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Defence civilian employees resent changes in working hours

Employees of defence armaments production units have resented what they term as ‘unilateral’ change in weekly working hours following the conversion of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) into multiple Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

Though the Department of Defence Production had assured to safeguard interest of employees during the deemed deputation period in the seven corporations, they were facing many problems in their service matters. The Corporations were taking decisions that were ‘in violation of existing government orders’, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation Srikumar said.

The OFB had specified that the normal working hours was 44 hours and 45 minutes per week irrespective of the category of employees. The corporations do not have any authority to change ‘arbitrarily’ any of the service conditions including the working hours of the employees, Mr. Srikumar said.

Likewise the orders issued by TCL and Yantra India Ltd., to remove the ceiling limit of 75 percent of piece work profit defied the Presidential orders in this regard. This has been done only with an intention to exploit the workers, he said.

Placing of Ordnance Factory hospitals and the employees under the Directorate of Ordinance (Coordination and Services) was another area of concern. The employees were struggling to get their medical needs fulfilled since only meagre amounts were allotted to the hospitals. Despite being deployed overtime, the hospital staff were not being provided with the wages stipulated for the extra durations.

There were difficulties in General Provident Fund withdrawals and in enforcement of appointments on compassionate grounds under the new set up.

Also, the requests of the employees for inter-factory/ inter-directorate transfers have been pending for long, and there is now an uncertainty due to the corporatisation. This needs to be settled, Mr. Srikumar said.

These actions by the corporations could result in far-reaching consequences in the industrial relations, and affect production and productivity.

These issues must be addressed in right earnest, Mr. Srikumar said in a representation to the Secretary of Defence Production.

The representation was made by the AIDEF, Bharatiya Pratiraksha Mazdor Sangh, and Confederation of Defence Recognised Associations.

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