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Wednesday, 22 April 2015 09:57

CITU Supports the Strike in BSNL

22nd April 2015


CITU congratulates the 2.25 lakhs of employees of BSNL, including 40,000 executives for their successful countrywide united strike for 48 hours on 21st and 22nd April 2015.
The strike call given by the Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations, an umbrella organization of all the unions and association of employees and executives. It was after 4 months of their strike notice, they have gone on strike.
The issues raised by the Forum are the issues of saving the public sector telecom enterprise which is being derided of all support from the Government and at the same time the private players in the sector are favoured and supported.
It is unfortunate that the employees of a telecom PSU are forced to go on a 48 hour strike for procurement of equipments like mobile lines, broadband modem etc. All the demands including filling up of vacancies are aimed at strengthening the enterprise.
It is condemnable that the concerned Minister or the Department Secretary did not even call the unions for a discussion on their demands.
CITU urges the Government to take necessary steps to save this crucial PSU. CITU assures all support to the employees and executives in their struggle in defence of the PSU and calls upon them to be prepared for united actions of all public sector employees in defence of public sector undertakings in the country.
Issued by,

 

(A K PADMANABHAN)
President

CITU congratulates the working Class of India for the successful National Protest Day on 5th December 2014. In a show of class unity, the working class of   India had proved its readiness to face the open challenge  to it by the Modi Government.

 

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19th November, 2014

 

CITU condemns handing over new Thermal Plant of Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) to the private Sector Tata Power.

DVC, a Central Public Sector Undertaking, has set up a Thermal Power Plant in the district of Purulia, West Bengal, viz., Raghunathpur Thermal Power Station. The first unit of this Thermal Power Plant whose capacity is 600 MW has already been commissioned. Construction of the second phase of this project has already started whose capacity will be 1200 MW.

DVC has already spent more than Rs.6,000 crores for the construction of the first phase of the project. 900 acres of land was acquired by the State Government and it was handed over to the DVC for the construction of the Power Plant. The Central Government has now decided to hand over the Raghunathpur Thermal Power Station to the private sector Tata Power. This is nothing, but virtual gift of a newly constructed Public Sector Power Plant to private Sector by frittering away public funds for private interest. When DVC has the capacity and capability to run this unit why it is being handed over to Tata? The land was acquired for DVC’s project and not for the Tata. The decision to hand over the Public Sector Unit to a private sector company is in accordance with the policy of the present government.

CITU deplores such move and demands that the decision taken by the DVC Board at the direction of Government of India must be reversed and the Power Plant must remain in the Public Sector under DVC. CITU also demands that the government must desist from such handing over of public sector units and public funds to private sector for promoting private gains.


Issued by,
TAPAN SEN
GENERAL SECRETARY

The Secretariat of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has issued the following statement to the media:

Despite repeated resolute united opposition by Coal workers against any step by Government to denationalize coal industry, disinvestment, allowing commercial coal mining by domestic or foreign private companies, undermine the public sector character of Coal India Limited (CIL), any step to restructure the CIL; the Government of India has promulgated “The Coal Mines (Special Provision) Ordinance to primarily denationalize coal industry through Section 28 of the Act. The Ordinance provided power to the Government to allow private companies to enter into private commercial mining. This provision amounts to steps towards denationalization of coal industry in our country.

It is a matter of humiliation and indignation that the Government has atrociously violated the assurance given to the trade unions in CIL for discussion on the matter and gone for unilateral action totally ignoring the united highly appreciable stand of the unions. In the meantime outsourcing/contractualisation/private agency system in coal mining has been expanding in the industry without paying any heed to the opposition of the coal workers.

CITU has been extending active support to the struggles of the coal workers from time to time on the aforementioned demands. CITU is of the firm opinion that the coal workers have been demonstrating important sense of national responsibility for safeguarding the energy interest of the country by opposing the disastrous acts of the Government.

