The Federations of Ordnance Factory Employees have intensified their efforts to oppose the Modi Government's decision to corporatize 41 Ordnance Factories. Their relentless fight against this move has garnered support from various trade unions and sparked discussions at the highest levels of government.
The federations have conveyed their concerns to Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, highlighting the adverse effects of corporatization. They argue that the Ordnance Factories have struggled to cope with their workload since the transition, resulting in reduced bonuses for employees in the newly formed corporations. Additionally, the armed forces have increasingly turned to the private sector for work orders, bypassing the Ordnance Factories. The deputation period for employees has been extended due to the challenges faced by these newly formed corporations, which are also struggling to establish their HR policies.
In response to these issues, the federations are calling for the withdrawal of corporatization and are urging the government to publish a notification to maintain the 70,000 employees as Central Government employees within the 7 Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) until their retirement. However, the government has remained silent on this matter.
In light of these developments, ten central trade unions, including AITUC, HMS, CITU, and INTUC, have collectively written a letter to Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, urging him to reverse the corporatization of Ordnance Factories and halt the privatization of DRDO, among other concerns.
Notably, the INTUC Federation, which had previously supported corporatization and sought a government package for employees to transition to the newly formed companies, has now aligned with the left trade unions in opposing the move. When asked about this change of stance, C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF, emphasized their consistent opposition to corporatization, citing its potential to harm Ordnance Factories and national defense preparedness. He noted that their predictions have materialized, with the army increasingly favoring the private sector and Ordnance Factories experiencing a decline in their order books.
Srikumar vowed to continue the fight until corporatization is reversed, stressing the importance of preserving DRDO, Ordnance Factories, and the broader defense industry. AITUC, HMS, CITU, LPF, and other left central trade unions have steadfastly supported this struggle from the outset. Despite INTUC's initial support for corporatization in discussions with Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, they have now joined the chorus of voices calling for its withdrawal.