WFTU International Day of Action – 3rd October

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.

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