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Centre of Indian Trade Unions strongly denounce the destructive move of the Govt of India for privatization of Air India at any cost and by any means.

In its previous regime, the Modi Govt tried best to conclude the privatization deal, invited Expression of Interests (EoI) for the same from interested buyers but failed to get any response. And in its second incarnation, the BJP Govt is planning to sell Air India, piece by piece, i.e., by selling its profit making subsidiary units like Alliance Air, Air India Express, AITSL, AIESL etc., to facilitate cheaper sale of AIR INDIA to private corporate players, both foreign and domestic.

The privatization is being justified by the present Govt on the plea that Air India has become unsustainable owing to heavy loss and indebtedness. This is nothing but a bogus plea. The loss and debt burden of Air India had not been the result of imprudence or failure of the concerned management; it is the atrocious interference of successive ministries in compelling the Air India for unprepared merger and purchase of huge number of Aircrafts without due diligence benefitting the foreign suppliers, which had landed the National Carrier into loss and heavy indebtedness. But despite all problems and constraints, Air India has been able to come back to operating profit consistently during most of the years under last BJP Govt. It has never defaulted in servicing the huge debt burden on time with the banks unlike many major private corporate majors who are going to be the prospective buyers of dismantled Air India. 

The entire privatization exercise of Air India, if seen in details, as reported by national print media, exposes the dubiousness to serve the private corporates including foreign majors severely compromising the national interests. The national carrier is being sold in pieces viz., Air India, AI-Sat, AI-Express etc and around 50 per cent of the debt burden would remain with a Special Purpose Vehicle-AI Asset Holding, keeping noncore real estate with it. This SPV along with substantial debt burden will remain with the Govt. 

Destructive ploy to privatise the National Carrier in play in the name of “big bang reform” under the NDA-II regime has become clear—push the PSU into red by imposing wrong and sabotaging decision and then hand it over to private hand with its huge assets-which are all national assets.

CITU condemns such destructive decision of the BJP Govt to privatise the National Carrier, AIR INDIA and demands upon the Govt to restrain from such retrograde move. All the eight unions of Air India Employees under Joint Forum of Air India Against Privatisation have jointly conveyed their strong opposition to such privatization move to CMD, Air India on 12th June 2019 and have been preparing for united struggle. CITU calls upon working people and their unions irrespective of affiliations to unite and resist such destructive ploy of the Govt at the centre.

Issued by
(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary

Saturday, 22 June 2019 03:36

Stop Privatisation of Indian Railways


Centre of Indian Trade Unions opposes the privatisation measures incorporated in the 100 days Action Plan proposed by the Ministry of Railways with the approval of the Minister of Railways. The Railway Board has directed that immediate action to be taken to implement the Action Plan by 31st August 2019.

The Action Plan proposes operating private passenger trains. Within 100 days 2 passenger trains will be offered to IRCTC which would provide ticketing and on board services. These trains will run on the important routes like Golden Quadrilateral and Diagonals and connecting major cities. It is reported that the government wants to hand over running of premier trains including the Rajdhani and Shatabdi express trains to private operators, for which tenders would be floated within four months.

Hiking Railway fares is also on the cards. The government wants to reduce the subsidies through a ‘Give it up’ campaign. It is important to note that overwhelming majority of the railway passengers today belong to the poor and low income sections. Providing cheap and affordable travel is the Constitutional responsibility of the government. Reducing subsidies and raising fares is nothing but a ploy to favour the private operators who would be operating the trains only for profits. The government who has come to power with the votes of the common people and the poor, has, within less than a month started imposing burdens on the common people, just to pay back their bosses, the big Corporates, domestic and foreign. 

Another proposal in the Action Plan is the corporatisation of the production units. The 7 production units including the associated workshops are proposed to be ‘hived off’ to the ‘Indian Railway Rolling Stock Company’. This is nothing but an attempt to hand over and outsource production to the private players killing our public sector’s indigenous manufacturing capacity.

