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The entire trade union movement in the country have jointly given a call for two days countrywide general strike on 8-9 January 2019 against anti-labour, anti-people and anti-national policies of BJP-led NDA Government, from the National Convention of Workers held on 28th September 2018 at New Delhi.

The Ten Central Trade Unions, Independent Federations and Associations of various sectors have been consistently fighting against the policies of BJP-led NDA Government with two successful general strikes, one on 2nd September 2015, and then on 2nd September 2016. After that a three day Mahapadav on 9-10-11 November 2017 at Parliament was held with massive mobilisation of workers, followed by general strike by almost 80 lakhs of Anganwadi-Asha-Mid Day Meal Workers & other scheme workers on 17th January, 2018 for regularization and implementation of unanimous recommendations of 45th Indian Labour Conference to give them “Worker” status and social security, as well as satyagraha protest actions in January and February 2018 all over country were organised jointly by the unions in districts and state capitals. Besides these, in between, big agitations by sectoral unions at national and state level and the agitations by various sectors have been organised throughout this period.

The Central Government failed to respond, refused any dialogue, undermined tripartism, did not hold Indian Labour Conference for the last more than three and half years and instead, continued its aggressive attack with arrogance on the lives and livelihood of the working people. Desperate attempts are being made to make gross pro-employer changes in labour laws, both piecemeal and also hastening the codification of 44 central laws into four, totally ignoring the viewpoints of trade unions. An attempt is being made to usurp funds accumulated in various welfare boards, in the name of providing “universal Social Security”. Unilaterally and through arbitrary notification on fixed term employment through executive order on the one hand and through gradual replacement of workers by apprentices in various establishments on the other, the very concept of regular employment and job security  is being sought to be wiped out from the workplaces.    Now the cabinet has come out with amendments into the Trade Union Act, 1926 which are irrational, highly discretionary and extremely damaging to the independent functioning of unions. It is designed with the dubious intention to cripple unions, to promote pocket unions or tout unions.

At the same time, the  Govt policy of mass privatization of strategic PSUs, crucial infrastructure and public utilities, specially targeting the ports, airports,  telecom, financial sector etc, with defense production and railways thrown open for 100% FDI, is aimed at loot of the national assets and resources on the one hand and destruction of country’s economic base on the other.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) condemns the notification of Delhi government under order of the Lt. Governor imposing ESMA against Electricity Employees and Engineers in NCT Delhi from joining nationwide workers general strike on 8-9 January, 2019.

Lt. Governor issued this notification using Haryana ESMA, 1974 using Government of India’s Home Ministry’s GSR extending the same in Delhi. 

ESMA notice is issued selectively against joining the strike call of CITU even though it is the joint call of 10 central trade unions and most of the independent national federations of the workers and employees.

CITU also condemns intimidation by some state governments, including the Government of West Bengal and the Government of Tamilnadu, threatening termination of service, service break, 8 days wage cuts etc attacking on the Constitutional, Statutory and Democratic rights of the workers and employees.

CITU calls upon all sections of workers and employees, irrespective of affiliations, to join the nationwide workers general strike on 8-9 January, 2019 making it historic as a befitting reply to such attacks of the governments, administrations and managements.      

Issued by
Tapan Sen
General Secretary

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions denounced the unilateral move of the Govt of India to amend the Trade Union Act 1926 in the name of bringing about so called “transparency” and avoiding “duplicacy” as noted the press briefing by Union Cabinet.  

But the text of the amendment, as available with the Central Trade Unions reveals the dubious intent of the Govt to usurp wide discretionary power with the Govt in the matter of recognition to central trade unions in total departure from existing mutually agreed practices being followed for last couple of decades, based on which verification of membership of central trade unions have been conducted number of times during last three decades. All the ten central trade unions jointly conveyed their opposition to the said Bill and also conveyed specific suggestions for changes on 10th August 2018. But none of the suggestions of the central trade unions has been accepted.