In view of this, CITU strongly feels that the Government has pushed the coal workers into a situation under which there is no other alternative but to go for strike. CITU, therefore, extends full support to the decision of Coal workers to go for one day’s Token Strike on 24th November 2014 to put pressure on the Government to withdraw the derogatory ordinance and protect the national energy assets and to safeguard the public sector entity of Maharatna CIL

CITU appeals to each and every regular and contractual coal workers as well as the employees of CIL to actively join the proposed strike action and compel the Government to give up their scheme of handing over the coal sector of the country to domestic and foreign private coal companies which is bound to not only destroy the national coal industry but also will have adverse cascading impact on the entire energy sectors in the country. CITU further appeals to all public sector industry workers to extend solidarity support to the strike action. CITU Secretariat directs all concerned State Committees to mobilize all out support to the campaign and the strike action.

Issued by

(Swadesh Dev Roye)

Secretary

Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:31

Ordinance to take back 214 coal blocks

The government's decision to promulgate ordinance to take back 214 coal blocks previously allocated to various private entities for so called captive use following the Order of Supreme Court quashing such allocation is noted. This judgement was vindication of the stand of the Central Trade Unions and Coal Workers’ Federations opposing the scandalous allocations to private entities. But the government's move to again reallocate most of those coal blocks to private entities through first round e auction is not at all a welcome decision. Also unwelcome is the reported enabling provision in the proposed Ordinance for commercial mining by private entities in future may be through subsequent rounds, as reported by the media. Such enabling provision, if any, will open the door for denationalization of coal sector. CITU condemns the move of the government to nullify the Coal Nationalisation Act.

These 200 plus coal blocks were allotted mostly to private entities during the span of last twenty years or so for mining coal for captive use of which only a small numbers could be made operational, that too, mostly by public sector companies. The incompetence of private entities to explore and produce coal even from the blocks allotted to them stands conclusively proved.

All the workers unions/federations in coal sector, while welcoming the decision of the Supreme Court canceling such scandalous coal block allocation, have already demanded that all those deallocated coal blocks must be vested/returned to Coal India Ltd and cautioned the government to refrain from any move, both direct to tinker and/or tamper into the basic content and spirit of Coal Nationalisation Act 1973. Return of all those coal blocks under Apex Court's order to Coal India Ltd must be the only response by the government in the post-Supreme Court-order-situation which is consistent with the mandate of the Coal Nationalisation Act 1973.

The CITU opposes any move for denationalisation of coal industry and calls upon the workers and the trade union movement to unitedly resist such disastrous move of allowing commercial mining by private entities at the initiation stage itself. The CITU also urges Govt to reconsider it's decision to auction those coal blocks again to private entities and instead vest all of them to Coal India Ltd for exploration and mining. Coal India Ltd should remain the only nodal agency to mine coal and deliver to consumers including industries in national interest and it should be further strengthened consolidated.

A K PADMANABHAN

This National Convention of Workers being held under the banner of joint platform of all the Central Trade Unions of the country along with independent national federations/organizations from all the sectors and service establishments expresses deep concern at the unilateral move to amend the labour laws by a number of state governments and by the Central Govt. Most of the amendments sought to be done will have serious negative impact on the working conditions including trade union rights of the workers and the employees. It is unfortunate that in spite of the assurance given by the Labour Minister that Central Trade Unions will be consulted, these amendments in labour laws are being pushed through without any consultations with them.  

The amendments passed by Rajasthan Assembly on 31st July, 2014 in Industrial Disputes Act, Factories Act, Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act and Apprenticeship Act will make hire and fire much easier for the employers and will result in rampant casualisation of employment. Liberalising the provisions of Factories Act will imperil the safety at work place in small and medium scale enterprises and will push majority of factories out of its coverage. Similarly raising the threshold employment ceiling of 20 to 50 workers for registration of contractors will enable the principal employer and contractor to become unaccountable for service conditions of the workers in a large number of enterprises. It is unfortunate that the Govt. being model employer deploys the largest number of contract workers and thereby depriving them of the security of job, wage and social security benefits.

The Amendment Bills already introduced in Parliament by the Central Govt on Factories Act, Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers for certain Establishments) Act and Apprentices Act are also designed to bring about such changes which will adversely affect the service conditions of the workers throwing overwhelming majority of them out of the coverage of all basic labour laws. The Factories Act Amendment Bill introduced in Lok Sabha on 7th August 2014 further liberalises the coverage of factories under the Act as amendment proposed in definition of factories (Section 2m) authorizes States to fix number of workers for coverage under the Act. This will legitimize amendment already passed by Rajasthan Assembly on 31st July, 2014. The Central Govt. is also considering amendments in Minimum Wages Act and Industrial Disputes Act. The amendment to Apprenticeship Act will pave the way for replacement of the contract/casual/ temporary workers and even regular workers by comparatively low paid apprentices. Moreover, these amendments will straightway empower and encourage the state governments to bring about pro-employer changes in labour laws as per the Rajasthan model. The process of amendments in labour laws is also aimed to do away with tripartite consultation mechanism.

In essence, all moves of amendments in the labour laws, both by the central government and by the Govt in Rajasthan are aimed at empowering the employers to retrench/layoff workers or declare closure/shut down at will and also resort to mass scale contractorisation. These are also designed to push out more than seventy per cent of the industrial and service establishments in the country and their workers out of the purview of almost all labour laws, thereby allowing the employers a free hand to further squeeze and exploit the workers. The Convention also expressed dismay over the Govt's total inaction in implementing the consensus recommendations of 43rd, 44th and 45th Indian Labour Conferences on formulation of minimum wages, same wage and benefits as regular workers for the contract workers and granting status of workers with attendant benefits to those employed in various central govt schemes. It is also noted with utter dismay that the present government is also continuing to ignore the ten point demands of entire trade union movement pertaining to concrete action to be taken for containing price-rise and aggravating unemployment situation, for strict implementation of labour laws, halting mass scale unlawful contractorisation, ensuring minimum wages for all of not less than Rs 15000 per month and universal social security benefits and pension for all including the unorganized sector workers etc. the demands also include compulsory registration of Trade Unions within 45 days and ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98. The National Convention also denounced the retrograde move of the Govt in hiking/allowing FDI in Defence sector, Insurance, Railways and other sectors and also its aggressive move for disinvestment in PSUs including financial sector which will be detrimental to the interests of the national economy, national security as well as mass of the common people.

The Convention demands upon the Rajasthan Govt. to reverse the enacted amendments to' the labour laws and urge upon the Central Govt. to desist from its unilateral move to amend labour laws and consult and honour the views of Central Trade Unions on the issue. The Convention also demands immediate steps to implement the consensus recommendations of successive Indian Labour Conferences and also positive response to long pending ten-point demands of the entire trade union movement of the country. The Convention urges the Central Govt to desist from mindless drive to liberalise FDI in

defence, insurance, Railways etc and instead reverse the direction of the ongoing economic policy regime which has landed the entire national economy in distress and decline affecting the working people most. 

The Convention calls upon all the trade unions, federations across the sector to widen and consolidate the unity at the grass-root level and prepare for countrywide united movement to halt and resist the brazen anti-worker and anti-people policles of the Govt and in preparation to the same undertakes unanimously the following programmes: 

1. State level joint conventions during September-October; wherever possible initiative may be taken to hold district-level and industry-level joint conventions

2. National Protest Day 5.12.2014 through massive joint demonstration in all state capitals. At Delhi Joint demonstration of workers from the neighbouring states will be held. 

The National Convention calls upon the trade unions and working people irrespective of affiliations to unite and make the above programme a massive success paving way for countrywide united struggle to resist the onslaught on the life and livelihood of working people through out the country.

Third October, the Foundation Day of World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) is observed every year as International Day of Action. This year, WFTU gave the call to observe International Day of Action focussing on the slogan ‘Fighting against Unemployment; For Dignified Work’. WFTU termed unemployment as the ‘biggest, most dangerous problem for the international working class in the whole capitalist world’.

