Modi govt to privatize 41 ordnance factories through back door? Indefinite strike from July 19 against move
80000 employees working in different ordnance factories have decided to go on indefinite strike from July 19, if the government does not roll back move
In an unprecedented move, at a time when India is facing challenges on both borders along Pakistan and China, Modi government has principally agreed to privatize as many as 41 ordnance factories through the back door, and against the will of the employees which may hamper production of arms and ammunition, said multiple sources.
Sources told NH that after a meeting chaired by the PM in the second week of June, the government has decided to go ahead with the privatization bid through back channels.
“First, all 41 companies will be dissolved into seven state run corporations then the government will start selling its stake in the companies,” explained one of the sources.
“Liberalizing defence sector tops the list of the agenda for many reasons like ongoing standoff with China, lack of employment and bad economy,” he said.
The government, however, denied the allegations, saying corporations will be run by the government only. As per the plan, employees working in these ordnance factories will be sent on deputation in these corporations for two years. Then a performance review will be done.
Currently, there are eight public sector companies working in the defence sector. The number will go up to 15 after the formulation of seven corporations.
“Opposing the move, unions have decided to go on strike starting July 19 if the government does not listen to employees,” said a union leader.
Commenting on the issue, AITUC General Secretary Amarjeet Kaur told NH that various unions are in process to form a consensus over the strike.
“We are determined to oppose the move firmly. Notice for the strike will be sent by July 8,” said Kaur.
Alleging that Modi government has closed the conciliation proceedings abruptly and submitted a failure report on 15th June, Kaur added, “AITUC condemns this move of the Central Government most emphatically and stands firmly with the Defence Employees in their resolve to defend this precious asset of the nation (the Ordnance Factories) from being robbed by the agents of the Corporates - the Central Government - in broad daylight.”
The Central Government approved the plan to create seven ordinance corporations on June 16.
Not only the Modi government is paving the way for the privatization of the Ordnance factories but branded the right to protest/strike as illegal through an ordinance which has quantified brewing discontent among employees, said Kaur.
Significantly, on 30th June – 15 days after the government decided on merger – an ordinance was promulgated through which strike in ordnance factories has been banned.
Attacking the government, the CPI said, “This is draconian and against the legal right of the employees. This Ordinance is also against the various ILO conventions.”
Urging the government to withdraw the ordinance, start negotiations with the trade unions and reach a settlement, CPI added, “Since the Ordnance Factories are the national assets which cannot be allowed to be closed and sold in the name of corporatizations.”
Published: 02 Jul 2021, 2:20 PM