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Wednesday, 22 April 2015 10:00

May-Day Manifesto 2015

On the occasion of May Day 2015, CITU extends warm greetings to the working class and toiling people of the entire world and expresses solidarity to their ongoing struggle against exploitation let loose against them by the neoliberal capitalist order. On this International Day of working class solidarity and unity, CITU reasserts its firm commitment to the goal of socialism and socialist ideals and its firm resolve to continue its fight for ending the exploitative regime.

Solidarity to Struggles Worldwide

The growing discontent and anger against the impact of the imperialist dictated neoliberal policy regime is reflected in the rising surge of struggles everywhere. Engulfed in severe continuing crisis, the world capitalist order have become more desperate and aggressive in passing on the entire burden of crisis on the working people through more vigorous and atrocious onslaughts on their rights and livelihood. Working class all over the world is engaged in bitter struggles against such attacks. The entire world has been reverberating with militant strikes and mobilisations with the participation of hundreds of thousands of workers across Europe, the USA, Asia, Arica and Latin America. More and more people are raising their voice against the most obscene disparity and inequality imposed on them. On this May Day 2015, CITU, while carrying on its own struggles, gathers immense strength and inspiration from those struggles of the working people surging worldwide.

Against Imperialism

On this international day of working class solidarity, CITU reiterates its commitment to fight against imperialism and its aggressive machinations on the developing countries including ours. During the intervening period since May Day 2014, the imperialist powers led by US administration have become much more aggressive as well as aggressionist in its hegemonic ploy on the developing resource rich countries. Middle East and Latin America are bearing the brunt of their machinations. Such hegemonic intervention by imperialist powers is integral to the machinations of the neoliberal economic order being sought to be imposed on the humanity by the international finance capital. It is continuing with its military and other types of interventions to subvert popular governments in developing countries, to gain control over their natural resources including oil and gas and establish its dominance over strategic regions. The working class in these countries is engaged in bitter struggles against such imperialist machinations and also against the onslaughts on their livelihood and rights through so called ‘austerity measures’ and various other means by their respective ruling classes compromising with imperialism. We must note here that the heroic peoples of Latin America, with socialist Cuba in the forefront have been showing the way of building massive people’s movement against these imperialist offensives. The commencement of the process of re-establishment of diplomatic relations between USA and Cuba clearly signals the retreat of US administration which we all must rejoice.

CITU firmly upholds the principle that the fight against imperialism is an integral part of class struggle against exploitation. It reiterates its strong commitment and support to anti imperialist struggles across the world and to undertake with priority the task of heightening anti-imperialist consciousness as well as the consciousness of international solidarity in the working class movement in India.

Solidarity to Socialist Countries

CITU greets the working class of all the socialist countries and extends its solidarity with their struggles in defence of socialism in their countries. On the occasion of this May Day, CITU reaffirms its confidence that all attempts of the counter revolutionary forces and imperialist conspiracies to undermine socialism and restore capitalism will be defeated by the working class and the people in the socialist countries.

CITU reasserts its support to the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people for their motherland and against illegal occupation of their land by Israel with the open support of the USA, defying world opinion. CITU demands the recognition of an independent sovereign state of Palestine with 1967 borders and Jerusalem as its capital.

On this day of International solidarity of the working class, which falls in the seventieth year of the World Federation of Trade Unions, the CITU, while upholding the praiseworthy continuing initiative of WFTU in championing the cause of struggle against imperialist driven neoliberal order, calls upon the working class in general and its affiliate unions in particular to observe the seventieth year of WFTU through various programmes of educative campaign and organize the world action day on 3rd October 2015 in a befitting manner.

Global Crisis
Despite all noises on recovery, there has been no respite from the global economic crisis for the workers and the common people. The response of the capitalist class to this crisis is paving way for a more destructive crisis. The burdens of the global crisis are being passed on to the common people by imposing the so called austerity measures and curbing their hard won rights and benefits. At the same time huge concessions and tax exemptions are being extended to the corporates and financial institutions responsible for the crisis. Working people across the world, in the developed as well as developing countries is specifically targeted for such attacks including curbing of labour rights, cuts in jobs, wages, pensions, health care, and other benefits. The number of the working poor is increasing phenomenally reflecting deterioration in quality of work and menacing exploitation. Unemployment, particularly among youth and more so among educated youth has been on the rise to an alarming proportion.

In India

The challenges being faced by the toiling people of our country are inseparably linked with this continuing crisis of neoliberal capitalist order on a global scale. Struggle against this inhuman order along with its manifestation on the life and living of the people, on the national economy, on the society and on the polity must have to be built on this basic understanding. Then only our movemental initiative can be dovetailed towards our goal of transformation of the exploitative system engulfed into a deep systemic crisis. On this May Day, CITU pledges to direct all its initiative in developing this understanding among the widest section of working people.

