Employees of Ordnance Factory and Tiruchi and Heavy Alloy Penetrator Project Factory have expressed their solidarity with the call given by the All India Defence Employees’ Federation (AIDEF) for a month-long strike from August 20 in protest against the move by the Central Government to corporatise 41 ordnance factories.
The Indian National Defence Workers Federation and the Bharatiya Prathiraksha Mazdoor Sangh have also served the strike notice on Ministry of Defence, AIDEF General Secretary C. Srikumar said.
The trade unions apprehend that corporatisation is the first step towards privatisation. Moreover, it is not in the interest of the country’s defence, he said.
The previous Defence Ministers had assured that the ordnance factories will not be corporatised, he pointed out.
The three federations had represented to the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh opposing the directive given to the Secretary, Defence Production, to forward a Cabinet note for converting the Ordnance Factory Board into Ordnance Factory Corporation Limited, as a company registered under the Companies Act.
“Since there has been no response from the Government, the Federations and the unions served strike notice on August 1, for commencing the month-long strike from August 20”, Mr. Srikumar said.
The ordnance factories depend only on the Indian Army. Already, the Central Government had taken away more than 275 products manufactured in the ordnance factories and handed them over to private sector.
Citing the instance of BSNL, Mr. Srikumar said the policy of privatisation will have serious impact on the existence of ordnance factories.
Demanding withdrawal of the move to corporatise the ordnance factories, Mr. Srikumar said the Ministry must allot salary budget separately for the ordnance factories so that the Army will be in a position to procure items at a competitive cost.