The proposal to consult the trade unions appears to be only an eye wash. Till today, the Modi government, in its earlier avatar as well as since it returned to power, has been blatantly ignoring the voices of the trade unions on many issues. In fact all the central trade unions have been consistently opposing privatisation of the public sector undertakings. But this government has already declared privatisation of 46 PSUs despite this opposition

CITU calls upon the people and all its affiliated unions and federations to oppose the privatisation of the cheapest mode of transport available today for the people and unitedly resist the move.

It also calls upon all the unions of the railway employees to strongly oppose the privatisation of Indian railways in any form and mobilise their entire strength through united actions to stop such disastrous measures

Issued by:
Tapan Sen
General Secretary

Wednesday, 19 June 2019 09:39

Homage to Comrade B Madhava

Centre of Indian Trade Union expresses its grief at the demise of Comrade B Madhava (83), former President Karnataka State Committee of CITU and also President of All India Beedi Workers’ Federation (AIBWF), who passed away today at Mangalore in the morning after a prolonged illness.

Comrade Madhava was an employee of LIC where he started his trade union activities.  He was President of Udipi Zone of AIIEA and also its South Zone Vice President. He was actively involved in organising the Beedi workers in the area and soon became the leader of the Beedi workers in Karnataka and became the State President of Beedi Workers Union.

He was the President CITU Karnataka State Committee from 2002 to 2010. He was a Working Committee Member of CITU.

Comrade Madhava was also active in fighting against social oppression and had actively led many movements in Mangalore including against the infamous ‘Madesnana’, the practice of making the lower caste people lay down on the remaining of food eaten by upper caste people.

He had in-depth knowledge and had translated many books from English to Kannada including the autobiography of A. K. Gopalan.

His death is a big loss to the CITU especially CITU Kartnataka and AIBWF.

CITU Secretariat expresses its deepest condolences to all his comrades and family members.

Issued by

A R Sindhu
For CITU Secretariat 

The Centre of Indian Trade Union denounces the unilateral and arbitrary decision of the Govt of India to reduce rates of contribution to Employees State Insurance Scheme (ESI) in gross violation of the decision of the tripartite Governing Body of ESI.

In the 175th tripartite Governing Body meeting of ESI held on 18-09-2018, it was unanimously decided to reduce the employers’ contribution to ESI from 4.75% of the wages of the enrolled workers to 4% and the workers contribution from 1.75% to 1% making the total ESI contributions at 5% annually. Accordingly draft Gezette Notification was issued asking for opinion, if any, within 45 days. Simultaneously in the 177th  Governing Body meeting held on 19 February 2019 in the presence of  and under the Chairmanship of Union Labour Minister, ESI Budget for the coming financial year (1919-20) was finalized on the basis of this the contribution generation of 5%.

Now suddenly, after the new Govt assumed charge with the same Labour Minister, the Govt declared further deduction in ESI contribution to 3.25% (a deduction of 1.5% for the employers) while reducing the workers contribution to 0.75% further reducing the total contribution-generation to 4% in gross violation of the unanimous decision of the tripartite governing body.

In totality, the employers’ obligation towards ESI has been drastically reduced by 1.5% while reducing the workers contribution by only 1%. This would lead to huge benefits/savings of the employers to the tune of estimated Rs 8000 to Rs 10000 crore.

And ill motive of the Govt to benefit the employers’ lobby gets further clear by the fact that in the meeting of the tripartite Standing Committee of ESI Governing Body held on 13th June 2019, nothing was reported about the Govt decision on reduction of ESI contribution to be announced on same day evening 7-35 pm, and its arbitrary departure from the unanimous decision of the Governing Body of which Labour Minister was a party.

The increase of increase in enrollment in ESI as claimed by the Govt is due to upward revision of entitlement level from Rs.15000/ to Rs 21000/- from 1-1-2017 as decided by the Tripartite Governing Body. Reduction in ESI contribution mainly to benefit the employers/business class played no role in it. Rather this is going to create serious difficulty to meet its obligations of social security and medical benefit to the enhanced number of beneficiaries. 

