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OFB workers to go on indefinite strike, write to Defence Minister

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on June 23, 2021

Strike against Centre’s decision to split the OFB into seven corporations

After almost two years, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is likely to witness yet another indefinite strike. All the three recognised federations in the 41 ordnance factories, including the federation supported by pro-Government BMS, have sent a letter to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announcing their decision to go on indefinite strike against Centre's decision to split the OFB into seven corporations. The federations will decide the course of the indefinite strike at a meeting scheduled with other like-minded organisations on June 27.

The leaders of the federations told Singh in the joint letter that employees of OFB are in great anguish and pain on the “unsavoury decision” of the Centre to slice-away OFB into seven “unviable” entities. “It is astonishing that when negotiations are pending, conciliation process is inconclusive, in the absence of the Federations in the conciliation meeting held on June 15, the Government has taken a hurried decision to corporatise the OFB into seven entities,” the letter, a copy of which is with BusinessLine, said.

‘Oppose corporatisation’

The federations said they strongly felt that the entire process to corporatise the OFB is “stage-managed, hasty and took in a hurried manner, without any application of mind about the impact of this decision on the defence preparedness of our country and also about the future and service conditions of 76,000 employees. It may also be noted that these employees were recruited as Central Government Employees and as per Article 309 of the Constitution of India. It may also be noted that in their appointment letters there is no mention that their status will be changed during the service period and will have to work in Corporation/PSUs. This decision to alter the service conditions of the employees is a blatant failure to the contract of appointment,” they told the Minister.

Meanwhile, more organisations such as the Confederation of Defence Recognised Associations, National Progressive Defence Employees Federation and All India Bahujan Defence Employees Federation have also decided to support the indefinite strike call.

Leader of the All India Defence Employees Federation C Srikumar said that at the meeting on June 27, the employees will decide when the indefinite strike will begin. “Accordingly, we will give a notice to the Government and the OFB. We will step up campaign among the workers and the public about our nationalistic cause. A number of trade unions have already pledged support to our decision,” he added.

Published on June 23, 2021

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