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The Centre of Indian Trade Unions denounces desperate move of the BJP Govt to completely privatise the National Carrier, Air India by way of divesting its entire shareholding in favour of a chosen single buyer in the “shortest possible time available” Obviously this is going to be a distress sale.

The desperateness of the Govt in a selling spree, of all national assets has arisen out of its failure to privatise Air India through sale of 76% Govt shareholding during its previous regime. And that is why the Govt has now decided to sell its hundred per cent stake while making other facilitating arrangements for the private player to take over Air India with its huge asset base. This is nothing but succumbing to the blackmailing by private corporate to make the deal more attractive.

The Air India is a debt ridden company and such huge burden of debt and consequent burden of loss due to interest payment had been the result of 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. Even then the Air India management has been able to come back to operating profit consistently during most of the years under last BJP Govt till 2018-19. 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 desperate bid to get rid of Air India by its owner Govt “within the shortest possible time” as asserted by the concerned Minister the Press Meet on 29thAugust 2019 is getting notoriously reflected in some of the steps of the Govt; almost half of the debt of Air India to the tune of Rs 29000 crore has been taken over  by the Govt and removed off the books of accounts of the company; a part of the dues of Air India towards fuel account is being planned to be met by the Govt through equity support. All these are being made to sell the National Carrier Air India “within shortest possible time available” as touted by the concerned Minister and as reported by the press.

Had the same facilities been made available to Air India, it would come back to profit “within shortest possible time available” and continue to contribute to national exchequer handsomely. But that is not the intention of the present BJP Govt engaged madly in a selling spree of national assets for private interest, both foreign and domestic.

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. CITU calls upon working people and their unions irrespective of affiliations to unite and resist such destructive ploy of the Govt at the centre. CITU calls upon working people and their unions irrespective of affiliations to unite and resist such destructive ploy of the Govt at the centre.

(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary

CITU DENOUNCES  CONSECUTIVE DESTRUCTIVE DECISIONS OF THE GOVT ON  DISINVESTMENT AND FDI LIBERALISATION RESULTING EROSION OF INDIGENOUS CAPABILITY AND ECONOMIC SOVEREIGNTY

During the span of last one week or so the BJP Govt at the centre has taken one after another destructive measures weakening further the foundation of the national economy which is already under severe crisis owing to same destructive and pro-imperialist policies of the Govt. 

The Govt got practically a forcible transfer of Rs 1.76 lakh crore from RBI kitty of reserve to itself to meet its revenue expenditure gap, which is economically imprudent besides being an onslaught on the  autonomy of the Institution through the obliging team of bureaucrats put at the helm of RBI Board.

Second, while lamenting on fiscal deficit, the Finance Minister announced a number of further concessions to business class by way of, inter alia, withdrawal of surcharge on direct  tax etc and liberalization of lending norms etc reportedly for further incentivizing them for investment. Such sops, at the cost of national exchequer are destined to fall flat; in fact, investment-growth has been consistently declining during the span of last five years’ of BJP rule despite showering of huge concessions on them every year through successive budgets and otherwise also.

Third, FDI has been further liberalized and clearance of FDI through automatic route has been recklessly  expanded covering all the strategic sectors of the economy, which will have more destructive impact on the economy instead of employment oriented investment generation. Rather such kind of FDI liberalization, particularly in present global economic scenario will further pounce upon the economic sovereignty of the country.

Hundred percent FDI in single-brand retail Trade was justified and sought to be sold by the previous BJP Govt front-lining the conditionality of 30 per cent sourcing of products from within India claiming to have promoted the domestic manufacturing. Now, that conditionality has been totally eased rather erased in favour of the foreign trading agencies leaving room for widespread evasion, at the cost of domestic retail trade. The 30% sourcing obligation can now be averaged over five years, opening the gate for evading the sourcing obligation for first three /four years and then change the sign-board of the company, a dubious practice  that has been continuing since long in almost all the special economic zones by the private business including foreign entities with impunity.

Allowing 100 percent FDI in coal-mining for all commercial purposes along with 100 percent FDI in contract manufacturing-all through automatic route, will be a severe blow to national coal miner-the Coal India Ltd which has been creditably performing by consistently improving its production performance despite many hurdles created by the Govt itself.  Earlier,  FDI was allowed only for captive mining only. Now that barrier has also been removed allowing the foreign companies to capture control over country’s coal resources for commercial mining including export.

