 2019

The three major trade unions in the 41 Ordnance factories, which recently postponed a strike, have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to drop the plan to corporatise the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB).

The leaders of the three trade unions — C Srikumar, R Srinivasan and Mukesh Singh — said in the letter that the panels which have recommended corporatisation have considered only the commercial aspect.

Terming the recommendations ‘imaginary’, the unions said OFB, as a corporation, will not be able to compete with the private sector for getting orders from the Army since the private sector keeps limited workforce and extracts 90 per cent of the work through contract workers.

“In majority cases, the contract workers work for long hours and are paid less than minimum wage. Government, as a model employer, should not encourage such type of open exploitation,” the unions said.

‘Vested interests’

They claimed that the proposal to corporatise was to favour vested interest groups to get hold of the national assets available with the ordnance factories, including prime land of more than 60,000 acres.

“Instead of jeopardising the security of our country by corporatisation of ordnance factories, the government may formulate policies to enhance the capability of OFB to contribute immensely to defence preparedness and encourage OFB to achieve its established objective of indigenisation and self reliance,” the letter said.

‘Faith in PM’

The unions said workers areconfident that the Prime Minister, with a vision to achieve ‘Make in India’ in defence, will not destroy the ordnance factories by converting them into a corporation.

“We, therefore, appeal you to direct the authorities to retain the ordnance factories as a government department and formulate policies which can further strengthen the 218-years-old Defence Industry of our country,” the letter said.

Published on September 03, 2019
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