NEW DELHI: CPI MP Binoy Viswam on Tuesday wrote to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, slamming the government’s decision to corporatise the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and highlighting the “anti-worker” decisions being taken by the new management.

Alleging that the new management has “arbitrarily” decided to alter the working conditions of the employees, Viswam said that it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that their rights and interests are protected.

The government dissolved the OFB with effect from October 1 and transferred its assets, employees and management to seven defence public sector units (DPSUs).

The OFB supplies critical arms and ammunition to the armed and paramilitary forces.

“I want to draw your attention to the escalating problems that have arisen as a result of the government’s decision to corporatise the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and the arbitrary anti-workers’ decisions being made by the management of the seven new corporations,” Viswam said in his letter.

“Despite widespread opposition to the corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board, which employs over 70,000 people, the Union government decided to push ahead with its plan,” he alleged.

The CPI MP claimed that certain guarantees given to the workers have not been honoured.

“Unfortunately, in the first two weeks of this move, the new management has arbitrarily and unilaterally decided to alter the service conditions of the employees including working hours, overtime allowances, medical benefits amongst many others. Despite multiple representations by the Employees Federations to the Secretary (DP), there has been no action taken in the matter,” he said.

He said as the Department of Defence Production embarks on this new phase, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the rights and interests of the employees are protected in accordance with the guarantees given to them.

“These employees have made exemplary contributions to the defence of India and they must not be treated in an unjust manner.

“I, therefore, urge you to intervene in this matter and ensure that the management of the seven corporations do not take unilateral decisions that go against the assurances given to employees,” he said.

In an order dated September 28, the defence ministry said that the government has decided that all employees of the OFB (Group A, B & C) belonging to the production units and also the identified non-production units shall be transferred en masse to the new DPSUs on terms of foreign service without any deputation allowance (deemed deputation) initially for a period of two years from the appointed date (October 1).

The seven DPSUs are Munition India Limited, Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited, Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited, Troop Comforts Limited, Yantra India Limited, India Optel Limited and Gliders India Limited.