This utterly retrograde move of the Govt on coal mining sector will deprive public sector Coal India Ltd of the level playing field in respect of allocation of new coal bearing areas as well as in cost of production. 100 percent foreign control of a substantial section of  country’s coal reserves with a right to export will also severely hamper the protection of national priorities in meeting increasing domestic requirement of coal both for household consumption and industrial requirement particularly in power, steel, fertilizers and other sectors. And under the present BJP regime, actively playing a partnership role of imperialist powers and always obliging international finance capital, it is but natural that Coal India will be discriminated in respect of allocation of new coal bearing area for mining vis-à-vis the private and foreign players.

Fourth, the Govt has declared its suicidal resolve to go for decisive privatization of CPSUs through multi-pronged routes. Besides strategic sale of major PSUs in steel, pharmaceutical , engineering and other sectors, aggressive steps have already been initiated to sell out around 60% or more Govt equity of CPSUs in the market. The notoriety of the exercise is that the control of a large number of PSUs with huge asset base and capacity shall be captured by the private players and concerned CPSUs will be effectively converted into private companies through very small dose of disinvestment. In order to realize the unprecedented divestment target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore, they have been dispensing with all norms and standing practices and resorting to suicidal shortcut.  The long selloff list reported in the media include all best performers in the strategic sectors – both physically and financially viz., IOC, NTPC, Powergrid, Oil India, GAIL, NALCO, BPCL, EIL, BEML etc. As a consequence of previous tranches of divestment the present Govt equity holding of these CPSUs are around 52% plus or little less. Therefore the ugly game plan is convert these CPSUs into private enterprises only by way of transfer of very small dose of shares to private hands. Country’s wealth will be transferred for private gains on a platter.

In the background of severe crisis in the economy, deepening every day, these moves of the Govt reflects the desperation to benefit only and only the private corporate, both foreign and domestic at the cost of such assets and production structures through a deliberate destructive process.

CITU calls upon the working people and patriotic masses at large from all walks of life to raise their voice of protest against such destructive suicidal onslaught of the Govt of the day on the national economy. CITU also calls upon the working class, particularly those in the concerned sectors which are under immediate attack to unite and fight back these nefarious and anti-people designs and frontal attack on the economic sovereignty of the country.

Issued by
(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary 

The news of the seamen's union of CITU--FSUI joining Shiv Sena is totally false and fake

The Hindustan Times (Mumbai) dated 25.8.2019 published a news that Forward Seamen's Union of India (FSUI) has joined Shiv Sena. This news is totally baseless and fake, spread with a malicious intent to confuse and misguide the seamen community.

The Forward Seamen's Union of India, registered under Trade Union Act 1926, with the registration no 9442, having its registered office and headquarters at Kolkata is affiliated to Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) since the foundation of CITU 

Those who joined Shiv Sena for their own interest as per the news item in Hindustan Times are using the name of FSUI with a dubious intent. They have no organizational authority of taking any such decision on behalf of FSUI. 

CITU calls upon all the general members of FSUI and the seafarers in general not to get confused and misguided and remain united under the banner of FSUI and CITU.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions salutes the over 82000 defence civilian employees working in the 41 ordnance factories across the country and the employees of the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) attached to the ordnance factories who have started their historic 30 days’ strike against corporatisation of the ordnance factories .

Despite the categorical assurance by the defence ministers in successive governments and in the Parliament in March 2015, during the Modi 1 regime, that ordnance factories would not be corporatised, the Modi 2 government has decided to corporatise the ordnance factories, on way to their future privatisation.

It is ironic that the BJP and Modi who campaigned on the plank of ‘nationalism’ have no qualms in placing our national security at the mercy of the profit greedy corporates including foreign companies by privatising the defence sector including allowing 100% FDI. The ordnance factories, treated as the 4th force of defence of India have played a crucial role in ensuring timely and quality supplies to our forces, including during the Kargil war and the surgical strikes undertaken by the Indian army on various occasions.  They have worked day and night during the Kargil war to ensure supplies to our forces, without taking single paisa as overtime. Through their hard work and dedication, it is these workers and employees who have proved their commitment to the nation while the BJP government is trying to mortgage national security.

