Employee unions sore over ‘underestimation of indigenous products’

The reported move by the union government to privatise production of Army uniforms has caused resentment among employees of the two defence production units in the district - Ordnance Factory Tiruchi (OFT) and High Energy Projectile Factory.

Against the backdrop of the unveiling of the new Digital Army Uniform last week, employee unions affiliated to All India Defence Employees Union, Bharathiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh and other Federations have expressed solidarity with their counterparts in Ordnance Clothing Factory, Avadi, who have conveyed their regret to the Defence Ministry for not engaging OCF for manufacture of battlefield uniform with the intent to "favour private corporates."

Employee unions of OFT had already flagged similar concerns over the decision of the Ministry to leave out the unit for execution of the project for manufacture of AK-203 assault rifles, with Russian collaboration.

At its national-level Executive Committee meeting here last month, BPMS general secretary Mukesh Singh questioned the rationale behind the Defence Ministry's rejection of Tiruchi Assault Rifle (TAR) manufactured with local Research and Development efforts, despite the rifle fulfilling quality parameters.

The workforce in OFT has been thinning over the years; inclusion of the unit for manufacture of AK-203 rifles will be in the fitness of things, A. Arul Xavier, general secretary of the BPMS Tiruchi unit said. "Underestimation of indigenous products is unjustified," he said.

The AIDEF and BPMS have made a joint representation to the Defence Minister, questioning the violation of commitments to Federations with regard to service and welfare of the 41 Ordnance Factory employees who are on deemed deputation with the seven corporations.

Taking exception to "arbitrary" increase in working hours from 44 3/4 hours to 48 hours, AIDEF National General Secretary C. Srikumar flagged shortcomings in the functioning of JCM (Joint Consultative Machinery) levels III and IV, Apex Productivity Council and Local Productivity Council.

The two federations demanded setting up of a consultative mechanism at the CMD level, in all the seven defence public sector units, with the federations for quarterly meetings to discuss issues such as production and productivity, future workload, target completion, modernisation, research and development activities, development of new products, safety and quality.

Mr. Srikmar criticised the newly-formed defence public sector undertakings for issuing "arbitrary instructions" in this regard to the General Managers without holding any discussion with the major stakeholders.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 8:54:43 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/employee-unions-sore-over-underestimation-of-indigenous-products/article38283269.ece