Today, the 1st of October, 2022, was celebrated by the 7 corporations in the 41 Ordnance Factories as the Corporation Day. The Defence Minister Rajnath singh delivered a speech on the 30th of September, 2022, to mark the completion of one year of the operations of Ordnance Factories.
In his speech Raksha Manri Rajnath singh claimed that the companies are moving smoothly on the path of progress with full autonomy, efficiency and accountability, while protecting the interests of the employees, which were the days on which the Government took the decision to corporatise the OFB. He also stated that the erstwhile OFB was not able to show profits. Therefore, the Government has corporatised the Ordnance Factories. He also further stated that the Government has been hand holding these companies since the beginning.
The 76000 employees of Ordnance Factories based on the call given by AIDEF, BPMS & CDRA boycotted the Corporation Day Celebrations and attended duty by wearing
Black Badge resulting in a poor show of the Celebrations organised in the Ordnance Factories. To find out the views of the employees with regard to the speech made by the Defence Minister and also with regard to the Corporation Day Celebrations, C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF opined that for the past one year the employees and the Trade Unions are relentlessly fighting against the injustice being metted to the Defence Civilian Employees of Ordnance Factories post corporatisation.
He said tha on 16/07/2021 when the Defence Minister called the Federation for a meeting we categorically opposed the Corporatisation and demanded to withdraw the same.
Refusing to withdraw the Corporatisation the Defence Minister assured us that the Government has plans to hand hold the new DPSUs. Further in a meeting held on
27/08/2021 with the Federations, the then Secretary (DP) also assured that the Government has plans to hand hold these 7 DPSUs through financial and non-financial interventions.
It is very much disappointing for the employees of Ordnance Factories that within one year the Govt. is conveniently forgotten his own assurances. In the speech of the Minister, a rosy picture was given with regard to the workload available in the Ordnance Factories. However, the factual position is totally different. The Troop Comfort Limited which is having 4 Ordnance Factories under its control is having almost Nil workload for the next financial year.
The AIDEF, has submitted various representations in this regard to the Defence Minister and other Higher Authorities in the MoD and DDP. Recently Army has introduced a New Combat digital uniform to the soldiers. OCF Avadi one of the Ordnance Factory under TCL has successfully manufactured hundreds of Uniform and supplied to the Army Units. Instead of placing the work order for these item to the Ordnance Factories, it is understood that the Army Headquarters, have decided to float a Tender inviting quotations from Private Sector also.
Is it the hand holding of the new companies, he asks! Recently many Troop Comfort items supplied by the Private Sector to the Army has been returned back due to poor and substandard quality. How does the Government expect the employees to participate in the Corporation Day Celebrations when the very existence of the Ordnance Factory itself is in stake, quips Srikumar.
He adds that within one year the employees are subjected to different types of hardships. Their pay packet have considerably reduced. The Ordnance Factory Employees are the only Central Government employees who are even now working in a piece rate system and the piece rate is based on the 6 th CPC pay scales, whereas all the Central Government Employees got the benefit of 7th Pay Commission from 01/01/2016. Post Corporatisation accidents in the Ordnance Factories are on the increase. Recently, 6 employees of Ordnance Factory Khamaria were seriously injured in a fire accident while filling the explosives.
Srikumar says that for the past one year, compassionate ground appointment to the dependents of the deceased employees including Covid-19 victims, are not been granted and completely stopped. Even in the matter of bonus, the Ordnance Factory Employees are discriminated. Representations of the Federations are been ignored. Even the demand of the AIDEF, BPMS, CDRA & IOFSOA to issue government orders on the basis of the assurance given by the Government before the Hon’ble High Court that the employees can continue to remain as Government employees/Defence civilian Employees till their reitirement is not yet issued. The 76000 employees, irrespective of their affiliation have jointly boycotted the corporation Day Celebrations today, to express their anger and discontenment.
Can the government close its eyes and claim everything is alright in the Ordnance Factories and the government should instead, open its eyes and atleast maintain its own assurance of hand holding the Ordnance Factories by providing sufficient workload and also by issuing orders as done in the case of Prasar Bharati that the
76000 employees on deemed deputation as on 01/10/2021 will remain as Central Government Employees with all protection till their superannuation and also to settle the other service related matters such as withdrawal of NPS, grant of compassionate appointment, revision of piece rates in 7 th CPC pay scales, steps for preventing accidents in the Ordnance Factories and also for career progression of the employees. In any case the struggle against corporatization will continue without any break- concluded C. Srikumar.
Views expressed here are those of C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF