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Defence employees defend strike notice, blast veterans

Defence employees defend strike notice, blast veterans
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Defence employees defend strike notice, blast veterans

Highlights

All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF), Indian National Defence Workers Federation (INDWF) and Bhartiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh (BPMS) have lambasted the netizens and senior army veterans for branding them unpatriotic on social media for their decision to go on an indefinite strike from October 12.

Bengaluru: All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF), Indian National Defence Workers Federation (INDWF) and Bhartiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh (BPMS) have lambasted the netizens and senior army veterans for branding them unpatriotic on social media for their decision to go on an indefinite strike from October 12. The strike is against the corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

"In this connection we wish to state that the strike notice is given as the last resort and as per the relevant rules, to redress our genuine grievances. We are also very categorical that in the event of any emergency because of the prevailing tense situation on our border we will defer the strike. In fact, the Federations in the meeting they had with the Secretary, Defence Production, on July 28, categorically assured that even though the Federations have planned for strike against injustice, they will stop it in case of national security and would work day and night wholeheartedly," C Srikumar, general secretary of the AIDEF said.

The three recognised federations of defence civilian employees have stated that during the lockdown, when industries were shut, the employees of ordnance factories came forward to manufacture and supply the much-needed PPE kits for the Covid-19 warriors in the country without even caring for their safety.

"Our patriotism towards the nation is not linked to the stock market, but is a commitment to the Armed Forces and security of the country. We once again reassure the nation that we will not be on strike when the Nation's safety, security and needs of the Armed Forces are at risk. Moreover, we do not require the certificate for our patriotism from these disgruntled elements who misused hundreds of soldiers for their household and personal work while in service and after retirement became the agents of Private Corporates against the interest of Ordnance Factories," the AIDEF stated.

Srikumar said that the announcement of the corporatisation of the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was against the previous agreements made in the past by the government with the defence civilian employees and also against the written assurance given by previous defence ministers George Fernandez, Pranab Mukharjee, A.K. Antony and Manohar Parrikar that the ordnance factories would not be corporatized since they should remain war reserves.

"However in violation of all these assurances and agreements the government has arbitrarily announced corporatisation of OFB.

In this situation the three Recognized Federations (AIDEF, INDWF and BPMS) have submitted innumerable representations to the President of India, Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Chief of Defence Staff and also to the Chairman of the Defence Parliamentary Standing Committee to reconsider the decision. Since the government is not prepared to listen to the alternative suggestions given by the Federations for improvement of the functioning and performance of Ordnance Factories within the government set-up itself. The Federations after taking a Strike Ballot, wherein 99.9% of the employees have voted for an indefinite strike," the federations in a release stated.

The federations have alleged that some former two-star officers were tutored to write some ill-conceived articles on the performance of ordnance factories.

"This is also done to turn the general public against it to achieve the selfish agenda of some people within and outside to convert the Indian ordnance factories into a corporation. These retired Senior Officers of Indian Army, Navy and Air Force tend to forget that every decoration added on their shoulders is the result of hard-work, dedication of the employees of the ordnance factories all these years in supplying high quality and precision weaponry, making the Indian Armed Forces to succeed in all the misdemeanours of our adversaries. They should also not forget that many of our employees have also been martyred in the line of duty in all these years in equipping them with precision weaponry," Srikumar maintained.

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