Central Trade Unions are confederations of the enterprise based registered trade union entities, which represent the workers in various tripartite or bipartite forums. Definition of the Central Trade Unions or eligibility of being considered as Central Trade Unions had already been unanimously formulated in joint meeting of the Central Trade Unions and the Union Labour Ministry on the basis of a minimum membership (to be jointly decided from time to time by similar joint meeting between the CTUOs and the Ministry of Labour & Employment) and spread over in four states. The proposed Amendment Bill has not deliberately incorporated this unanimously agreed formulation being followed from the very beginning and instead proposed “as may be prescribed” thereby usurping discretionary power with the Govt in the matter of procedure of recognition of central trade unions. Instead of so called “transparency” the Govt has been trying to retain arbitrary power in their hands in order to interfere in the trade union functioning. Already the dubious intent of the Govt stood thoroughly exposed in the manner the Govt has arbitrarily debarred the biggest central trade union in the country, Indian National Trade Union Congress(INTUC) representation in the tripartite committees including the Indian Labour Conference. All the ten central trade unions in the country opposed such proposal of the Govt.

Secondly, while the BJP Govt has been showing keenness in re-writing the procedure of recognizing  central trade unions, they remain absolutely negative in making the employer mandatorily recognizing the trade unions at the enterprise level. As a result in many workplaces throughout the country, particularly in private sector, workers are being victimized only for forming their trade unions as had happened in Maruti-Suzuki in Manesar, Haryana and the latest of such incident has been in Yamaha in Tamilnadu. Numerous struggles are going on only on the demand of recognition of trade unions in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan and other states. Existing law empowers the employer not to deal, if they like, with the trade union at the enterprise/workplace level, even if there is a single union. The entire trade union movement has been demanding since long the statutory provision of mandatory recognition of the trade unions at the enterprise level. But the proposed amendment bill totally ignored said long standing demands of the trade union movement thereby allowing their corporate masters to play ducks and drakes with the basic trade union rights of the workers.     

The proposed Trade Union (Amendment) Bill 2018 as cleared by the Cabinet of Narendra Modi is the  integral part of its package of so called “Labor Law Reforms” including the four code Bills repealing existing 44 labour laws, which is thoroughly designed with dubious articulation to impose conditions of slavery on the working people and totally abrogate trade union rights. All the trade unions in the country, barring the Govt-sponsored one led by RSS, rejected the proposed Bill with contempt it deserves and are determined to resist the pro-corporate changes in labour laws through united action.  The working people of the country are going to demonstrate their contempt through the forth coming countrywide two days general strike on 8-9 January 2019 in a massive way.

Issued by
( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary 

‘CONCENT’, the so called ‘Confederation of Central Trade Unions’, which is set to function from the BMS office, is nothing but a political instrument formed in a desperate attempt to manufacture consent to the anti worker policies of the BJP led government at the centre.

It is yet another attempt to disrupt the unity of the working class and the joint trade union movement, which the BMS deserted and got isolated after BJP, the political wing of the RSS, to which the BMS is affiliated, came to power at the centre in 2014. 

The discontent and anger of the working class was reflected in the recent period in the huge participation of workers from all over the country and from all sectors in the joint trade union ‘mahapadav’ in November 2017 and in the sectoral joint struggles that have been taking place in almost all sectors. Lakhs of workers, peasants and agricultural workers participated in the ‘Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally’ and vociferously demanded reversal of the neoliberal policies pursued by the BJP led Modi government. Tens of thousands of peasants participated in the Kisan Mukti March to the national capital, led by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, comprising over 200 peasant organisations across the country. The preparations for the 2 days’ joint trade union country wide general strike on 8-9 January 2019 are in full swing. The workers are all set to stage another historic general strike against the anti worker policies, the 18th after the advent of these policies in our country.

It is clear that not only the workers but also all sections of toiling people were angry at their deteriorating conditions. Employment, price rise and agrarian distress are major issues troubling the people. They want this BJP government, which was doggedly pursuing the anti people policies to go.

