Gandhi Jayanti Day – Defence Workers observe Hunger Fast against Corporatisation of Ordnance Factories
A tug of War is on between the Government and the Ordnance Factory workers. Government is firm that OFB will be Corporatised. Empowered Group of Ministers committee chaired by Rajnath Singh will decide whether OFB will become one corporation or multiple corporations. Workers are firm that Corporatisation will kill Ordnance Factories like BSNL. Their Trade Unions are of the firm view that if the Ordnance Factories are destroyed, the major casualty will be the National Security. If Defence production is handed over to Corporates, Such protests were held by defence workers in Trichy, Pune and Avadi today.
Once the Ordnance Factories are not there in the field, then they will dictate the terms on the Armed Forces. Government says that it will be 100% Government entity. The workers are not prepared to believe this assurance of the Government. They says that government has already declared that all PSUs will be privatized and in strategic sector like Defence there will be only 4 PSUs. There are already 9 PSUs in the Defence If OFB becomes a Corporation or multiple corporation, then what will be the future of the OFB corporations.
Government is telling to the employees that their wages and pension will be protected. The employees says that there are only 30% employees in the old Pension Scheme, whose pension will be protected. What will happen to the remaining 70% employees who are under the New Contributory Pension Scheme. The employees further says that already the order book of many Ordnance Factories are not even 50% of the capacity of the Factories. For many items Army is floating tender and is not prepared to allot work load to the Ordnance Factories. Since Ordnance Factories depend on the order from the Army, Navy & Airforce, the Factories will suffer without workload, resulting in the Factories becoming sick.
The Employees quote that more than 400 Private Firms are given licenses and one by one the work which can be performed in the Ordnance Factories are being handed over to the Private Companies. The latest one is the Defence Ministry has placed orders to a private industry for the supply of 10 lakh hand Grenade, when this product can be manufactured in the Ordnance Factories. The Government signed an agreement with the Economic Explosives Ltd., for supplying the Hand Grenades worth Rs.400 Crores, the technology developed by DRDO is handed over to this private firm. A conspiracy is going on against the Osrdnance Factories to tarnish its image and to bring a bad name to the Factory and its work force in the mind of the public when they are planning for an Indefinite strike. In these Articles it is deliberately cited that frequent accidents takes place due to bad ammunitions supplied by the OFB. These authors should understand that reasons for any accidents has multiple reasons and cannot therefore and cannot zero – in on OFB, though it is the easiest route for the Army to take.
The employees with their limited resources are in the battle field. They are being threatened of serious consequences, if they participate in the strike. However the employees who are prepared for any sacrifice is going ahead with their Action Programmes. Today on the day of Gandhi Jayanti, throughout the country the employees observed a one Day Fast in front of Gandhi Statue. Many local political leaders and Trade Union Leaders addressed the workers who sat on Hunger Fast.