Ordnance factory workers begin one month strike in Nagpur

Nagpur: Expressing condemn on the corporatization of the Ordnance Factory (OF), the OF unions have begun a month-long strike in the city from Tuesday. However, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is also reportedly considered to summon the Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA) against the employees participating in the agitation.

The unions are opposing the government’s move of privatization of the ordnance factory. As following which the government department will turn into a public sector undertaking, seeking financial autonomy but on the other hand, also have to maintain profitability on its own.

The unions are saying that since defense forces are the sole customer of the factory’s products, its viability may be hampered after corporatization if the army doesn’t place enough orders. Unions also stressed that instead of changing the structure, steps can be taken to reform the existing organizational set-up. There have been times when there are delays from the ministry’s side on placing the orders.

A letter issued by the OFB to senior general managers heading all the factories says that OF can be covered under ESMA because of an order of the ministry of labour issued on June 2019 covers it under public utility services. Since ordnance factories are covered as a public utility, ESMA can also be invoked after which the strike will become illegal.