It is in this background that the BMS affiliated to the RSS, of which the BJP is the political arm, wanted to bail out the Modi government by creating confusion among the workers. Already such attempts are going on in various sectors. Recently it formed a so called ‘alliance of non political central trade unions’ by bringing together the breakaway groups and factions of a couple of central trade unions. A meeting of representatives of BMS, NFITU and the breakaway groups of INTUC and TUCC was held at BMS office on 8th December in which this so called confederation was formed. With the incumbent BMS president as chairman, this will function from the BMS office. They will draft a charter of demands, hold a ‘national conclave’ on 31st December and present the demands to the ‘group of ministers’ immediately for negotiations. Thus, this platform is claimed to give ‘solutions to the issues related to all Indian workers’.

It is to be recalled that BMS was part of the joint trade union movement which included all the central trade unions, since 2009. It was a party in drafting the common charter of demands of the joint trade union movement. It was part of the joint national conventions of workers held between 2009 and 2015 which gave unanimous calls for campaigns and struggles including jail bharo programmes and strikes. It participated in the two days’ strike in February 2013.

It had no problem in joining the joint trade union movement and participating in struggles on common demands as long as the Congress led UPA government was in power. But its discomfiture started when the BJP led government came to power in 2014. Even when it became clear that the BJP led Modi government was pursuing the same anti worker policies as the Congress led UPA government, it tried to postpone joint calls against by the central trade unions. Though it participated in the joint national convention of workers in May 2015, it backstabbed the joint trade union movement and withdrew from the country wide general strike on 2nd September 2015. This was done just a few days before the strike, after discussions with the ‘group of ministers’. Even when the government made no concrete assurance on any of the demands and all the other central trade unions decided to go on strike as decided earlier, the BMS announced that the ‘government was positive to the demands of trade unions’ and withdrew from the strike. Since then it has deserted the joint trade union movement. Obviously this was under instructions of its ‘political bosses’. Before the countrywide general strike on 2nd September 2016, the same ‘group of ministers’ constituted by the BJP government invited the BMS, which has not given any call for the strike and staged a show of having discussions; the government did not call the other central trade unions which called for the strike for discussions.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions extends full support and solidarity to the programme of indefinite strike by all employees and officers from 3rd December 2018 at the call of All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) demanding wage revision of all which has fallen long overdue, allotment of 4G spectrum to BSNL, revsion of pension from 1-1-2017 and other demands.

The wage revision for employees and officers of BSNL is their existing right which is being sought to be taken away  and denied by the Govt on the plea of DPE recommendation which is totally untenable. In fact the concerned Minister has himself committed for commencement of wage negotiation for the employees and after commencement of negotiation and its progress, the Ministry went back from its commitment. Owing to dedicated services by employees and officers,  BSNL has been consistently earning operating profit in 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 and the wage revision has fallen due for employees and officers since 1-1-2017.   Upward revision of pension has also fallen due from 1-1-2017 which follows from the revised wage pattern itself.

The BSNL employees also demanded allotment of 4G spectrum for BSNL which is being delayed deliberately by the Govt to allow advantage to the private telecom operators at the cost of BSNL. The Unions and Associations of BSNL have long been pursuing this demand which demonstrate their commitment to the company whereas dilly-dullying with this issue by Govt exposes their design of sabotaging the interests of the public sector BSNL in order to benefit the private telecom operators mostly run in partnership with foreign companies. While fighting for this demand, the employees and officers are upholding national interests which deserves support from all concerned.

CITU extends solidarity with the forthcoming united indefinite strike action by employees and officers of BSNL and calls upon trade union movement and workers of all affiliations to extend their support to the determined  struggles of the BSNL employees.

CITU also demands upon the Govt to see reasons and concede to the just demands of the employees and officers of BSNL who are actually contributors to BSNL’s earning operating profit during last four years, in the interests of all concerned.

Issued by
( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary 

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions condemns the desperate bid of the Govt of India to privatise Air India piece by piece in favour of the private corporate, foreign and domestic.

