New Delhi, October 5: Amid smearing tensions with China at the Linc of Actual Control (LAC), employees of India's arms manufacturer Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from October 12. The decision to go on an indefinite strike was announced following a strike ballot in June. Major federations of the defence manufacturing trade unions and employees from 41 ordnance factories and other units of OFB in India have been opposing the corporatisation of OFB. KPMG-led Consortium to Assist in Ordnance Factory Board Corporatisation.
The call for the strike is given by All India Defence Employees’ Federation (AIDEF) of the Left unions, Bhartiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh (BPMS), an arm of RSS-affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and Indian National Defence Workers’ Federation (INDWF), affiliated to Indian National Trade Union Congress. These federations represent around 85 per cent workers across OFB units. The Ministry of Defence (MoD), in a letter to these federations, has termed the strike "invalid and illegal". Ordnance Factory Board Corporatised, Not Privatised; Will be Listed on Stock Market: Nirmala Sitharaman in 4th Trance of Economic Package.
"It is unfortunate that the notice has been issued by relying on ‘assumptions and apprehensions’ that are devoid of any actual, proper or factual reasons. It appears that ‘reservations’ are being unilaterally expressed towards the corporatisation of the OFB that is somehow being assumed to cause ‘adverse effects’ to the status of the employees working in the ordnance factories," read the letter, as reported by The Indian Express.
The Department of Defence Production on July 6, 2020, had issued an Expression of Interest cum Request for Proposal (EOI cum RFP) for engaging a consultancy agency for the corporatisation of OFB. Besides, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route will be raised from 49 per cent to 74 per cent.