The strike today was total all over the country. Only the Group A officers and those in essential duties who were exempted, joined work. In many places they were working without signing attendance. Though CDRA (Confederation of Defence Recognised Associations) did not serve strike notice, they totally remained with the striking employees. In many places the central trade unions including CITU cadres have actively supported the strike holding rallies, street corner meetings, demonstrations etc in solidarity with the striking workers. Other trade unions including those of bank employees, central government employees etc also stood in solidarity with the strikers.

By corporatising the ordnance factories paving the way for their privatisation the BJP government has once again proved that corporate interests, not national interests, are at the top of its agenda.

On the other hand, through their total strike across the country, the defence civilian employees in the ordnance factories have warned the government that they would not allow national interests to be sold off to corporates, that it is the workers who would be in the forefront in protecting the nation and the country

CITU, once again, congratulates the defence employees and assures its total support to their struggle till they achieve their just demands. It calls upon all its affiliated unions and federations to extend all types of help, assistance and solidarity to the defence employees. It also calls upon the common people to support the struggle of the defence employees who are fighting to protect the national interests.

Issued by:
Hemalata
President

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions condemns the unilateral move by the BJP Govt at the centre to virtually scrap the and abrogate all the provisions of article 370 of the constitution relating to status of Jammu and Kashmir by trickery unscrupulously evading the constitutional amendment procedure requiring specific advance notice and also not less than two third majority in parliament. 
 
Besides seious poltical fall out of such misadventure completely devoid of minimum scruples on the unity of people, in which BJP was never interested, it will provoke and pave the way for similar dishonest trickeries for subversion of the indian constitution on the part of ruling class and  their agents in polity in respect of its basic secular democratic foundation and also on other constitutional provisions relating to peoples' democratic and other fundamental rights. It bears ominous 
portents of similar attacks on the rights of the working class as well.
 
CITU views such unilateral move as brazenly authoritarian and fascistic and it tantamounts to murder of democracy and subversion of the constitution. 
 
CITU also denounces the authoritarian move of the Govt in putting the leaders of the leaders of the J&K based political parties under arrests or house arrest, besides scrapping their internet and mobile/telephone services on 4th evening onward and this authoritarian move was prepratory to their conspiratorial unilateral move of subversion of constitution on J&K. CITU also condemns the arrest/house arrest of com Yusuf Tarigami, MLA and also President of J&K Committee of CITU. 
 
CITU calls upon the working people to protest such arrogant, authoritarian and fascistic action of the BJP Govt through countrywide united agitation.
 
Issued by
Tapan Sen
General secretary CITU
 
 
 

The Central Trade Unions (CTUs) in its meeting held at New Delhi on 2nd August 2019 expressed deep concern at the decision of the Central Government to divest further 10% equity of NTPC through OFS (Offer for Sale) route. The present share holdingpattern of NTPC is 56.41% with the Company and 43.59% with market players.

Now with further 10% equity sale through OFS shall push NTPC to minority share holding of 46.41% and majority share holdingshall be passed on with private market players. In other words from a present‘Maharatna’ Central Public Sector Undertaking, NTPC will become a market players controlled private company.

NTPC has been continuously excelling its physical and financial performance. It has been contributing to Government exchequer higher dividend payment in every succeeding financial year. Out ofthe all total installed power generation capacity 3,54,000 MW in the country, NTPC alone is 55,786 MW and another around 15,000 MW is in the pipeline. As a singularly biggest power generation company, the ‘Techno-Economic’ efficiency of NTPC is the best in the country. NTPC has 53 power generation stations and 11 renewable energy projects. In 2017-18 NTPC earned profit of Rs.10,501.50 croreand the dividend paid to the Government was Rs.1,970.67 crore and in 2018-19 profit increased to Rs.12,633.45 crore and interim dividend already paid is 2,951.88 crore and more shall be paid as final installment.

The shocking decision by the Government is suicidal for the country.The only beneficiaries will be the private power sector players.The huge assets of the giant power sector CPSU are going to be grabbed by private power generators. Change in share holding pattern of the company is bound to seriously affect the employees in several ways including huge job losses.

