Tuesday, August 20, 2019

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on August 20, 2019 

C Srikumar, General Secretary, AIDEF - K Gopinathan


As discussions between the Trade Unions and the Centre on the corporatisation of ordnance factories collapsed here on Monday, a month-long general strike called by the three major trade unions will begin in the 41 factories on Tuesday.

The trade unions said their request to stop the corporatisation process was not considered by the Centre, and so the strike will be held as planned.

Secretary of Defence Production Ajay Kumar held discussions with the BMS-supported Bharatiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh (BPMS) and the Confederation of Defence Recognised Associations. The meeting was boycotted by the INTUC-backed Indian National Defence Workers Federation and AITUC-CITU-HMS supported All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF). Another meeting to placate the trade unions may take place on Wednesday.

BPMS general secretary Mukesh Singh told BusinessLinethat in the hour-long meeting, the BPMS tried to convince the Centre that corporatisation of ordnance factories is not required in the interest of the country. “We requested the Centre to stop any further move in this direction. The Secretary of Defence Production, tried to convince us, but, we could not reach any mutual agreement,” he added.
Against corporatisation

AIDEF general secretary C Srikumar said the strike will begin at 6 am on Tuesday. “The government is not prepared to withdraw corporatisation of the ordnance factory board. Around 82,000 employees will commence strike for one month from Tuesday,” he said. He said some officers on the board were trying to break the unity of workers.

“They issued circulars threatening workers. But the workers are in an aggressive mood,” he said. He added that the demand of the trade unions is that the ordnance factories should remain government departments and not be converted as public sector establishments. He said the ordnance factories can function effectively as a departmental organisation like the Indian Railways, ISRO and the Department of Atomic Energy.

The Centre has been using formal and informal methods to reach out to the trade unions. Two meetings were held on August 14 and August 16 with trade union leaders.

“In the meetings, the government was only pleading to withdraw the strike and was not prepared to consider the demand of the Federations and the CDRA to not corporatise the ordnance factories, as well as the alternative proposals given by the Federations to improve the functioning of ordnance factories within the existing structure. Since the government is not prepared to reconsider its decision, the Federations and the CDRA have decided to proceed with the strike,” a joint statement of the three major trade unions said.

Published on August 20, 2019

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