Do Not Teach Us Patriotism – Defence Civilian Employees of Ordnance Factories Tell Retired Senior Army Officers

The 80,000 Defence Civilian Employees of 41 Ordnance Factories and 40,000 Contract Employees are on the verge of going on an Indefinite Strike. In the midst of their preparations series of articles against Ordnance Factories by Retired Army Generals and Brigadiers are being published with the intention to support the move of the Government to Corporatise the Ordnance Factories. Counter Articles and rebuttals are also being published. Of late some articles have come in the public domain branding the Employees who are using their right to protest through a Strike Action.

The Federations in a meeting held with the Secretary(DP) on 28/07/2020 have assured the Government that in case of any threat for the national security they will be with the Armed Forces for protecting the sovereignty and security of the country and the Ordnance Factory workers will work day and night for producing the Defence Equipments. Today, the three Federations who are leading the agitation against Corporatisation have issued a press statement, in which they have stated the following:-

The Finance  Minister  taking  advantage  of  the  COVID-19  pandemic  situation  announced  on  behalf  of the  Government of  India  that  the  hitherto  state  owned  41  Ordnance Factories  under the  Ministry of  Defence  will be  converted  into  a  Corporation / PSU  and thereafter  to  list it  in  the  Stock  Market.  This  announcement of  the  Government  was  against the previous  agreements  made in the past  by the Government  with  the  Employees  and  also  against  the  written  assurance  given  by  4 previous  Defence  Ministers George  Fernandez, Pranab Mukharjee, A.K. Antony and Manohar  Parikar  that  Ordnance Factories  would not be  corporatized  since  these  factories  have to  remain as War  Reserve and  also  due  to  the  fluctuating  requirement of  the Armed  Forces.  However  in violation  of  all these  assurances  and  agreements  the  Government has  arbitrarily  announced Corporatizing the OFB.  The  Government has  further  announced  that  all the  Public  Sectors  would  be  privatised.

In this  situation  the 3  Recognized  Federations  (AIDEF, INDWF  and BPMS) have  submitted  innumerable  representations  to the  President of  India, Prime  Minister,  Defence  Minister, Chief  of  Defence  Staff  and  also  to  the  Chairman  of  the  Defence  Parliamentary  Standing  Committee  to  reconsider the  decision of  the  Government.  Since  the  Government is  not  prepared  to  listen to  the  alternative suggestions  given  by the Federations for improvement of the functioning and performance of Ordnance Factories within the Govt. set up itself.  The Federations left  with  no other option  after  taking  a  Strike  Ballot,   wherein  99.9%  of  the employees  have mandated  for  an  Indefinite  Strike,  the  Federations  have  served  Strike  Notice  for  an  Indefinite Strike  commencing  from 12-10-2020.

It has become a fashion now-a-days that every day two or three Generals/Brigadiers (Retd.) have been tutored to write some ill conceived articles on the performance of Indian Ordnance Factories with any iota of truth in it.  These systematic campaigns are being carried out with the sole aim of tarnishing the image of Indian Ordnance Factories in the eyes of not only the Jawans, who have got highest satisfaction level on the reliability of Ordnance Factories Products, but also to turn the general public against it to achieve the selfish agenda of some people within and outside to convert the Indian Ordnance Factories into a Corporation.  These retired Senior Officers of Indian Army, Navy and Air Force tent to forget that every decoration added in their shoulder is also the result of hard-work, dedication of the employees of Indian Ordnance Factories all these years in supplying high quality and precision weaponry, making the Indian Armed Forces to succeed in all the misdemeanours of our adversaries.

They should also not forget that many of our employees have also been martyred in the line of their duty in all these years in equipping them with precision weaponry.

It is astonishing that some people are out to brandies the Defence Civilian Employees of Ordnance Factories and their Trade Unions as unpatriotic for giving notice to the Government for an indefinite strike to achieve the genuine demands of the employees.  In this connection we wish to state that the strike notice was give as the last resort and as per the relevant rules to redress our genuine grievances.
We were also very categorical that in the event of any emergency situation because of the prevailing tense situation in our border we will defer the strike. In fact,  the  Federations  in  the  meeting held with  the  Secretary,  Defence  Production on  28-7-2020  has  categorically  assured  that  “ Even  though  the  Federations have  planned  for  strike  against  the  injustice,  they  will stop  all strike  in  case  of  National Security  and  would  work  day  and  night  whole  heartedly”  the  Federations  reiterate  the  same.

It is our pride that even when the entire industry was shut due to lockdown, it is only the employees of Ordnance Factories, who come forward to manufacture and supply the much needed PPE items (manufactured for the first time) for the COVID-19 warriors of the country without even caring for their safety. From the above it is amply clear that our patriotism towards the nation is not linked to the stock market, but is commitment towards the Armed Forces and security of the country. We once again reassure the Nation that we will not be in the strike when the Nation’s safety, security and needs of the Armed Forces are at risk. Moreover we do not require the certificate for our patriotism from these disgruntled elements who misused hundreds of soldiers for their house hold and personal work  while in service and after retirement became the agents of Private Corporates against the interest of Ordnance Factories.

Related Articles

Back to top button