The Central Trade Unions on Saturday pledged their active support to the ongoing struggle of Defence Production employees against the Naredra Modi-led government’s bid to privatise the Defence Production sector and corporatise the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB). They also called for a nationwide protest day to be observed on July 23.
The CTUs condemned the ‘draconian’ Essential Defence Services Ordinance 2021, which the Law Ministry notified on May 30 effectively prohibiting employees engaged in essential defence services from taking part in any agitation or strike. The ordinance was brought in the wake of major federations of the 76,000 employees of the OFB announcing that they would go on indefinite strike from July 26 in protest against the government’s decision to corporatise the OFB. The Union Cabinet has decided to split the OFB into seven fully government-owned corporate entities.
The joint platform of Central Trade Unions and Sectoral Independent Federations and Associations, in its meeting held on July 8, supported the protests taking place under the joint leadership of the five federations of the Defence Production employees. The CTUs noted that beside the corporatisation bid, “a substantial part of the defence related production is being outsourced to private sector, both indigenous and foreign, permitting 100% FDI (Foreign Direct Investment).” In a statement, the joint platform said, “All these measures are going to severely weaken the indigenous production network of all basic requirements of the defence forces, much to the detriment of national interests. The Defence Employees Federations have been fighting unitedly with determination and commitment against these anti-national policies.”
Condemning the ‘hasty’ implementation of the Essential Defence Service Ordinance, the CTUs said it was meant to “brutally suppress the rising discontent and anger among the Defence Production employees against these anti-national policies.”
They said the Ordinance does not only ban the right to strike in defence production sector, but also empowers the government to extend “brutal autocratic measures” to other sectors as well.
The Central Trade Unions has now called upon the workers and their unions to observe countrywide protests and agitations on July 23 against the Ordinance, the corporatisation of the Defence Production Sector along with the central government’s drive to privatise Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).
The joint platform comprise Central Trade Unions such as INTUC, AITUC,HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU etc. Alomg with independent sectoral federations and associations.