OFB Strike: Defence Ministry forms high level committee to dissuade employee unions


OFB Strike: India’s ministry of defence Friday formed a high-level committee under the officers of the department of defence production (DDP) and Indian Army to address the concerns of defence employee unions and officers association about the government’s decision to corporatize Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) factories. The move is aimed at dissuading the employees and officers of the OFB unions from going on an indefinite strike against the Modi government’s move to corporatize the OFB units.

The high-level panel, which is led by VL Kantha Rao, additional secretary in the department of defence production (DPP) and other senior officials of the defence ministry and Indian Army, Friday held its first meeting with the representatives of defence employees through a video link.

The meeting was attended by the representatives of the Confederation of Defence Recognised Associations (CDRA), Indian Ordnance Factories Gazetted Officers Association (IOFGOA), and National Defence Group-B Gazetted Officers Association (NDGBGOA).

VL Kantha Rao committee conveyed the Modi government’s decision to corporatize the Ordnance Factory Board units and invited the comment of the stakeholders.

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OFB Employees threaten indefinite strike

On Wednesday, three defence employees unions, representing nearly 82,000 employees of Ordnance Factory Board, have announced their plan to go on an indefinite strike against the government’s decision announced by the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s under the Self-Reliant India Scheme last month.

The high-powered panel of the ministry of defence invited suggestion from the union and association representatives for safeguarding the interests of employees in terms of wages, salary, retirement benefits, health facilities and other service matters while converting OFB into 100% state owned corporate entities.

The panel also indicated that all the OFB units could be converted into a single corporate entity or there may be more than one corporate entity.

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Defence Ministry Committee to address concern on OFB Corporatization

The High Level Official Committee asked the concerns of the employee associations regarding future orders and budgetary support needed from the government for the new corporate entity.

“The discussions in the meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere,” defence ministry said.

The request of the associations to hold more meetings and joint meetings with all OFB employees’ federations and unions was considered by the Committee and it was assured that the engagement with the Federations and Unions will be continued,” the ministry said.

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OFB Corporatization part of PM Modi’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

As part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat scheme, the Modi government on May 16 announced that it would improve autonomy, accountability and efficiency in ordnance supplies by corporatization of the Ordnance Factory Board.

While CDRA President BK Singh and General Secretary BB Mohanty represented the employee associations, the IOFSGOA was represented by its General Secretary SB Chaubey and General Treasurer MA Siddiqui.

NGDBGOA was represented by its President M Barik and General Secretary Jaigopal Singh.

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