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
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. www.indianpsu.com 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, www.indianpsu.com believe that the report submitted by the Employees Federations will get its due recognition from the Government.
www.indianpsu.com 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.