While extending solidarity to the ongoing struggles of the entire toiling class, the workers, peasants, agricultural workers, students, youth, women and others against the grievous onslaught of the crisis ridden neoliberal economic policy regime on their rights and lives, CITU aspires, on the occasion of this May Day, 2015, to channelize such assertion among all sections of society into a united struggle of the entire people against this destructive policy regime as well as the political operators of such regime.

CITU notes with great interest the visible organised expression of anguish among the peasantry and agricultural workers against the deepening agrarian crisis affecting their lives and also against the notorious Land Acquisition Ordinance by the BJP Govt at the centre designed to forcibly grab lands from the farmers in favour of corporates, both domestic and foreign. It extends its wholehearted support to such uprising struggles and calls upon the working class to mobilize in a big way in support of their struggle. It will pave the way for a peoples’ struggle against neoliberal order.

On this May Day, CITU extends its support and solidarity to the brave workers and people of West Bengal who have been heroically fighting the barbaric attacks of the Trinamool goondas. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has let loose inhuman attacks on all democratic institutions including trade unions and the organisations of peasants, students, youth and women, particularly targeting those close to the Left parties. Hundreds of Left cadres including trade union activists, and Left supporters have been killed, thousands have been forced to leave their villages and take shelter far away, women are being raped, offices of trade unions and kisan-sabha etc are forcefully captured or burnt. These attacks should be seen not only as attacks on the Left but on the democracy as a whole. In almost all elections right from municipal elections to elections in the cooperative societies, TMC goons supported by the lumpenised state administration capture the booths and loot the votes depriving the electorates of their rights. The democratic people of West Bengal led by the Left parties are heroically fighting such atrocities facing murders, rapes and arsons and brutalities of all kinds. CITU is an integral part of that struggle and will continue to fight in defence of democracy and rights of the common people.

All round attack on the toiling people

The country now under the BJP-led Govt at the centre, is witnessing an all round attack on the labour right of the workers and land-right of the farmers; attack on wages and livelihood of the working people who create wealth for the nation and also attack on remunerative prices for the farmers who produces food for the people; attack on social security right in the form of doing away with the employees provident fund scheme and diverting a part of the fund for speculation in share market, doing away with ESI though converting the same into a insurance scheme under IRDA; drastic cut on social sector expenditure and allocation on welfare schemes like ICDS, Mid-day-meal, NRHM, MNREGA with the motive of finally doing away with such pro-people schemes and programmes altogether. The union Budget (2015-16) of this BJP Govt has laid bare the most cruel onslaught on the common people, both in cities and villages, in industries, services and agriculture under deceptive sound-bites on development, investment and employment generation which is never to materialize except aggravating the loot on the people and country’s resources and exchequers by the corporate and big-business lobby, both domestic and foreign and engineering fraud on the people and the states.

Simultaneously with budget, the Govt of the day has launched a plunderous attack on the natural resources and national assets of the country. Ordinances have been promulgated for denationalization of coal-mining sector, deregulation of the other mineral resources through auction route totally unconcerned and unmindful of the livelihood and rights of the local and tribal population, forest dwellers and labour-rights of the miners, and privatization and deregulation of the Insurance sector, and also the changing Land Acquisition Act to grab land from farmers without consent in favour of corporate and big business lobby. Onslaught of privatisation and disinvestment of public sector units, vital infrastructure and public utility services is going on in full swing; major ports of the country are being corporatized to pave the way for privatisation. The entire modus operandi of the Govt at the centre in pushing through these so called reforms-exercise, both in forms, method and content, signals a consistent affront on the democratic processes, institutions and structure bearing ominous portends for the democracy as a whole.

An aggressive exercise has been going to completely alter the existing labour laws like Factories Act, Industrial Disputes Act, Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, all wages related legislations etc in favour of the employers with the ultimate aim of pushing overwhelming majority of the country’s workforce out of protection and purview of all labour laws and completely dismantling the entire labour-law-enforcement machinery. Never before, the working people of the country, who create GDP for the nations, generate resource for the national exchequer and also produce profit for the employers are faced with such heinous, atrocious all round attacks on their rights, lives and livelihood.