As per the call of WFTU, International Day of Action was observed all over the world, in scores of countries in all the continents. The Central activity was of WFTU was held in Palmela in Portugal where George Mavrikos, general secretary of WFTU addressed a conference. In Greece, where youth unemployment has crossed 50%, the WFTU affiliated trade union PAME has organised protest demonstrations, picketing etc outside the Ministry of Finance and the local employment offices as well as mass demonstrations in 54 cities all around the country. In South Africa the health workers’ union NEHAWU organised a massive demonstration outside the South African parliament as well as in all the provinces of South Africa. In Asia, in addition to India, demonstrations were organised in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia and other countries. International Action Day was also observed in several countries in Latin America including Brazil, Chile, Peru, in Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt etc in the Middle East.

Despite 3rd October falling on Vijaya Dasami an important festival in India and amidst holidays, the Action Day was observed all over the country with impressive participation of not only workers and employees but other sections of the society as well, like students, youth and peasants.

In the national capital Delhi, the Left trade unions affiliated to WFTU organised a procession that started from the headquarters of AITUC and culminated in a meeting in the auditorium of BT Ranadive Bhawan, the headquarters of CITU, in which workers from CITU, AITUC, AIUTUC, AICCTU and UTUC participated. Leaders and members of WFTU affiliated unions in the insurance, banks, telecom, central government etc sectors also participated in the programme.

The meeting was presided over by Hemalata, secretary, CITU, Amarjeet Kaur, secretary, AITUC, Harish Tyagi, secretary, AIUTUC, VKS Gautam from AICCTU and Shatrujeet Singh from UTUC. AK Padmanabhan, president of CITU, GL Dhar, secretary, AITUC, RK Sharma, secretary, AIUTUC, Santosh Rai, secretary, AICCTU and RS Dagar from UTUC addressed the gathering.

AK Padmanabhan underlined the importance of the call given by the presidential council of WFTU to focus on unemployment and dignified employment. He said that in the capitalist system employers utilise the unemployed as a ‘reserve army’ to curtail the bargaining strength of the workers. The new government at the centre led by the BJP was going ahead with the same neoliberal agenda as the erstwhile Congress led government but with renewed vigour. All the central trade unions have already announced their intention to fight against the attacks on the rights of the workers. Curtailing unemployment through policies that create jobs is one of the demands of the central trade unions. He emphasised the need to expose the policies and the system that promotes unemployment and precarious employment and mobilise the workers to fight against such system. This should not be a one day affair but a continuous process of taking the message to the grass root level workers.

Reports received till now from different parts of the country show that the Day of Action was observed all over the country including in Assam, Tripura, Kerala, Punjab and West Bengal etc with effective preparations and mobilisations.

Kerala state committee of CITU made detailed preparations for effective observance of International Action Day on 3rd October, the foundation day of WFTU. As per the call of WFTU, the different programmes that took place in all the 14 districts in the states highlighted the slogan ‘Fighting against Unemployment; For Dignified Work’.

Processions and public meetings were held in 8 districts, not only at the district headquarters but also in more than 25 different centres. Seminars, meetings and other programmes were held in the other districts. More than 43000 posters, leaflets, badges, flexi boards etc were printed, distributed and displayed all over the state. Around 23000 people, most of them workers but also students, youth and peasants participated in these programmes. In one city, Kozhikode, around 5000 workers participated in the rally.

In all the districts, CITU took the initiative for effective observance of the International Day of Action. In some districts AITUC also joined while in some others all the Left trade unions and other fraternal trade union organisations of teachers, bank and insurance employees and the organisations of students, youth and peasants also participated.

In Tripura, International Day of Action was observed on 3rd October with hundreds of members of CITU and other mass organisations participating in the demonstrations and meetings held all over the state.

The Kolkata district committee of CITU organised a meeting on 4th October in Krishnapada Ghosh Memorial Trust hall, in which workers from different industries participated. A meeting of leading cadres of CITU was also held by the Howrah district committee of CITU on 5th October.