As reported in the press, the Govt has decided to go for strategic sale of 100% stake in Air India’s ground handling subsidiary, Air India Air Transport Services Ltd (AIATSL). The Govt has been pushing through privatization of this profit making subsidiary unit of Air India, which has earned a profit of Rs 334 million in 2016-17 with a revenue generation of Rs 6.2 billion. The Govt has embarked on privatizing its profit making subsidiary AIATSL after its hell-bent effort to privatise Air India as a whole failed to get any response. Similar move of privatization in respect of its other profit-making subsidiaries cannot be ruled out in the days to come, since the Govt of the day is desperate in outright sale of strategic public assets and infrastructures by any means and at any cost, totally unconcerned of its disastrous impact on national interests.

And same desperate move of the BJP Govt at the centre to transfer public assets and infrastructure to private hands on a platter is also revealed by the Govt’s move to privatise six major Airports of the country at Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvanantapuram and Mangaluru. All these airports were modernized with huge expenditure of hundreds of crores of rupees from national exchequer through Airport Authority of India. And now these modernized airports, all in the state capitals, are being sold out to private corporates empowering them with unfettered rights and authority also to utilize the huge land assets under these airports for commercial purposes including building hotels, shopping mall etc. It is nothing but a design of loot on the crucial infrastructure but also the exploitation of huge land assets at their disposal for private profit. 

CITU denounces such desperate move of the BJP Govt to sell out public assets and infrastructure on a platter to private entities particularly when it is having couple of months left for its present tenure. CITU asserts that such desperate bid of all out privatization of everything  by the BJP Govt in a hurry must be resisted and CITU calls upon the working class to unite and fight such anti-national move of sell out and privatization. CITU is confident the working class will give a befitting reply to such retrograde move of the Govt through massive countrywide general strike on 8-9 January 2019.   

Issued by
(Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

 

Cyclone Gaja which hit Tamil Nadu had caused huge losses/damages of infrastructure, properties and displaced many. About fifty people lost their lives.  Around one lakh people are in relief camps in Nagapatinam, Cuddalore, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Trichy, Dindigul, Theni  districts. 

The cyclone had caused damages to hundreds of houses, uprooted over more than 5,000 trees and about 13,000 electric poles across the state. Life was severely hit as the supply of electricity and essentials was disrupted and transport was affected.

We demand that the state and central governments to take all possible steps to rescue and for relief and rehabilitation of the affected involving the people as was done in Kerala.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions calls upon the working class in general and the working class of Tamil Nadu in particular to stand in solidarity with the people affected by Gaja cyclone. We call upon the CITU union committees and members to involve in rescue, relief and rehabilitation works and extend all possible help to the affected.

Issued by
Tapan Sen
General Secretary

Arun Jailtley says his government ‘missed’ adding MDM workers in the latest announcement on increase in remuneration of anganwadi and ASHA workers.

More than fifteen thousand Mid Day Meal Workers assembled at Parliament Street today,(on 19 November 2018) at the call of Mid Day Meal Workers’ federations affiliated to the central trade unions.  Workers from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, HP, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Manipur, MP, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, UP, Uttarakhand and West Bengal shouted anti BJP-NDA-Modi slogans and demanded immediate increase in their remuneration.

The presidium of the meeting consisted of Dr.B V Vijayalakshmi(AITUC), Kanta Mahant (CITU) and Sohila Gupta (AICCTU). From the central trade Unions Amarjeet Kaur (AITUC), A R Sindhu (CITU), Geeta Mandal (AICCTU), M Chaurasia( AIUTUC), Ujjaini (INTUC)and Ashok Ghosh (UTUC) addressed the gathering. A R Sindhu said that the scheme workers are contributing labour worth rupees one lakh crore to the development of the nation and our fight is a struggle to get this accounted. She called upon the mid day meal workers to make the national general strike on 8-9 January 2019 a grand success.  D Raja, MP and Sai Balaji, JNUSU president also addressed the gathering.

Jaibhagawan, General Secretary, MDMWFI (CITU) narrated the governments’ efforts to privatise the scheme and the resistance against it. The central government is not even considering the promise made by the HRD Ministry in the 45th Indian Labour Conference to increase the remuneration to Rs.3000 per month. When the government increased the remuneration of anganwadi and ASHA workers they just ignored the 26 lakh mid day meal workers and discriminated against them, he said. He also narrated different struggles of the mid day meal workers in different states and the achievements of increased remuneration, uniform, and medical treatment in case of accidents etc.