CITU vehemently condemns such arbitrary move of the NDA-II Govt in the interest of the corporate lobby and demands implementation of the Governing Body decision on ESI contribution dated on 18-09-2018 in letter and spirit.

Tapan Sen
General Secretary

NITI Ayog has announced ‘big bang’ reform through anti-worker changes in labour laws and fast tracking privatisation or closure of 46 PSUs. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of NITI Ayog has categorically told that “They (the foreign investors) will have reasons to be happy” and the government will “build an inventory of government land that can be offered to foreign investors”. We must read this statement along with the statement by the US private Corporates asking the new Indian government to have ‘bold reforms’ including change in land and labour laws and e-commerce.

There is clear indication to the working class and the toiling people of India that the Modi -02 Government is going to vigorously follow the same policies which were opposed by the working class and the peasantry of the country.

Changes in labour laws are meticulously designed to impose conditions of slavery on the working people. Similarly privatisation of CPSUs shall lead to looting of national assets by the Government’s most favoured corporates and destruction of indigenous manufacturing capability of the national economy and setting the pace of deindustrialization.

Modi govt's big bang reform will put the lives and livelihoods of the mass of the people in disaster- the same people who gave the Modi Government a decisive mandate. The mission of NDA-02 Government is pay back to the "DONORS" both in country and abròad while forcibly looting the "VOTERS" - the people at large.

The disastrous anti-people and anti-national move of the Government must be opposed with full might of the united struggle of the mass of the workers led by the United Platform of Central Trade Unions and National Federations.

CITU calls upon its affiliated unions and the working class of the country to be prepared for bigger struggles to defend the hard earned rights and the sovereignty of the country.

Issued by
Tapan Sen
General Secretary

BEGINNING on 30 May 2019, CITU is going for a year long celebration of “100 years of struggles and sacrifices” of the working class of India, since the formation of the First Trade Union Centre, and “50 years of fight for unity of the working class” since the formation of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions.

Following are historical milestones of these working class struggles and sacrifices, till the formation of CITU, for the class and people’s cause, class unity, and developing class perspective and orientation. From the lessons of these struggles emerged CITU’s clarion call of “Unity and Struggle”. How, as the legacy of these working class struggles and sacrifices, CITU carried these forward and created historical milestones are dealt with separately.

EMERGENCE of the first Trade Union Centre in India has its own background of working class struggles and sacrifices. Class struggle is inherent in the very nature of the capitalist mode of production, remaining dormant among the working class, sometimes spontaneously bursting out in the given situation. The trade union organises, builds movements and leads them in an objective direction.

- There were several strikes and agitations in the last quarter of the nineteenth and more than one and a half of the first decades of twentieth century. Those were led by workers agitationist groups, welfare centres and mass of workers as trade unions led by individuals and philanthropists. These unions had no regular membership, constitution, organizational set up etc like those of the modern trade unions.

- But this period was also marked by the political consciousness of the Indian working class, developed along with the freedom struggle. In July 1908, when Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak was convicted and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on charges of ‘sedition’, “Bombay was shut down in protest,…workers of all textile mills and railway workshops went on strike, army was called out,…16 workers lay dead in the streets with nearly 50 others seriously injured,” wrote historian Bipan Chandra in India’s Struggle for Independence.

On this, BTR writes (The Marxist, October-December 1985), “The workers were being drawn into the national protest against British tyranny. This happened in 1908 when Lokmanya Tilak was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. The workers went on a one-day strike for every year of the sentence. They clashed with the police and the British army. Several were killed. Their resistance galvanised the entire city of Bombay and drew into action small businessmen and the middle classes. This was the first time that the working class used the powerful weapon strike in all industries for a political purpose and revealed its efficacy as the general mobiliser of the people.”

It was with this vision that Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) was founded in 1970. The yearlong Golden Jubilee celebrations of CITU will start on its Foundation Day this year, on 30th May.

This vision was clearly spelt out in the Constitution of CITU thus: ‘The CITU believes that the exploitation of the working class can be ended only by socialising all means of production, distribution and exchange and establishing a Socialist State. Holding fast the ideals of socialism, the CITU stands for the complete emancipation of the society from all exploitation’.