Demonstrations and dharnas were organised all over the state on 3rd October to observe International Day of Action in Punjab. Despite the day being a holiday, large number of employees, workers and unemployed trained teachers, pharmacists, and youth participated in the demonstrations. An impressive rally was organised in Ludhiana during which the protesters burnt the effigies of the state and central governments. Rallies were also organised in Mansa, Armitsar and other district headquarters in the state.

In Telangana, a joint meeting of CITU, AITUC and AIUTUC was held on 7th October. In addition to these central trade unions, the leaders of bank, insurance, central government employees and students’ and youth organisations also participated in the meeting.

Several other state committees of CITU have planned seminars, hall meetings, conventions etc as part of the observance of the Action Day against unemployment on different days in the first part of October.

Thursday, 02 October 2014 00:00

Workers Against Unemployment

      1. International Day of Action – 3rd October

        World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), the only class oriented International Trade Union, has called upon the working people to observe its foundation day – 3rd October – as the International Day of Action. This year the call is to observe the day as a Day of struggle against unemployment.

        The slogans for the observance of the day, as finalized by the Presidential Council, in its meeting in Rome, in February 2014, are of crucial importance to every workers, in different parts of the world. “Fighting against unemployment and for dignified work, demanding protective measures for unemployed and also for permanent and stable work”. These slogans being raised in the present day situation of the world of work demands total involvement of the working people to make it people’s demand.

        Unemployment and under employment continues to be one of the most crucial issues confronting every section of working people – For those who are already employed and for those who are in search of a job.

        International Labour Organisation in its World of Work report 2014, pointed out that over the next five years, there will be an estimated 213 million new labour market entrants – 200 million in developed countries alone. The same report also underlines the critical aspect of youth unemployment as a serious offshoot of the crisis.

        As is well known, capitalist system exists on the basis of keeping a large chunk of job seekers as unemployed. With the crisis that broke open in 2007-08, situation has become grim. In every part of the world, unemployment has become the most serious issue confronting the society.

        As the General Secretary of WFTU, George Mavrikose pointed out in his report to the 16th Congress of WFTU - “the capitalist financial crisis, which unfolded in all developed capitalist countries has dramatically worsened the situation for the working class in all aspects of lives.” In his report to the Presidential Council in Rome, General Secretary noted that “Capitalism is condemning millions of workers to unemployment, poverty. The system is unable to meet even the basic needs of the people”.

        In the developed world

        Europe, which generally is bracketed with the developed world is witnessing massive protest actions against the policies of the ruling class. Unemployment continues to be a major issue. Unemployment figures, especially youth unemployment, are shooting up. It is 57% in Greece, 54 in Spain, 43.3 in Italy and 36.1 in Portugal. In the 34 countries coming under OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) there were 10.7 million unemployed youth in April this year. This is about 25% of the total unemployed in those countries, i.e. about 45 million registered unemployed are there in those 34 countries!

        This is how an Indian Financial Daily very recently noted on the situation in Europe – “In much of the Euro zone, the toxic combination of high public debt (it is over 100 percent in large parts of the region) and high unemployment persists”. They are sure that “there is little doubt that the euro zone is not emphatically out of crisis”. And so, the toxic situation prevails!

        Identical situation exists in USA. In an article published in Washington Post on 1st September in connection with the Labour Day in US, it is noted that “ever since the 2008-09 financial crisis, job market has been in a state of heart breaking weakness”. The article itself was titled “Workers at the mercy of Markets”. It quoted a poll by Gallup which said, “19 percent of workers still fear of being laid off”. Read with this, another report which said 62 per cent of Americans judged jobs `difficult to find’. A report by news agency Reuters on 5th September says that US job growth in August 2014 is weakest in 8 months.

        On the quality of jobs in USA, a report in Economic Times dated 8th September 2014 noted that unemployment rate has `fallen’ to 6.2% “but the experts are wary of the strength of US economy”. It noted that “participation rate of US labour has fallen to 62.9%, the lowest figure since 1980. The participation rate shows the share of working age population either employed or seeking job. The chief reason assigned to the drop of participation rate is lots of people who are jobless for 3-4 years have stopped searching jobs! A drop of work force saps the largest economy of the world of manpower needed to boost economic expansion”. In simple terms it means that in addition to those working and those searching for a job there are huge number of men and women who have stopped searching for a job, as it is “difficult to find”!

