EXCLUSIVE : Revamping Of Ordnance Factories – AIDEF, INDWF & BPMS Submit Proposal To Government of India

The 80,000 strong Defence Civilian Employees of the 41 Ordnance Factories are on warpath against policy decision taken by Modi Government to Corporatize Ordnance Factories

Posted : 21 November, 2020
Author : Vivek Avasthi
EXCLUSIVE : Revamping Of Ordnance Factories – AIDEF, INDWF & BPMS Submit Proposal To Government of India

Government’s  use  to  appoint  Expert  Committees,  Consultants  and  Commissions  for  various  purposes  by  spending  crores  of  Tax Payers  money.  Many  of  these  reports  submitted by these  Committees  either  goes  to  the cold  storage  or  dustbin  since  majority  of  their  recommendations  are  un-implementable  or  if  implemented  will have  serious  repercussions.  But  here  is  one  report  which  is jointly  submitted  by  the  3 Federations (AIDEF, INDWF & BPMS) which  is  so  scientific,  logical  and  concrete  for  the  internal  restructuring  of  the  Ordnance  Factories  to  continue  as  a  Government  Organisation. On  going  through  their  document  one can  understand  that they  have  proved  that  the  general  thinking  of  the Government  and  Employers  who  generally  believe  that  Trade  Unions  are  only  for  making  demands  for  their  members  and  they  cannot  give  constructive  suggestions  for  revamping  an  Industry  is  totally  wrong.  

The  80,000  strong Defence  Civilian  Employees  of  the  41  Ordnance  Factories  under the  Ministry  of  Defence  are  on  a  warpath  against  the policy  decision  taken  by  the  Modi  Government  to  Corporatize  the Ordnance  Factories. The  Employees  in  the  Strike  Ballot  have  given  a mandate  that  they  will not  accept  Corporatization  since  they know  that  the  Corporatization  of  OFB  will ultimately  result  in  privatisation  or  closure.  Therefore  they  were  preparing  for  an  Indefinite  Strike.  An  historical  Trade Union  unity  of  the  left  based  AIDEF, Congress  based  INDWF  and  RSS  based  BPMS  was  forged  and  they  are  jointly  fighting  against  the  decision  of  the  Government to Corporatize the  OFB.  During  the  conciliation  proceedings  held  in  the  presence  of  the Chief  Labour  Commissioner (Central) on 9-10-2020 a  settlement  was  reached  since  the  CLC  directed  the  Government  to  start  negotiations  with  the Federations  on  their  strike  demands,  and  accordingly  the Federations  deferred  their  strike.  On  29-10-2020  the  Secretary (DP) convened  a  meeting  of  the  3 Federations  and after  3  hours  discussion,  since  the  Federations  were  forcefully  sticking  to  their  demand  to  withdraw  Corporatization  of  OFB,  the  Secretary (DP)  ultimately  asked  the  Federations  to  give  alternative  viable  proposals  for  improving  the  performance  of  Ordnance Factories  in  the  Government  setup  itself.  While  the Government  give  time  limit  for  years  together  for  the  Expert  Committees  appointed  by  them, but  the  Defence  Federations  were  given only  20  days  time for  submitting  a  comprehensive  Report. Without  spending  a  single  penny  from  the  Treasury  of  the Government,  the  Government  has  got  an  excellent Report  submitted  by  the Trade  Unions of  Defence  Employees.  It  is  not  so  easy  for  the Government  to  reject  the  report  submitted  by  the  Federations. The  Federations  in  their letter  to  the Secretary (DP)  has  stated  that  within  this  short  period  they  held  wide  range  of  consultations  with  various  experts  including  retired  Army  Officers  and  Ordnance  Factory  Officers  and  ofcourse  their  own  Unions  and even  the  grass root  level workers  for  formulating  this  wonderful  report. 

In  their  report  which  is  titled  as  “PROPOSAL  OF  AIDEF, INDWF & BPMS  FOR  RESTRUCTURING  OF  THE  ORDNANCE  FACTORIES  AS  AN  ALTERNATIVE  TO  CORPORATIZATION” they  have  dealt  in  detail on the  following  topics. 

