Post Corporatisation Of OFB, Neither Factories Nor Employees Will Be Protected

80,000 employees of BSNL were forced to take VRS even though it has got more than 10 crores customers, opines C.Srikumar, General Secretary AIDEF

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh assured the Defence Employees Federations on 16/7/21 that post corporatisation of Ordnance Factories interest of employees will be protected. However when the Federations demanded a white Paper / road map for the same it was not given to them. Yesterday, on a question asked in Rajyasabha by CPI MP Binoy Viswam the Govt again reiterated that the employees interest will be protected. However, with a rider that for 2 years only such protection will be there which means with in 2 years they all should get absorbed in the new Corporation. asked C. Srikumar General Secretary, AIDEF, about his reaction on this written reply given in Parliament. His reaction was sharp and critical about the vague assurances being given by the Government and stated the following :-
1) The Govt is neither interested to protect the 41 Ordnance Factories nor its employees. If it is so what is the need for destroying this strategic industry and that too splintering in to 7 non-viable Corporations.

2) For the survival of any Industry/Factory its order book should be full. However, by declaring 275 products as non-core and handing over the same to private sector, 25 Ordnance Factories are struggling for workload. Army has stopped placing indent on the Ordnance Factories through nomination basis. The Ordnance Factories have to compete with private sectors which is not possible.

3) The result will be, after corporatization Factories will struggle without any work and it will become sick enabling the Govt. to complete its agenda for disposing of the land and assets of these Factories.

4) In the latest Defence Procurement and Export Promotion Policy document it is clearly spelled out that all Defence PSUs will be disinvested. The Ordnance Factories will be the first target after Corporatisation.

5) Govt. has already declared that there will be only 4 PSUs in strategic sectors. In Defence, there are already 8 PSUs, 8 + 7 will become 15 PSUs, which 4 will remain as PSU, only the Govt. will decide.

6) The employees are recruited as Central Govt. Employees under Article -309 of the Constitution and they have got every right to continue as Central Govt. Employees.

7) The Govt. says that the employees will be on deemed deputation for 2 years without any deputation allowance. What will happen after 2 years. The employees will be asked to give option either to get absorbed in the new Corporation or to take VRS or to transfer their name to surplus cell being maintained by the DOP&T. Once their name is transferred to surplus cell all the service benefits like career progression, seniority etc. will be taken away and have to face displacement from the present location of posting etc. Then how the Govt. is telling that the employees interest will be protected.

8) Suppose the employees opt for absorption in the new Corporation, the Govt. will not pay salary for the employees from the consolidated fund of India. If the Corporation earns money, then the corporation may pay salary to the Employees. Even today all of us know that there are many PSUs where the employees are not getting salary itself for months together.

9) The Govt. says Pension will be paid to the employees by the Govt., but it will be only for the employees governed under Old Pension Scheme. More than 40,000 employees are in the New Pension Scheme. As far as they remain as Govt. Employees they have got a right to fight for restoration of the Old Pension Scheme for them. Once they become the employee of the Corporation that right also will go away. We fought with the Government and
achieved Gratuity and Family Pension for them. We are now fighting for GPF for them. Once they become Corporation Employees then all these Rules will not be applicable to them.

10) Today the Govt. is contributing 14% of the wages to the NPS and the employees is contributing 10% of the wages to the NPS. This 14% is only for Central Govt. Employees. Once they become Corporation employees, the Corporation may contribute only 10% and that too if Corporation have money with them.

11) There are so many other facilities which the Central Govt. employees fought for a period of more than 70 years and achieved. All these rights will go away.

12) Today the govt. will give hundreds of assurances, all these assurances will wither away once the employees got absorbed in new Corporation. We have got assurances of more than 5 Defence Ministers that Ordnance Factories would not be corporatized. What happened to those assurances. It has been thrown away in the Indian Ocean by the Present Govt. 13) In the past Defence Ministers have given written assurances that there will be full capacity utilization of all the Ordnance Factories by providing sufficient workload. Where these assurance have gone.

14) In the past written assurances were given that without the concern of the Federations, Corporatisation will not be effected. Where are those assurances.

Therefore the 76000 employees of Ordnance Factories are not ready to accept these type of assurances. Even in the same Rajya Sabha to a question raised by former CPI(M) MP Tapan Sen, the Govt. assured that there is no proposal for Corporatising the Ordnance Factories. Govt. assurances have got only this much value, assurances are given for time being to suit their conveniences, afterwards these assurances will be vanished. Hence the Defence Civilian Employees will continue and intensify their struggle against EDSO-2021 and Corporatisation decision of the Government, because they have got bitter experiences of the Govt. assurances. I also would like to say that when the NPS was introduced by the then NDA Govt, in the National Council(JCM) the Govt. assured that pension from NPS will not be less than Pension under the Old Pension Scheme. Today, when the minimum basic pension under the Old Pension Scheme is Rs.9000 + Dearness Relief, in the New Pension Scheme it is only Rs.4000/- and there is no Dearness Relief. The employees of
Ordnance Factories are not prepared to be get cheated by these type of vague assurances.

Before I conclude, I want to remind your viewers that more than 80,000 employees of BSNL have been forced to take VRS. The BSNL is struggling to survive even though it has got more than 10 crores customers, whereas the Ordnance Factories have only 1 customer i.e. the Government/Army and they are not going to place any indent to the Ordnance Factories. No much Management knowledge or economic knowledge is required to understand what will be the fate of these non- viable 7 corporations.

Views expressed here are those of C. Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation

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