Federations Approach 30 Chief Ministers, 12 Political Parties To Garner Support Against EDSO-2021

Unions opposing corporatization of OFB and EDSO-2021 also touch base with 31 MPs of Defence Parliamentary Standing Committee

As a next step of their struggle against EDSO-2021 and Corporatisation of OFB the Defence Employees Federation have now written to 30 Chief Ministers of States, 12 major Political party leaders and 31 MPs who are Members of Defence Parliamentary Standing Committee requesting them to extend support and solidarity to their struggle against EDSO-2021, requesting their support in their struggle against the draconian EDSO-2021 and against the Corporatisation of Ordnance Factories.

www.indiapsu.com has accessed a copy of the joint letter and the same is being published here for the the benefit of the viewers of www.indianpsu.com

Subject : Appeal to extend solidarity and support to the 76,000 Defence Civilian Employees of 41 Ordnance Factories who are fighting against the arbitrary and one sided Government decision to splinter the 41 Ordnance Factories into 7 Non-viable Corporations and also against the draconian Essential Defence Services Ordinance-2021 promulgated by the Government.

Sir / Madam,
You are aware that the Indian Ordnance Factories which is the fourth force of the Defence of our country is the pioneer Defence Industry of our country with an history and legacy of 220 years in equipping our Armed Forces with state of the Art technology Defence Equipments. These factories located in different states of the country manufacture all types of Defence equipments such as Tanks, Guns, Rifles, Ammunition, Vehicles, Troop Comfort items, Parachutes, Optical and electronic equipments etc., These factories have played a vital role in indigenising the Defence production for achieving Self Reliance in Defence production. All the wars fought by India after Independence including the Bangladesh liberation war, Kargil war etc. were won by the Indian Army by using the equipments and Weapons manufactured by the Indian Ordnance Factories. All along these Factories are directly under the control of Government of India as a Departmental Industrial Organisation. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic last year when the
country was in acute shortage of PPE’s required for the frontline warriors to fight against the spread of COVID-19, it was the Ordnance Factories and its employees who worked day and night even during the lockdown / curfew and produced and supplied PPE’s to the health workers.

The present Government instead of recognizing the role played by the Ordnance Factories have targeted these factories and in violation of the previous written assurances and agreements with the Federations given by late Defence Ministers George Fernandez, Jaswant Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, Manohar Parrikar and Shri. A.K. Antony, under the pretext of COVID-19 relief package announced on the 16 th of May 2020 that the 41 Ordnance Factories would be converted into Corporation, so as to subsequently privatise these National Assets. The entire workforce of the Ordnance Factories, their Trade Unions, Federations and Associations have rejected this decision of the Government and have submitted innumerable number of presentations to the Honourable Prime Minister, Defence Minister, National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Defence Parliamentary Standing Committee and to all the Members of the Committee of Empowered Group of Ministers constituted for this purpose. However since there was no fruitful result, we decided to go for an Indefinite Strike w.e.f. 12-10-2020.

The CLC (C) intervened and a conciliation settlement was reached on 9-10-2020 in the presence of CLC(C) and the strike was deferred. While the Federations and the Trade Unions implemented the agreement by deferring the strike and maintained harmonious Industrial relations so that the supply chain to the Armed Forces is not disturbed. However it is regretted to inform to you that the Department of Defence Production violated the conciliation settlement and took all steps to implement the Government decision. Our complaint made to the CLC(C) against the violation of the conciliation settlement by the DDP has been thrown to the dust bin. On 15-6-2021 the CLC(C) in a hurried manner in the absence of the 3 major recognised Federations concluded the conciliation proceedings so as to enable the Government to take its decision on 16-6-2021 to splinter the Ordnance Factories into 7 non viable Corporations which is going to have serious impact on the Defence Preparedness of our country and also leaving the Armed Forces to the mercy of private Corporates for their requirements.

The motive of the Government to slice the 41 Ordnance Factories into 7 pieces is only to make it sick within a few years and then to close it down / hand it over to private sector. Already more than 275 products being manufactured in the Ordnance Factories are declared as Non Core and handed over to private sector. The 41 Ordnance Factories are integrated with each other and one depends upon other for raw material, components and equipments etc., Breaking up the Ordnance Factories into 7 pieces is going to affect the Defence preparedness. The Government says it has taken this decision to improve efficiency, accountability and autonomy. However there is no roadmap for this and no action plan also, whereas the Federations have given alternative / robust proposals to the Government for further improving the efficiency of the Ordnance Factories in the present Government setup itself. However none of our proposal was considered and Government has arbitrarily decided to liquidate the National Assets.

Apart from the above the Defence Civilian Employees of Ordnance Factories are recruited as Central Government Employees through competitive examinations under Article 309 of the Indian Constitution and are paid from the consolidated fund of India. The present Government decision will change their status which is illegal and these employees will be thrown out of job within a short period. It appears with corporatization and that too as 7 Corporations at this critical juncture when a two front war is a distinct possibility the Government is tinkering with the Ordnance Factories by demoralising its rank and file. We don’t see any great efficiency as Government is propagating into organically manifest at the executive management level because they are christened as Corporations / DPSUs. Traditionally and historically the Ordnance Factories has been a smooth well oiled machine for a steady of production and also well prepared for surges.

Now with the dissolution of OFB there is going to be a total mess and confusion galore when factories will be forced to compete against each other to get orders on the basis of quotes and prices and not on the basis of capacity build up over a period of time. A large amount of human energy will be lost in all these frictions.

Is it in the interest of Army to lose a captive producer which can be considered its own and which it can as a matter of right order to change quantities and priorities straight short notice without wasting time on commercial negotiations and political pressure. The Ordnance Factories may be called upon at short notice for increasing production and Ordnance Factories have proved with distinction and honour when they were called upon to do so. Can the present Government tinker this and liquidate this which ultimately the Nation and the Indian Army has to pay.

Therefore we appeal to your good self to consider all the above vital points referred by us against the ill advised and ill conceived decision taken by the present Government and kindly extend your support and solidarity to our struggle demanding the Government to withdraw its decision of slicing the Ordnance Factories in to 7 Corporations and to continue the Ordnance Factories in the existing Government set up and as employees we are prepared for whatever improvement required for the strengthening and development of the Ordnance Factories. We also request you to kindly extend your support for the Indefinite strike which we have decided to commence from 26-7-2021.

In the above mentioned circumstances the Government of India, instead of settling the Industrial dispute raised by us, either through negotiations with the Federations of the Defence Civilian employees or through legal provisions under the Industrial Dispute Act 1947 to refer the dispute for adjudication/arbitration have promulgated a draconian Ordinance in the Name of Essential Defence Services Ordinance 2021. This Ordinance has taken away all the democratic, constitutional and legal rights from the 4 lakh Defence Civilian Employees and also the employees of DPSUs and even Private Sector. According to the EDSO 2021 any employee who participate in the strike can be dismissed from service without Inquiry. Similarly employees who call the strike or who participate in the strike can be imprisoned up to 2 years. The 5 Federations have unanimously decided to fight back against this draconian Ordinance promulgated by the President of India. A joint resolution adopted in this regard and forwarded to the Defence Minister is enclosed for your kind ready reference.

In view of all the above developments, we request you to kindly extend support and solidarity in our struggle against Corporatisation of Indian Ordnance Factories and withdrawal of the draconian EDSO 2021. We expect a positive and favourable response from your honour.

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