NEW DELHI: Workers of the 41 factories under
the Ordnance Factory Board
(OFB) have called off their proposed indefinite strike from October 12 against the government’s move to corporatize the state-owned entity to improve its efficiency and accountability.
(MoD) on Friday said that the three federations of
defence civilian employees
of the OFB took the decision at “a conciliation meeting” called by the
chief labour commissioner
, under the ministry of labour and employment.
As reported by TOI earlier, the government in July had decided to convert the OFB into one or more 100% government-owned public sector corporate entities and constituted an empowered group of ministers to oversee the transformation.
“At the meeting on Friday, it was agreed by MoD officials and representatives of the federations that during the pendency of on-going conciliation proceedings, the ministry will abide by the provisions of Section 33(1) of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947,” said an official.
“The provisions stipulate the employer cannot alter the conditions of service of the employees till the conclusion of conciliation proceedings. However, it will not affect the government's decision to corporatize the OFB,” he added.
Officials said the move is directed at improving the functional autonomy, public accountability and efficiency of the OFB, which has an annual turnover of around Rs 19,000 crore, as the main supplier of arms, ammunition and clothing to the 13-lakh strong Army.
TOI in May last year had reported that the Army had sounded the alarm over the unacceptably high number of accidents and casualties taking place in the field due to the poor and defective quality of ammunition being supplied for tanks, artillery, air defence and other guns by the OFB.
There are several problems “plaguing” the OFB, which range from the high costs of products due to excessive overhead charges to inconsistent quality and huge delays in supplies.
It also suffers from an utter lack of innovation and technology development. As per a rough estimate, nearly 75% of the production by OFB units is based on imported technology, as was reported earlier by TOI.