Unions Demand Legal Action Against Secretary(DP) For Violation Of Conciliation Settlement

The Trade Unions of Defence Civilian Employees and the Department of Defence Production is in logger heads. The DDP is moving very fast to implement the Corporatisation of Ordnance Factories, even though the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has cautioned the Defence Ministry to “weigh the pros and cons in favour of OFB before taking a decision to corporatize the Ordnance Factories”. www.indianpsu.com had earlier informed our readers that the government has decided to hand over the Ordnance Factory Hospitals to ESIC and the Schools to Ministry of Education. The teams of ESIC attempted to inspect the Hospitals at Ordnance Factory Medak, Ordnance Factory Badmal, Ordnance Factory Khamaria, Gun Carriage Factory, Jabalpur & Vehicle Factory Jabalpur. The Federations in their alternative proposal has proposed to reduce the overhead cost and to continue the Ordnance Factories in Govt. set up itself, hospitals can be handed over to CGHS and Schools can be handed over to Schools in the Corporation set up and not in the government setup. The workers and their Trade Unions protested against the ESIC team and they were not allowed to conduct the inspection. There is a total labour unrest in all the Ordnance Factories. It is now understood that the Unions are going to make it a public movement. Moreover the Unions in two states where 10 Ordnance Factories are located (West Bengal & Tamil Nadu) have already started approaching Kendriya Vidyalaya. However the Govt. is very cleverly washing of the Hospitals and the the political parties to extend their support for their agitation against Corporatisation of OFB.

In this backdrop today the three recognized Federations of the Employees of Ordnance Factories have openly come out and lodged a statutory complaint against the Secretary(DP). In their complaint they have dealt in detail  how the Ministry of Defence and the DDP is blatantly violating the conciliation settlement and Sec. 33(1) of the Industrial Dispute Act 1947. They have demanded for stringent action against the Secretary(DP) for this violation. The joint letter dtd. 31/03/2020 which was mailed today was accessed by www.indianpsu.com and the main contents are given below for information of our readers.

It is understood that the Federations had an internal discussion and they are also planning to revive the Indefinite strike, since the government has violated the conciliation settlement.

1) On receipt of a copy of the Strike Notice, the Chief Labour Commissioner(C) convened the conciliation proceedings under ID Act 1947 on 09/10/2020 and after discussion the following settlement was reached. “After prolonged discussions, it is agreed that since the matter is sensitive and require discussions and deliberations at the highest level of government, therefore representative of Employer, Shri Puneet Agarwal, JS, said that the meeting with Secretary, Defence Production and EGOM can be arranged so the unions can put forward their issues and grievances pertaining to the disputes before them. Union representatives stated that till the pendency of conciliation proceedings in ongoing Industrial Disputes, no change should be made by the Employer. It is agreed by both the parties that in respect of strike demands dated 04/08/2020, during the pendency of ongoing conciliation proceedings, the Employer will abide by the provisions of Sec. 33(1) of Industrial Dispute s Act 1947 and Unions will not proceed on proposed strike from 12/10/2020”. The DDP was represented in the conciliation proceedings by JS(LS) of DDP and other officials. 

2) In accordance with the above conciliation agreement/settlement, the Federations and the affiliated Unions have deferred the Indefinite Strike. 

3) While the Federations and the Trade Unions at the Unit Level are fully implementing the conciliation settlement, the DDP has started violating the settlement. On 08/10/2020 the DDP issued a letter allowing the consultancy firms to proceed with its work for recommending the modalities for implementation of Corporatisation. When the Federations came to know about this we protested against this and addressed a letter to Secretary(DP) on 15/10/2020 and requested him that the Government should not proceed with any activity including the proceedings of the consultancy in the matter of Corporatisation of OFB and the status quo as on 23/08/2019 (the date of first conciliation with CLC(C) and the settlement reached with DDP should be prevailed). A copy of this letter was also endorsed to the CLC(C). 

4) Since the DDP has not maintained the status quo and have allowed the consultants to proceed with their visit to various Ordnance Factories and to submit their report, the Federations vide letter dated 20/10/2020 have once again protested against this violation of conciliation settlement to the Secretary(DP) and the CLC(C).