        Freelance Workers

        Here, we are not going into the problems of those who are working. Washington Post in an article on 1st September said that `Since late 2009, hourly earnings have risen at an annual rate of about 2 per cent, but when corrected to inflation, wage increase vanish’. They also say that `bargaining power has shifted to employers. With jobs scarce, workers just take what they get’. Washington Post also notes – “Companies have controlled costs through lay-off, skimpy wage increases and greater reliance on independent contractors, which often pay less and provide fewer fringe benefits’. American `experts’ have now started writing about freelance workers! – A worker who has no job security, no statutory benefits and who will work whenever, wherever he or she gets a job. A really free person at the mercy of the free market – the, liberated freelance worker’.

        Though all the above said are about the situation in USA, this applies to almost all countries under the capitalist system to-day.

        India to-day

        The census report of 2011, details of which were released in July 2014, says that the unemployment rate in the 25-29 age group was nearly 18 per cent and more than 20 per cent of Indians in the 15-24 age group were jobless and seeking work. Times of India on 2nd July 2014 reported that “the army of unemployed youth is staggeringly huge – around 4.7 crores of which 2.6 crore were men and 2.1 crore women”.

        Over all unemployment rate among the working age population in 15-59 age group was according to Times of India “a worrisome 14.5 per cent, including marginal workers seeking work. In the 25-29 age group, the unemployment rate was nearly 18 per cent. Even among those in 30-34 age group, nearly 6 per cent were unemployed, number over 1.2 crore”.

        As per reports, unemployment rate among the socially oppressed sections likes Dalits and Adivasis was higher with 18 per cent among Dalits and 19 per cent among adivasis in 15-59 age group.

        Lack of any worth mentioning Social Security Scheme in our country is exposed again when the Census report mentions that 18.5 lakhs persons of age over 80 years are still working and another 6.5 lakh octogenarians eke out a living as ill paid marginal workers.

        In absolute terms, 46.9 million of India’s youth, of whom much is being discussed nowadays, as demographic dividend to the country, were in search of jobs in 2011 compared with 33.5 million in 2001. This 46.9 million works out to 20 per cent of our youth population!

        Govt. and the unemployed

        As far as the Govt. of India is concerned, the only effort on job guarantee was on rural employment with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA). This was confined to `guaranteeing’ – a misnomer in practice – 100 days of work in rural areas. After almost a decade, the data shows that barely 9% house holds allotted work under the scheme have got work for 100 days! Now, the Modi Govt is after the scheme, by reducing the fund and trying to dilute the scheme in various methods. This so-called flagship scheme itself is facing serious threat.

        Vulnerable employment

        World of work report 2014 from ILO says that `more than half the workforce in developing world numbering 1.45 billion are in vulnerable employment and this presents a formidable challenge’.
        It is well known that the same is the situation in India, where the huge majority of workers are without a guaranteed income, social protection etc putting the future of the young generation in jeopardy. The latest NSSO (National Sample Survey Organization) report says that “68.8 per cent of workers across India in 2011-12, neither had a job contract or were eligible for paid leave, compared to 63 per cent in 2004-05”. The report also point out that “95 per cent of casual labourers are without any job contract”. This makes it clear that these workers, who are involved in asset building for the country, did not even exist in any records so as to get at least some statutory benefits!

        These facts are again confirmed by the World Bank’s World Development report 2014, which shows that “during 2001-10, people with a regular wage and salaries were only 17% of India’s total employed population”. World Bank also says that the so-called high growth years following 1990s “have failed to create jobs”.

        Planning Commission

        Recent analysis on the employment scene in India point out to the facts that even among professional people unemployment is increasing. Planning Commission, which will soon be extinct had said – “India needs to create 1 to 1.5 crore jobs per year for the next decade to provide gainful employment to its young population”. The Commission has also noted –“Large Indian business – both in the Public and Private Sector – have not generated significant employment in the past few decades and are unlikely to do so in the coming decade or two”. The Commission also noted that `Public Sector and Govt. employment has declined in the past few years’ and `large private sector firms have also been slow in generating employment which is unlikely to change due to increase in automation, digitalization and productivity gains!’