1.    OFB – An  Industrial  Organisation  with  product  mix  and  Technology.
2.    OFB  Organisation.
3.    Production  targets  and  growth  of  Ordnance Factories.
4.    Average  Labour  cost,  Material  Cost  and  overhead  expenditure  including  IFD.
5.    Manpower  profile.
6.    Manpower  requirement  analysis.
7.    Some  important  proposals  about  manpower  rationalization  to  reduce  cost.
8.    Exploitation  and  misuse  of  Contract  Labourers.
9.    Cost  reduction  in other  areas.
10.    Integration  of  Finance  and  Accounts  function.
11.    Existence of OEF  Group  of  Factories
12.    Quality  related  issues.
13.    Abolition  of  certain  Establishments /  Institutions  under  OFB.
14.    Skill  and  knowledge  upgrading  training. 
15.    Percentage  of  Budget  allocation  to  OFB  by  the Government.
16.    Parliamentary  Standing committee  recommendations  on  Ordnance  Factories.
17.    Thrust  on  R&D  and  Development  of  new  products.
18.    Selection /  Appointment  of  General  Managers,  Board  Members  and  Chairman.
19.    Role of customer especially  in  the  area  of  Repair / Maintenance / Overhauling  of  the  equipments.
20.    Fixing  of  Accountability  and  Responsibility.
21.    Empowerment  of  OFB  in  personnel  matters. 
22.    Functional  Autonomy  and  structure  of  OFB.
23.    Strengthening  of  OFB  Establishment  at  Delhi.
24.    Workers  participation  in  Management.

While  concluding their  report  the  Federations have  categorically stated  that  the  Government should  consider  all the  reasonable,  viable,  scientifical   and  logical  suggestions given  by  one  of  the  major  stakeholders  of  OFB  i.e.,  the Employees  and  the Government should  show  a  bit  more  grace,  and  make  the  employees  willing  partners  in this  major  exercise  of  re-organisation  of  OFB  as  an  alternate  to  Corporatization. The  Federations  have  also  stated  that  the  implementation  of  their  proposal  will ultimately  make  the  OFB  a  total  “Atmanirbhar” within the  Government  setup  itself.  also  believe  that  the authorities  in  the  Department  of Defence  production  will take  pain  to  go through  the  joint  report  and  advice  their  political  bosses  to  give an opportunity  to the  employees  to  implement  their  own  recommendations  and  prove  that  even  without  Corporatization  the  Ordnance  Factories  can  perform  as  a world  class  leader  and  solution  provider  in  Defence  manufacturing  for  our  Indian  Armed  Forces.  The Federations  have  reminded  the  bureaucrats about the  advice  given  by  Prime  Minister  Narendra  Modi while  dealing  with  formulation  of  Public  Policies. The  PM  while  addressing  the  officers’ Trainees  of  Indian  Civil  Services  in  the  2nd  edition  of  the  Integrated  Foundation  Course “Aarambh” on  31-10-2020 , gave the following advise.

“the  PM  said  that  the Govt.  would  not  run  with  a  top – down  approach.  He said  that  the  inclusion  of  the  public  for  whom  the  policies  are  drafted  is  very  important.  He  added the  people  are  the  driving  force  behind  the  Government”.   

Since the employees are the driving force behind the OFB, believe that the report submitted by the Employees Federations will get its due recognition from the Government.  interviewed C.Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF and one of the architect of document submitted to the Secretary(DP) and asked him about the future course of action by the Federations. C.Srikumar stated that even though a Secretary(DP) has given only 20 days time for submission of their report, inspite of the Deewali holidays and other difficulties they have worked day and night for completing this task within the time limit given to them. He expressed his confidence that, since it is a very convincing document Secretary(DP) will forward the same to the Empowered Group of Ministers with his recommendations for implementation. However the struggle of the Federations will be now for implementation of their report by the Government. He further added that their document is worth than any other document submitted by various so called Experts and if the Government use its wisdom to implement this report it will go a long way for converting the OFB Organisation in to a world class Defence manufacturer and solution provider to the Armed Forces within the government setup itself.