Center Brings Ordinance Prohibiting Strikes By Ordnance Factory Workers After Threat Of Agitation Against Corporatisation

Center Brings Ordinance Prohibiting Strikes By Ordnance Factory Workers After Threat Of Agitation Against Corporatisation 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

The Narendra Modi government has passed an ordinance on Wednesday (30 June) prohibiting strikes by those engaged in essential defence services.

The move comes after the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) threatened to go on an indefinite strike to protest against the government's move to corporatise the 246-year-old organisation.

Federations and unions representing about 80,000 employees of the OFB have decided to start the agitation against corporatisation on July 26.

Last month, the Union cabinet has cleared the proposal to restructure the OFB into seven separate corporate entities on the lines of the nine existing defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) in the country.

Under this plan, the 41 units currently functional under the OFB will be subsumed under one or the other of the seven new companies.

Each of the seven entities that will emerge will be responsible for a separate sector — ammunition and explosives, vehicles, weapons and equipment, troop comfort items, opto-electronics gear, parachutes and ancillary products.

In 2019, when the government announced its proposal to corporatise the OFB, the organisation had used strikes to scuttle the plan.

In July last year, at the peak of the crisis in eastern Ladakh, three employees’ federations of the OFB were threatening to go on an indefinite strike. The proposed strike was called off only in October, over a month after they were proposed.

The ordinance issued by the government on 30 June will be replaced by a bill in the monsoon session of Parliament this year.

Also Read: Explained: Corporatisation Of The Ordnance Factory Board And Why It Was Needed