Further, ‘It firmly adheres to the position that no transformation can be brought about without class struggle and shall constantly repel attempts to take the working class along the path of class collaboration’. 

This vision stood the test of time. Fifty years of experience has further strengthened CITU’s determination to carry forward this vision to achieve its Constitutional objectives.

CITU was born at a time when the working class of the country was simmering with discontent and anger at the growing attacks on their working and living conditions. Closures, job losses, increasing contractorisation, denial of collective bargaining rights, social security benefits etc resulted in outbursts of struggles and strikes in different sectors in different parts of the country. Jute workers, coal workers, steel workers, textile workers, transport workers and hundreds of thousands of workers in various other industries, were all on the struggle path.

The need of the hour was to unite all the workers in each sector, to unite all the workers in all sectors into a common united struggle against these attacks, against the policies of the then government, against the exploitative policy regime. The need of the hour was to unite the entire trade union movement to build a powerful class struggle against these attacks as well as the policies.

But the then leadership of the dominant Left trade union, AITUC chose, not the path of class struggle but the path of class collaboration in the name of the ‘two pillar policy’. The very idea of class struggle was sought to be ridiculed. The section of leadership within the AITUC that favoured class unity and class struggle was harassed, victimised and undemocratically and unceremoniously removed from leadership positions, from the unions. The unions that supported class struggle were denied affiliation; their affiliations were cancelled.

After all the efforts through a period of around ten years to steer the organisation away from the path of class collaboration and compromise with the ruling classes failed, the need to form a new trade union centre to bring the trade union movement of the country into the track of united struggles against the government policies was strongly felt. CITU was born with the thunderous slogan ‘Unity and Struggle’.

BT Ranadive was elected the first president and P Ramamurty, the first general secretary.

Soon after its formation, CITU, through its actions gave a befitting reply to all those who sought to isolate it and ridiculed its slogan of ‘unity’.

¨  Soon after CITU’s formation, in an attempt to isolate it, the National Council of Trade Unions (NCTU) was formed with INTUC, AITUC and HMS at the initiative the then Union Labour Minister, to support government policies. CITU effectively countered it by bringing the other trade union centres and industrial federation together to form the United Council of Trade Unions (UCTU) to fight against the government policies like wage freeze, compulsory deposit scheme etc

¨  The isolationist strategy of the ruling classes through could not be sustained for long in the face of vigorous efforts by CITU to unite the other forces both in industries and services to carry on united struggles. Within three years NCTU collapsed. New correlation started developing within the country’s trade union movement through CITU’s consistent fight against class collaborationist policies.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) expresses serious concern at the recent developments and actions by the Apex Court following the complaint by a former woman employee of the Supreme Court against the Chief Justice of India.

CITU feels that the procedures required as per the POSH (Sexual Harassment At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 have not been followed in letter and spirit in the case.

First of all, the highest forum of judiciary does not have an ICC (Internal Complaints Committee) as mandated by the Act. The procedure for dealing with a case of sexual harassment, particularly when it concerns someone in a high public position, needs to be credible and transparent. It is regrettable that this did not happen in this case.

The ‘In house Committee’ set up by the Apex court was not in accordance with the law. It did not have an independent outside representative of any NGO.  This was pointed out by several women’s organisations, legal rights groups, and lawyers’ forums. The request of the complainant to allow her lawyer or a support person to be present was also turned down. Even after her withdrawal from the proceedings alleging unfair and intimidating behaviour, the committee went ahead and gave its finding that there was ‘no substance’ in the complaint. Surprisingly, the complainant was not even given a copy of the report of the “In-House Committee” which exonerated the CJI while the CJI was sent a copy.

CITU affirms that it is necessary that the Supreme Court uphold the principles of transparency, ethics and values to ensure delivery of justice to the weakest sections in our democracy, as envisaged by our constitution, and to prevent erosion of the judiciary’s credibility. The Supreme Court of India must uphold the guidelines of the Vishakha judgment and the POSH Act on sexual harassment at workplace even in the case of a Supreme Court Judge.  