        Magic Wand!

        So, it is a vicious circle – no jobs and even and if there are we get only vulnerable jobs. And all the gains of productivity and profit to go to the corporates. It is in such a situation, World Bank, International investors and the Indian ruling class have found out that the only magic wand to increase employment is the labour reforms – immediately amending labour laws to take away almost 90% of the existing workers out of purview of labour legislations! Our Labour Minister told the Indian parliament recently that “World Bank suggested simplification and modernization of labour laws to encourage higher productivity and employment generation in India”.

        It is in this situation Indian workers should be shoulder to shoulder with the unemployed youth and also join their brothers and sisters all over the world, demanding employment and security of jobs.

        The demands raised by WFTU are demands of the huge majority of the world population. But, the efforts of attaining these demands will raise many questions about how and why of the present social set-up.

        Comrade B.T. Ranadive, founder President CITU, reminded us – “It is the law of the capitalist society that unemployment must increase, that there must be an army at the disposal of capitalists to keep down the wages of workers when the need for more labourers arises. In the competition all capitalists try to surpass their rivals to economise labour, use less labour and these lead to increased unemployment”.

        It is not the observance of a day or a protest week that is going to make a change. These issues need to be constantly taken up and people mobilized in support of the demand for job for all and make the right to work a fundamental right.

        Considering the basic character of capitalist state, this struggle for right to work and jobs for all has to be taken up as a struggle against the policies of the Govt. to be developed into a struggle for a change in the social set up!

        The mobilizations on 3rd October should reflect the reality of our arduous task before the Indian Working Class.

 - A.K. Padmanabhan

Friday, 29 August 2014 10:01

SC judgment on Coal Scam

26TH August 2014

       

CORRUPTION IN-BUILT IN NEOLIBERALISM STANDS VINDICATED

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) welcomes the Supreme Court’s observation in declaring all coal-block allocations for captive use since 1993 illegal on ground of gross lack of transparency and fairness, exercise of arbitrariness and violation of guidelines causing huge loss to public exchequer as well as to the consumers both in industry and the common people.  In fact such irregularities and corruption being indulged since 1993 in coal-block allocations for captive use under almost all successive central governments since then vindicate the inbuilt corruption-prone character of the neoliberal policy trajectory; in fact, the legislation amending and/or diluting the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act to permit such allocation of coal blocks to specific industry for captive use has been proved to be self-defeating and opened the floodgate of rampant exercise of unfair arbitrariness and discretion in such allocations particularly to private sector giving rise to such huge scam. None of governments in the centre since 1993 can wash-off their hands from the responsibility of such scam and irregularities.

It should also be noted that out of 200 plus coal blocks allocated for captive use since 1993, hardly 30 blocks could be brought under operation during these long 21 years, which also comprehensively proved the total inefficacy and impracticability of the very scheme of such allocations for captive purpose, thereby warranting scrapping of the concerned enabling legislation.

Supreme Court will be considering the consequences of cancellation of coal block allocations for captive use because of the irregularities/illegalities involved, on September 1, 2014 as reported by the press.

In this context, CITU is of the considered and firm opinion that the allocated coal blocks should come back to Coal India Ltd, and Coal India should be empowered and strengthened with adequate financial, operational and functional autonomy to act as an only nodal agency to develop, mine, produce and deliver coal both to industries and the common people. CITU demands upon the Govt of India to ensure return of all the coal blocks to Coal India Ltd for further development, mining and production operation besides taking concrete steps to bring those responsible for the coal-gate scam and irregularities to book.