The Central Trade Unions demand the reversal of the suicidal decision of the Government. Pushing NTPC to the control of market players shall amount to bestowing the dominant control of power sector to the private sector which ultimately shall push the price of power to prohibitive height and common consumers shall be hit hard. Agriculture and rural consumers shall be worst victims.

The Central Trade Unions appeal to all the employees of NTPC – Executives & Non-Executives, Permanent & Contract workers to forge total unity and launch united resistance struggles to stop privatisation of NTPC. And further appeals to the entire public sector power sector employees in particular and the public sector workers in general to extend solidarity support NTPC employees’ struggles.

CTUs – INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC and Independent Federations/Associations - take strong objection and condemn bulldozing of codification of labour laws and other laws in spite of strong objections from the trade union movement.

The government have made known their intention to codify various labour laws through an unconstitutional method of making it a part of the budget speech on 5.07.2019, ignoring the state jurisdiction of concurrent list in the Constitution.

Now, on 23.07.2019, the government has introduced the Code on Wages Bill 2019 and the Occupational  Safety,  Health and  Working  Conditions  Code  Bill  2019  in  Lok  Sabha.  The contents of both the Bills totally ignore all the points of oppositions and reservations on various provisions of both the Bills curtailing the rights of the workers and are prejudicial to their interests raised by all the central trade union organizations.

Contrary to the claims by the  Government,  these codes would enhance the process of exclusion of workers from the benefits they accrue from the existing laws, by simply raising the threshold level of number of workers for application of those laws.

The wage code has denied the agreed formula of wage calculation as per 15th Indian Labour conference, and add on 25% as directed by Supreme Court judgment in Raptakos case and which was repeatedly and unanimously accepted by 45th and 46th ILC. The Expert Committee appointed by the Central Government, which excluded any participation from the Trade Unions, to determine the methodology to determine the National Minimum Wage also went against those recommendations. But to top it all the Labour Minister, on 10.07.2019 unilaterally announced the National Minimum Wage as Rs. 4628/-pm, when even the 7th CPC recommends Rs.18000/-pm as the minimum wages w.e.f. 1.01.2016.

The  Code on Occupational  Safety,  Health  and Working  Conditions Bill  2019  replaces  13 existing Labour laws, making it applicable to the establishments, with ten workers, thus keeping 90 percent of workforce which is from unorganised sector/informal economy sector, outsourced on contract and homebased sector would be out of the purview of the code.

Most of these laws were enacted to address and regulate the service conditions of different segments of workers and employees like Sales Promotion Employees, Mines, Beedi, Construction, Working Journalists and Newspaper  Employees  etc  in  accordance  with  and taking care of the aspects relating their respective occupation specificities and peculiarities which were different and widely varying from one another. By repealing all these Acts and selectively picking up the provisions advantageous to employers only from these Acts for incorporation of the Code Bill and grossly diluting and/or tampering all the provisions pertaining to rights and protection of the workers in general, the Govt seeks to drastically curtail the workers’ rights, in their most obedient services of their corporate masters.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019 15:03

Comrade Ajay Mukherrjee  Red Salute

Centre of Indian Trade Unions  is extremely grieved at the demise of Comrade Ajay Mukherjee, a stalwart leader of the ‘Government Employees’ movement in the country, today on 24th July 2019 at Kolkata. He was 92.

He was one of the tallest leaders of the State Government Employees and one of the founder organizers of All India State Govt Employees Federation comprising the state govt employees unions in almost all the states of the country.

He led numerous militant battles of the state govt employees of West Bengal remaining in the frontline braving severe atrocities and victimization including dismissal, break in service and also physical attacks. Under his leadership, the State Govt Employees’ movement could become a leading militant component in the struggles against the semi-fascist terror in West Bengal in the seventies followed by ‘Internal Emergency’.

During the entire period since mid sixties, the state govt employees movement had been in the forefront in the strike struggles and bandhs, not only on the employees’ own demands but also on the democratic demands of the working class and people.  He also played frontline role in building and expanding the All India State Govt Employees Federation making it the single biggest federation of employees at the national level and also rallying the strength of federation in the united countrywide actions including strikes by the working class on common issues.

Com Ajay Mukherjee was also an able Parliamentarian championing the cause of the working people in Lok Sabha during the nineties.

