Nagpur: After unions in ordnance factories called off the indefinite strike against corporatization and agreed for a conciliatory process, the government appears to be continuing with its plans side by side. Rather, the whole process of corporatization is being implemented in an urgency. This has left the unions miffed.
In a letter issued on March 15, joint secretary (land systems) Puneet Agrawal has asked the principal controller accounts of ordnance factory board (OFB) to urgently finalize the commercial accounts for the fiscal. The letter clearly says that accounts of each of the OFB units need to finalized soon considering the decision to corporatize the ordnance factory board (OFB).
The letter says, “It is learnt that normally accounts are finalized after 3 to 4 months of financial year ending. However, for the year ending on March 2021, the process needs to be done faster to facilitate corporatization as decided by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).”
The secretary has requested the principal controller of accounts to personally look into the matter and also pool in extra resources if required.
The union representatives told TOI that this is a clear violation of section 33 (1) of the Industrial Disputes Act abiding to which unions had called off the indefinite strike. The strike was supposed to start from October 12 last year.
However, before that the three unions called off the strike and agreed for conciliatory talks with the government. Till then, the government too was expected to put its plans on hold, said the union leaders.
This was under section 33 (1) of the Industrial Disputes Act. An alternate proposal instead of corporatization has also been submitted by the unions to the government.
“We have already highlighted instances of violation of section 33 (1). Now, the unions will be meeting again and also take up the issue with central labour commissioner,” said C Srreekumar of All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF), a left-based union. He said the unions may also consider the strike option if the government continues with its stance.
In a joint email sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence ninister Rajnath Singh, the three unions said that March 18, which happens to be the 220th ordnance factory day, is being observed as save ordnance factory day.
The unions have been opposing corporatization saying that it would be the first step towards privatizing the ordnance factories. Once a public corporation, the factories will have to sustain on their own resources. The unions argue that due to the fluctuating nature of orders by armed forces, it may not be easy for the factories to be financially sustainable.