CITU demands that appropriate laws and guidelines must be enacted against sexual harassment to include all workplaces including judiciary and legislature and all persons in its purview to ensure justice to all victims.

Issued by: 
A R Sindhu

Centre of Indian Trade Union expresses its deep sorrow at the shocking demise of Comrade N Venkateswarlu (Kiran), General Secretary of Telengana United Electricity Employees Union and Office Bearer of EEFI. He breathed his last on early hours of 7th May 2019 in a hospital in Hyderabad after fighting cancer for the last one year.

Comrade N Venkateswarlu known as Kiran joined Kothagudem Thermal Power Station (KTPS) in 1990 as a boulder breaker in Coal plant. Soon he joined CITU Affiliated UEEU. He became one of the Office bearers of TSUEEU in 1998 and later became the General Secretary in 2008. He was one of the key leaders of the contract labour regularisation struggle in 2006 as well in 2016. He concurrently became a leader of Electricity workers as well a highly skilled workers of APSEB. He was elected as National Office Bearer of EEFI from 7th conference and re-elected in 8th conference. He was a member of CITU National General Council. His struggling spirit was laudable and it made him natural leader of the workers.

His untimely death is a big loss to the CITU especially CITU Telengana and EEFI.

CITU Secretariat expresses its deepest condolences to all his comrades and family members.

Issued by
A R Sindhu
For CITU Secretariat 

Shri Chandra Kishore Mishra,
The Secretary to Govt of India
 Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,
Indira Paryavaran Bhavan, Ali Ganj, Jorbagh Road,
New Delhi, Delhi 110003

Re:      Total Ban on new Red Clay Brick Kiln; & Forcibly converting the existing Red Clay Brick Kiln to Coal Ash Brick Kiln
Ref:     G.S.R. 157(E) dated 25th February, 2019

Dear Sir, 

On the above referred subject, on behalf my organisation – The Centre of Indian Trade Unions, I draw your urgent attention to the following: 

  1. I raise serious objection on your issuing this notification just on the eve of 17thLok Sabha election (Election) and asking public opinion during the ongoing election process. Accepting this being an important issue of public interest, not being a routine one, and, hence, soliciting public opinion; the present outgoing Union Government has no right to take any action on this during the ongoing process of Election and till the next Government takes over.   I, therefore, with abundant caution, requesting you to not take any further Executive action on this notification.
  1. By endorsing a copy of this letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI), I am also requesting the ECI to issue notice to you in this regard.
  1. I suspect that this notification was issued, just before the Election, to favour the coal and lignite based private power companies, mainly the Adani Power Limited of Adanis and the Reliance Power Limited of Ambanis; vitiating the entire Election process.
  1. The above referred intended notification of putting a total ban on new Red Clay Kiln and converting the existing ones to Coal Ash Brick Kilns within 300 KMs radius of all Coal and Lignite based Power Plants; will lead to jobloss of lakhs of unorganised sector brick kiln workers and will have devastating effect on the economy, after the ill effect of demonetisation and GST.
  1. Unfortunately, your ministry, in its hurry, has ignored the question of job-losses of such huge number of most under-privileged  brick kiln workers due to Government’s notification and, hence,  neither has taken the Department of Labour and Employment of the Government nor the recognised Central Trade Unions, including the one that I represent, on board for consultation before issuing such notification.
  1. The intended notification proposes implementation of such vital issues of Ban on Red Clay brick Kiln and conversion of the existing ones to Coal Ash Brick Kilns through Executive order just by amending two decades old S.O. 763(E) dated 14thSeptember, 1999; bypassing the Parliament and necessary amendment in Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  1. The notification also makes the State Governments and the District Magistrates, under them, directly responsible for implementation of such decisions. Yet, the matter was never even discussed with the State Governments giving a direct blow in Centre-State relations.

Under the above circumstances, I once again urge you not to please operationalise the above referred intended notification.
With regards,
Yours sincerely
(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary

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