Along with such overhauling exercise on labour laws in favour of their masters in the capitalist lobby, the Govts of the day both at the centre and the states have been directly patronizing the ongoing attacks on the workers in various workplaces through mass scale contractorisation, non-payment of statutory minimum wages and social security benefits, lock-outs, closures, retrenchment and atrocities in various other forms, none of which cannot stand the test of law. When the Govt has been shouting at top-voice on its promises on employment generations, workers in numerous establishments including MNCs, IT sector mostly in the age-group of 25 to 40 years have been losing jobs in several thousands as being witnessed in Nokia, Foxconn, TCS, I-gate etc. The real employment scenario in the country is that, more people are losing jobs than new opportunities created, regular workers are replaced by casual and temporary workers with working conditions of virtual slavery. Should a civilized society put up with such all round degeneration in quality of life being perpetrated by the corporate servile BJP-regime ?

Unifying the Class, Preserving Unity of the Toiling People
Fighting Communal and Divisive Forces
Fighting Social Oppression

Heightening the united struggle and for that unifying the entire toiling class through that process is the urgent need of the hour and CITU reasserts its pledge on this May Day to work in that direction. This task assumed great importance in the face of a party with rabid communal ideology running the country’s governance.

Along with such atrocious onslaught on the national economy, natural resources, national assets and on the life and livelihood of the common people, workers, peasants and agricultural workers, the BJP-led regime with its parallel network of RSS bandwagons has been spitting venoms on the unilty and tranquility of the society through its communal and divisive machinations through its “ghar wapsi” and other progrommes in order to divide people and divert the attention from its anti-people designs of “pay back” or “dhan-wapsi” to their corporate donors cum masters. This is nothing but a heinous conspiracy to sustain its policy of loot and plunder on the national economy and the people without any hurdles.

And such communal divisive machinations on the society with active Govt-patronage acts in promoting divisive forces of various hues and aggravating social oppression on dalits and downtrodden and under present regime they are already on the rise threatening unity of people. In fact, the neoliberal policies have in fact accentuated their oppression and the communal divisive provocation by the RSS-BJP bandwagon with Govt-patronage has further aggravated the situation creating ground for raising of head by so called identity politics of various brands, acting to fragment the society in different conflicting directions.

In such a situation, the task of unifying the working class in its entirety has become multi-dimensional and consistent fight against the communal and divisive forces from the independent platform of CITU and conscious initiative against all kinds of social oppression from the class-platform have become integral to such multidimensional task along with intensifying the united struggle against the onslaught of the ruling class. CITU pledges to undertake this task with a comprehensive approach with renewed vigour.

Carry the United Struggle to Further Height  
Protest Must Be Elevated to Resistance

Such grave anti-people and anti national design of loot and plunder on the nation and imposing slavery on the people must be resolutely resisted by the united working class movement to save the workers, save the people and save the country. This is the clarion call of May Day 2015. Already joint actions including strikes have taken place in various sectors like coal, banks, insurance etc. Joint struggles including strikes have been planned in many other sectors including road transport, construction, BSNL and postal-services in the coming months. CITU extends total support to all these struggles. The Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions have already demonstrated their united opposition through observance of protest day on 5th December 2014 and mass countrywide satyagraha and court arrest on 26th February 2015.

Given the aggressiveness of all round atrocious attack on the working people and the national economy, the aggressive auctioneering mode in respect of vital national assets, infrastructure, PSUs and public utility services like electricity etc, the notorious design of forcible land grabbing from the farmers, not only dislodging farmers but the agricultural workers and agrarian population as a whole, the present level of protest programmes by the joint platform of central trade unions and federations must be heightened to a struggle of determined resistance by the working class and the toiling people from all sectors. Countrywide militant strike action is the urgent need of the hour which will unleash similar resistance action in every sector of the economy, both in cities and villages, factories and farms, services and sites throughout the country. The designs of auctioning cum mortgaging the country’s economy and imposing slavery on the people cannot be allowed to pass.

Appeal of May Day 2015

CITU appeals to the working class in the country to develop solidarity across industries, sectors and states to defeat the attacks on their rights, on their livelihoods and lives.

On this May Day CITU appeals to the entire working class to strengthen unity at the grass root level and heighten the struggle against the neoliberal regime to take it to a decisive stage to defeat these policies and also the politics behind them. CITU appeals to all sections of the toiling people to join this struggle.

On this May Day CITU appeals to the entire working class to be vigilant against any attempts to divide the working class and disrupt unity in whatever name – religion, caste, community, language, territory or gender. Unity and struggle are our weapons in our fight against oppression and exploitation.

Long Live International Solidarity of the Working Class
Unite Against Exploitation and Oppression
Down with Capitalism and Imperialism
Down with Imperialist led Neoliberal Globalisation
Long Live Socialism
Workers of the World Unite

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

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