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OFB Corporatisation – Stick To Settlement, Federations Warn Ministry of Defence

All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF) threatens of legal action and strike if visit of private consultants to Ordnance Factories continue

Posted : 25 October, 2020
Author : Deepak Joshi
OFB Corporatisation – Stick To Settlement, Federations Warn Ministry of Defence

The Federations of the Defence Civilian Employees are a logger heads with the Ministry of
Defence on the settlement reached in the conciliation proceedings held under the Chairmanship
of the Chief Labour Commissioner(C) on 09/10/2020 on the Strike demands of the Federations
that OFB should not be Corporatised. After the settlement reached between the Federations and
the Ministry of Defence on 09/10/2020, the Federations have deferred their Indefinite Strike.

However, the Federations are very much annoyed and upset with the decision of the Government
to proceed with the working of the Consultants M/s.KPMG and M/s.Khaitan. The representatives of
the Consultants attempted to visit the Bengal Group of Factories and they were not allowed to enter by
the workers the Factory.

Later,, www.indianpsu.com came to know that the Factory management took them in the General Manager’s Car
to the Factory during the Night hours. The Federations have directed all their Unions to not allow the 
Consultants inside the Factories. In the meantime on a letter submitted by the Federations on 15/10/2020
to the Secretary(DP) requesting for honestly implementing the settlement reached and to honour the 
bindings as an Employer under Sec.33(1) of the ID Act 1947 was responded by the Ministry of Defence. 

The Ministry of Defence is of the view that they have not violated the agreement and that the
functioning of the Consultant in any way is not going to change the service conditions of the
Employees.

On receipt of the MOD letter dtd. 20/10/2020, the Federations also strongly responded
and they have told the Government that as a Model Employer the Govt. should adhere to its
commitments given during the conciliation proceedings and settlement reached on 21/08/2019
and 09/10/2020. The www.IndianPsu.com accessed a copy of the Joint letter written by the
AIDEF, INDWF & BPMS to the Secretary(DP), Department of Defence production. The contents
of the letter is published here:-

Sub: Conciliation proceedings held by CLC(c) on 09/10/2020 – compliance of Sec.33(1) of
the Industrial Dispute Act 1947

Ref: DDP Lt. No.1(5)/2019/OFB/DP(Pig-V), dtd. 20/10/2020

Sir,

In response to your above letter, your kind attention is drawn to the settlement reached in
the conciliation proceedings held on 09/10/2020, under the Chairmanship of CLC(c). The relevant
portion is reproduced here.

“It is agreed by both the parties that in respect of strike demands dtd. 04/08/2020,
during the pendency of ongoing conciliation proceedings, the Employer will abide by
provisions of Sec. 33(1) of ID Act1947 and Unions will not proceed on proposed strike on
12/10/2020”.

From the above it is amply clear that with regard to all the 3 strike demands, the DDP as
Employer has to abide by the provisions of 33(1) of the ID Act 1947. According to 33(1)a “in
regard to any matter connected with the dispute, alter to the prejudice of the workmen
concerned in such dispute, the condition of service applicable to them immediately before
the commencement of such proceeding.”

In the instant case “in regard to any matter connected with the dispute,” means the
dispute raised by the Federations/Unions is about the Government’s arbitrary decision in violation
of the previous agreements to Corporatising the Ordnance Factories, which ultimately will result
in the change of the service conditions of the employees. Therefore with regard to this dispute of
Corporatising the Ordnance Factories, the Government cannot proceed further on the
Corporatisation matter pending the conciliation proceedings.

Apart from the above, your attention is also drawn to the conciliation proceeding held on
21/08/2019 under the Chairmanship of the CLC©, wherein it was decided that “there should be
bilateral discussions at the level of senior officers i.e. Secretary(DP), so that all concerns
expressed by the Office Bearers can be properly heard and discussed.” Pending this
settlement and the non conclusion of the conciliation proceedings of 21/08/2019, in violation of
this the Government have decided to Corporatise the Ordnance Factories.

Therefore it is once again reiterated that the Government as a model Employer should
adhere to its commitments given during the conciliation proceedings and settlement reached on
21/08/2019 and 09/10/2020.

www.indianpsu.com contacted C.Srikumar General Secretary of AIDEF and asked him
what is their further course of action, if Govt. continued to proceed with implementation of
Corporatisation of OFB. He responded that it is a mischief and misinterpretation of the provisions
of Sec.33(1) of the ID Act 1947 by the DDP. The Federations have brought this fact to the notice
of CLC(C) in whose presence the settlement was reached. Depending upon the response of the
DDP and the CLC(C), the Federations will decide about the future course of action both 
by restoring to strike and legal actions as it deemes fit.