OFB workers’ bodies call off upcoming nationwide strike

The workers’ federations of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), the country’s main producer of military arsenal, have called off their proposed countrywide strike from October 12 after a reconciliation meeting held in New Delhi on Friday under the ministry of labour and employment, a government spokesperson said.

The federations are protesting the Centre’s July decision to corporatise the board.

Three federations of defence civilian employees had given a joint strike notice on August 4 against the government’s decision to corporatise the board. The defence ministry referred the matter in September 2020 to the chief labour commissioner, ministry of labour and employment to initiate conciliation in the matter.

The decision of the federations to go on a strike was widely criticised as the Indian military is locked in a border dispute with China in the Ladakh. The OFB controls 41 ordnance factories engaged in the production of tanks, armoured personnel carriers, bombs, rockets, artillery guns, anti-aircraft guns, parachutes, small arms, clothing and leather equipment for soldiers.

“It was agreed by the representatives of the federations and officials of the ministry of defence 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 which stipulates that the employer cannot alter the conditions of service of the employees till the conclusion of conciliation proceedings.

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