5) On 29/10/2020 the Secretary(DP) held a meeting with the Federations and after detailed deliberations the Secretary(DP) asked the Federations to submit an alternative proposal for improving the performance of OFB in the present Government setup itself. Accordingly the Federations submitted an alternative and viable proposal for restructuring of OFB to achieve Rs.30,000 Crore Production target during the next 5 years within the Government setup vide letter dated 20/11/2020. 

6) Secretary(DP) again convened a meeting with the Federations on 05/01/2021 and after discussion on the alternative proposals given by the Federations, the Secretary(DP) desired that the Federations should now submit concrete suggestions that are relevant and feasible in the context of improvement in the autonomy, accountability and efficiency in Ordnance Supply by OFB. Accordingly the Federations on 12/02/2021 submitted a robust proposal for strengthening the OFB in the present Government setup. Copies of all these letters were also endorsed to the CLC(C) also. 

7) Even though the Federations were waiting for the next round of discussion either with Secretary(DP) or with the EGOM in accordance with the conciliation settlement reached in the presence of CLC(C) on 09/10/2020, the Government/DDP has blatantly started violating the entire conciliation settlement by resorting to the following:-

i) On 02/03/2021 an EGOM meeting was held to discuss about the modalities for the implementation of Corporatisation of OFB. The DDP has neither placed the two alternative proposals given by the Federations before the EGOM nor invited the Federations for a meeting with the EGOM in accordance with the conciliation settlement.
ii) On 10/03/2021 MoD have asked all the Ordnance Factories to give a detailed report about the Land holding/surplus land/unutilised land etc., to proceed with the Corporatisation move.
iii) On 24/03/2021 the OFB issued instructions to all the GMs to provide various datas pertaining to the Ordnance Factory Schools with the intention of proceeding with the corporatisation decision.
iv) On 24/03/2021 the OFB issued instruction to all the GMs to provide details about the Ordnance Factory hospitals with the intention of proceeding with the Corporatisation decision.
v) On 26/03/2021 the OFB issued instruction to all the GMs that representatives of Ministry of Health, ESIC, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Education and Department of Defence would be visiting the OF Hospitals and Schools mainly to see the infrastructure and facilities available to explore the feasibility and viability of transferring the existing schools/hospitals of OFB to other Ministries/organisations of the Central Government post Corporatisation of OFB.
vi) On 15/03/2021 the JS(LS) have issued directions to the Principal Controller of Accounts(Fys) stating that the Cabinet Committee on Security has accorded approval to convert Ordnance Factory Board in to one or more than one 100% Government owned Corporate entities registered under the Companies Act 2013 and that the Accounts for the financial year ending 31/03/2021 should be completed in the fastest manner.

8) From all the above developments it is amply clear that the Employer viz., DDP represented by the Secretary(DP) has cheated the workmen and their Trade Unions and also have blatantly violated the conciliation settlement dated 09/10/2020 by ignoring Sec.33(1) of the ID Act 1947, which is binding on the DDP.

9) In view of the facts brought out above, clearly establishing violation of the conciliation settlement by MoD/DDP we request the CLC(C) to kindly proceed in the matter in accordance with the statutory provisions under ID Act 1947.
i) To direct Secretary(DP) to not proceed with the OFB Corporatisation process in accordance with the conciliation settlement of 09/10/2020 and to abide by the provisions of Sec.-33(1) of the ID Act 1947, failing which to take appropriate action against the Employer Viz., Secretary(DP) and the erring officials of DDP for violation of the conciliation settlement dated 09/10/2020 and Sec.33(1) of the ID Act 1947.
ii) To refer the dispute raised by the Federations for adjudication, since the employer is not honouring the conciliation settlement.
iii) The Federations will have the liberty to revive the Indefinite strike, which was deferred due to the conciliation settlement reached on 09/10/2020. 

Sir, we are confident that being the conciliation officer under the ID Act 1947, you will deal the entire matter dispassionately in a judicious manner and take all necessary steps to protect the interest of the labour.

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