Com Ajay Mukherjee’s demise is great loss to the working class and employees’ movement. CITU conveys its heartfelt condolences to his comrades and family members while offering respectful homage to the great contribution of the departed leader for the cause of the toiling class. Red Salute Com Ajay Mukherjee. Com Ajay Mukherjee Amar Rahe.

(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary 

CALLS UPON WORKERS TO ORGANISE IMMEDIATE PROTEST COUNTRYWIDE

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions condemns the hasty move of the BJP Govt on so called labour-law reforms which are all designed to replace the existing labour laws by four labour codes, meticulously removing and/or grossly diluting all rights and provisions of protection for workers in the existing labour laws. The exercise is also aimed at pushing out a large section of workforce out of the coverage of all labour laws through increasing the threshold level of employment in establishment and repealing of a big number of labour laws meant for certain specific section of employees/workers viz., sales promotion employees, working journalists etc.

The Govt today has introduced the Code on Wages Bill 2019 and the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill 2019 in Lok Sabha. The contents of both the Bills totally ignored all the points of oppositions and reservations on various provisions of both the Bills curtailing the rights of the workers and prejudicial to their interests raised by all the central trade union organizations.   

Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill 2019 repealed 13 existing Labour laws viz., The Factories Act, 1948, The Mines Act 1952, The Dock Workers (Safety Health & Welfare) Act 1986, The Building & Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service Act 1996, The Plantation Labour Act 1951, Contract Labour(Regulation & Abolition) Act 1970, The Inter State Migrant Workmen Act 1979, Working Journalist and Other Newspaper Employees Act 1955, Working Journalist (Fixation of Rates of Wages Act 1958, Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961, Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service ) Act 1976, The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment Act 1966 and Cine Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers Act 1981 etc. Most of these laws were enacted to address and regulate the service conditions of different segments of workers and employees like Sales Promotion Employees, Mines, Beedi, Construction, Working Journalists and Newspaper Employees etc in accordance with and taking care of the aspects relating their respective occupation specificities and peculiarities which were different and widely varying from one another. By repealing all these Acts and selectively picking up the provisions advantageous to employers only from these Acts for incorporation of the Code Bill and grossly diluting and/or tampering all the provisions pertaining to rights and protection of the workers in general, the Govt seeks to drastically curtail the workers’ rights, in their most obedient services of their corporate masters.

Even on Health and Safety related matters, the Code has so articulated the provisions as the workers and their unions cannot assert their opinions and rights for proper enforcement or establish the accountability of the employers for violation of even the basic health and safety provisions which is a common and daily phenomenon in the workplaces across the sectors throughout the country leading to loss of lives and disabling injuries almost every day.

The Code on Wages Bill also proposed to repeal The Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 while incorporating certain provisions of those Acts in the Code Bill selectively to the sole advantage of the employers and distorting and diluting almost all the rights and protection related provisions for the workers and employees. This Bill is also fraught with pushing out a major section of employees viz., Sales Promotion and Working Journalists of the coverage of the Act and left to discretion of the employers so far as wage is concerned.

Monday, 22 July 2019 17:06

Homage to Comrade A K Roy

The Centre of Indian Unions (CITU) is extremely grieved and shocked at the demise of comrade A K Roy, the veteran leader of the working class movement and a stalwart of struggle of the downtrodden for justice. He was 81 and has long been suffering from age related diseases. 

Comrade A K Roy joined the trade union movement in his early youth sacrificing his career in those days as a qualified engineer. He was active in organizing workers and also distressed people  in newly emerging fertilizer industry in extreme backward region of the then Bihar, now in Jharkhand. He was also one of the pioneer organizers and architects  of coal workers movement from its private ownership days in Dhanbad, and Jharia. Comrade A k Roy was associated with CITU since its inception and had been one of the oldest general council members of CITU. He was elected in Lok Sabha three times from Dhanbad/Jharia area and had all along been vocal in support of the rights of the workers and most downtrodden inside the Parliament. His eventful life solely dedicated for the struggle of the working people will always be remembered. 

Com A K Roy's demise is great loss to the working class movement and CITU in particular. CITU expresses heartfelt condolence to his family members and comrades and offers its homage of respect to the memories and great contribution of the departed leader.

Red Salute to com A K Roy.  Com A K Roy Amar Rahe.  

Tapan Sen
General Secretary

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