Thursday, 25 October 2018 15:01

Remuneration Increase for ASHA Facilitators

The AICCAW welcomes the announcement by the government that the monthly remuneration of ASHA facilitators will be increased by Rs. 1000.

In September a similar increase was announced by the Prime Minister, for ASHA workers, in recognition of their valuable contribution in the public health sector, in the NHM.  However, the increase is extremely small and far from the 45th ILC recommendation for regularisation, payment of minimum wages and provision of social security benefits and pension for all Scheme workers and so the struggle for these will continue.

The government has been compelled to make this announcement  because of the continuous struggles by these workers and also the intervention made by the General Secretary of CITU, Shri Tapan Sen, ex Rajya Sabha MP, with the Prime Minister and Health Minister.

However there appears to be some confusion regarding which section of workers this increase will apply to as there are differing reports in the media. The government should clarify this matter.   

It is also significant that the announcement has been made on the eve of assembly elections in 5 states.

The AICCAW calls upon the ASHA workers and facilitators to gear up for more intense struggles for their justified demands and to prepare fully for the two day General Strike declared by the central trade unions on 8, 9 January 2019

Issued by
Ranjana Nirula
Convenor

 

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions denounces the Govt’s total inaction in addressing the problems of Employees Pension Scheme - 1995 and the concerned pensioners despite the continuing persuasion by the pensioners’ organizations, and trade unions including CITU.

At the time of introduction of EPS 1995, CITU opposed the scheme almost singlehandedly since it offered much less benefits compared to contribution made by the workers throughout their service life. The matter went up to Supreme Court and the then Govt could get the approval of Supreme Court for the scheme by showcasing number of benefits being offered like commutation of pension and return of capital etc. But soon thereafter all those benefits viz., commutation and return of capital have been unilaterally withdrawn by the Govt arrogantly ignoring the opposition of the trade unions including CITU.  The utter deception as well as arrogance of the Govt has gone to such nefarious extent that those pensioners who could avail the commutation of a part of their pension as per the then prevalent rules are still being subjected to  continuous deduction in their meager pension amount even after the entire commutation amount is fully realized and such illegitimate deduction from the concerned pensioners has still been continuing for years together even after they have paid back the full commutation amount despite repeated pointers to such illegitimate deductions by the trade unions and pensioners.  This is nothing but forcible and usurious extortion on the EPS pensioners by the Govt which is condemnable.

Even after prolonged persuasion by the trade unions, minimum pension under EPS was made Rs 1000/- and the same was notified in 2014. But even this was not implemented properly and lakhs of pensioners are even now getting much less than the notified minimum of Rs 1000.

The Govt has been overactive in finding innovative ways how to curtail the benefits of poor pensioners under EPS and that has reached to a crooked extent. Even the clear direction of the Supreme Court to pension calculated on the actual pay at the time of superannuation provided they agree to contribute to pension fund as per their actual pay is being violated by the Govt through EPFO in a crookedly innovative manner by way of unjustly denying such benefits to the workers under exempted establishments despite opposition of trade union representatives in Central Board of Trustees of EPFO and the entire trade union movement as such.

Now recently the Kerala High Court has delivered a judgment on 12th October 2018 which has struck down most of the anti-worker amendments in EPS 1995 unilaterally imposed by Govt aiming at substantial reduction in pensioner benefits. This judgment has been given in response to a set of petitions by pensioners and their organizations.

The Modi Govt as usual is moving to deny the benefits of the Kerala High Court award by pushing the entire matter to further litigation which is condemnable.

CITU demand that the Government and EPFO should accept the Kerala High Court Judgment and also implement fully the earlier Supreme Court Judgment on higher Pension to all without any exception including those in exempted establishment’s category. Govt should also restore the unilaterally withdrawn benefits and also implement pending decisions of the CBT, which are beneficial to Pensioners.

Issued by
(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary

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