Issued by,


(TAPAN SEN)
General Secretary

29th August 2014

Dear Shri Ananth Kumar ji,

I request your urgent intervention in bringing about effective corrective action to the gross perversion created in the market of the essential and life savings drugs severely affecting the right to access to those essential and life saving drugs at affordable price for the mass of the common populace through the Drug Prices Control Order, 2013(DPCO, 2013),  introduced by the previous government. The DPCO 2013 brought 387 odd drugs under the price-control regime but simultaneously the basis of stipulation of the ceiling price was changed from the cost-based approach prevalent earlier to market-based average price regime thereby rendering the price-control meaningless rather deceptive. Moreover the manner, drugs have been listed under DPCO suffered from serious inadequacies in terms of coverage of the actual medicinal necessities/usage by the common people, defeating the very purpose of price-control of essential and life saving drugs for the benefit of common people. Therefore, the DPCO, 2013 needs a thorough overhauling both in respect of enlisting the essential drugs ensuring full coverage of the drugs needed and used as essential and life-saving and also in respect of basis of stipulation of celing price to be made on a cost-based approach.

The basic issues involved may be presented as following:    
1.     The previous UPA-II Govt. introduced a Drug Prices Control Order(DPCO), 2013 following direction of the Supreme Court. But Supreme Court never directed a switch-over from cost-based pricing to market-based average pricing for drugs listed in the control order.
2.    But the order departed from the policy so far followed  to determine ceiling prices of medicines from cost based regime to market based regime which is average of prices of brands of a particular medicine of all the brands sharing one per cent and above of the total sale. This resulted in increase in the prices of essential drugs, both within and outside control on the one hand and also phenomenal increase in the profit of the already high-profit-minting drug barons. Is that the purpose of the Drug Prices Control Order, 2013?
3.    This departure is unwarranted since nowhere in the world,  price control measures of medicines have been determined on the market based prices only.
4.    The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) was given the task of determining the ceiling price of all the medicines given in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) prepared in 2011.
5.    The UPA-II Govt. took decision of changing to market based pricing in their National Pharmaceutical policy, 2012 when amidst the cost based pricing system itself, the pharmaceutical industry had been earning large amount of profit and was growing by 15% annually. The decision was more to promote the profit of the drug-barons, both domestic and foreign, than giving relief to people in respect of their health-care needs.
6.    Moreover, drugs listed under DPCO, 2013  had covered only about 18% of the existing market of essential and life saving drugs, thereby leaving 82% of the drugs of regular necessity to Indian people out of any price-control.  According to NPPA’s calculation this became further less to 15% in the year 2013-14.
7.    As per NPPA’s own recorded observation, DPCO, 2013 covers very little in the important as well as regularly availed/used therapeutic segments like-antidiabetics (14%);antimalarials (12%); anti-infectives (37%); anti-TB (19%); blood related (01 %); cardiac (29 %);derma (10%);
gastrointestinal (15%); gynaec (14%); hepatoprotectives (00%); HIV/ AIDS related (27 %); hormones (44%); neuro/ CNS (18%); opthal/ otologicals (06%)/01%); ;pain/analgesics (10%); respiratory (06%); stomatologicals (00%); vitamins/ minerals/ nutrients (01%); vaccines (32%)
8.    This shows that the so called price control through DPCO, 2013 ultimately turned out to be a deception of common people, in reality, generous relief has been provided to the already high profit earning pharmaceutical companies including the multinational companies fleecing the mass of the common people, sometimes forcing them sell everything including themselves to survive from various ailments thrust upon them both by the society, environment and the nature.
 
You will definitely appreciate, such a situation must not continue and urgent measures are required to correct perversion created in the pricing of essential and life-saving drugs by DPCO, 2013. The pricing regime for the purpose of price control must be brought back to the cost-based regime and the list of drugs under control need to be thoroughly overhauled to include all drugs of essential necessity from all therapeutic segments. All the stakeholders including the consumers and the trade unions in the concerned sector should be consulted for the purpose.   

I request you to please appreciate the gravity of the issue and do the needful  in due consideration of the observations and suggestions given hereinabove.

With regards,
Yours sincerely,

( TAPAN SEN )
Shri Ananth Kumar
Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers
Govt of India
Shastri Bhawan
New Delhi

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