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Monday, 21 April 2014 04:55

CONDOLENCE - KL Bajaj

18th April 2014

CITU Secretariat expresses heartfelt grief at the sudden passing away of Comrade K L Bajaj, Vice President, CITU after brief illness in a Hospital at Mumbai, on 18th April 2014. He was 79.

Comrade K L Bajaj joined the trade union movement in his early youth in the mid fifties and remained fully active in organizing the working class in Maharashtra during span of last six and half decades till the last day of his life. He took active part in Goa Liberation movement and was arrested and severely tortured in custody. He had to be hospitalized for more than a month after his release. He also actively participated in Sangyukta Maharshtra Movement. As a trade union and political activists he faced police torture and imprisonment several times.

In his early youth he joined RCPI as a political activist in the fifties and started working in trade union front. He later joined the CPI(M) in 1964. He was subsequently elected in the Maharashtra state secretariat of the party and also in the central committee of CPI(M).

Com Bajaj played frontline role in organizing CITU in the state of Maharashtra. He led the trade union movement in Maharashtra in various capacities and also as General Secretary and President of Maharashtra State CITU. He attended the foundation conference of CITU held IN May 1970 at Kolkata and got elected to General Council of CITU in its 3rd Conference in 1975. He was elected in the national secretariat of CITU in its 7th Conference in 1991 and continued in that position as Vice President of CITU till his death.

Despite his age and ailments, com Bajaj had all along been actively engaged in organizational and movemental work till he was hospitalized for the last time during early this month. He was highly respected and popular among all the trade unions and workers of all affiliations in Maharashtra and he played important role in uniting the trade union movement in the state on common issues of the working people.

The death of com Bajaj is no doubt a big loss to the working class movement. CITU Secretariat while offering homage in memory of the departed leader conveys its condolences to the comrades and his bereaved family members.

Tapan Sen
General Secretary

Saturday, 12 April 2014 06:16

May Day Manifesto 2014

Centre of Indian Trade Unions
May Day Manifesto 2014

On this May Day, 2014, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) warmly greets the working class and toiling people in the country and the entire world. On this International Day of working class solidarity and unity, CITU reiterates its belief in the leading role of the working class in achieving a society free from all forms of exploitation, a society where the great strides in the scientific, technological and cultural fields made by humanity are utilised for the well being and decent and dignified life of all sections of the toiling people and not merely for the service of a handful few. CITU rededicates itself to the endeavour for the realisation of such a society.

Fraternal Greetings

On the occasion of May Day, CITU extends its solidarity to all the struggles across the globe against the attacks of international finance and the multinational corporations on the people through pro-imperialist neoliberal policies. It greets all the women and men participating in these struggles, all the men, women and organisations leading these struggles, braving all odds, challenging the mightiest powers and making huge sacrifices.

The growing discontent and anger against the impact of the imperialist dictated neoliberal policy regime is reflected in the rising surge of struggles everywhere. Working class all over the world is engaged in bitter struggles against such attacks on their lives. 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 and Arica. More and more people are raising their voice against the 1% rich and corporates amassing and expropriating the wealth created by the 99% of the people.

Struggles Against Imperialism

US imperialism continues its hegemonist machinations over the world through its military and economic might, dictating and imposing economic policies that benefit its giant corporations and financial institutions. Such hegemonic intervention by imperialism 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 by their respective ruling classes compromising with imperialism.

CITU strongly denounces all such imperialist interventions, intimidations and attempts to destabilise elected governments as in Syria, Iran, and many other countries across the globe. The latest intimidation by USA and NATO in the Ukraine-Crimea development also exposes the dubious ploy of imperialism. CITU calls upon all the peace and freedom loving people to raise their voice against such intrusions and interventions. CITU condemns the illegitimate US sanctions against Cuba and Iran in violation of world opinion.

CITU reiterates its support to the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people for their motherland. Palestinians have been fighting against the illegal occupation of their land by Israel which continues occupations, military attacks and bombing 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 May Day CITU greets the working class and the people of Latin American countries for their determined struggle against the plunder of their countries by imperialist forces. Their sustained struggles against the neoliberal policies which led to the victory of pro Left forces in several countries in the region including Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, etc dealt a severe blow to US imperialism and forced its retreat from the region which was once considered its backyard. CITU strongly condemns the machinations and obnoxious attempts of imperialism to encourage coups against the popularly elected Maduro government in Venezuela.

While reasserting its bondage of solidarity with the working class of these countries, 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.

Greetings to Socialist Countries

Socialist Cuba continues to be in the forefront in the anti imperialist struggle in the region despite being subjected to more than five decades of economic blockade and constant conspiracies by US-imperialists. The great advances achieved by socialist Cuba in the areas of health and education, surpassing even many developed countries in several human-development indicators is a matter of great pride and inspiration to the entire working class. Cuba has played an inspiring role in motivating and uniting the people of Latin America against US imperialism. CITU salutes the working class of Cuba and conveys its fraternal greetings and solidarity to their untiring efforts to protect socialism in their country.

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.

Global Crisis

Despite the claims to the contrary, 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 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. The World Federation of Trade Unions called for militant demonstrations, rallies and strikes against unemployment on the World Day of Action on 3rd October 2014. CITU fully endorses the call and calls upon the workers in the country irrespective of their affiliations to join the militant action on the World Day of Action demanding decent and dignified jobs to all.

In India

On this May Day, CITU extends revolutionary greetings to the working class and other toiling sections in our own country who have been in continuous struggles to defend their rights and livelihood. Hundreds of thousands of workers of Hundreds of thousands of workers both in organised and unorganised sectors, workers of big national and multinational corporations, employees of banks, insurance, telecom, central and state government departments, scheme workers and workers in other sectors are in the struggle path against the policies of the government. They are heroically braving the severe repression let loose by the employers with the open connivance of the governments while continuing their fight.

CITU strongly condemns the growing intolerance and onslaught of the capitalist class to any opposition by the workers against increasing exploitation. Brutal police force and armed goons of the employers are being used to suppress the struggles of workers to protect their lawful rights. Workers of Toyota Kirloskar in Karnataka are on continuous strike braving suspensions and victimisation. Mumbai Transport workers staged militant strike braving the ban-order and made the Govt to retreat. Hundreds of workers including the workers of the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki have been foisted with false cases and are languishing in prisons. Thousands of workers are being victimised. Trade union leaders and activists are booked under false charges including the charges of ‘attempt to murder’ for leading strikes and demonstrations. But workers’ struggles continued to be on the upswing throughout the country. CITU extends its solidarity and support to all these workers, trade union cadres and activists. It calls upon the working class of India to strengthen the unity developed over the last four years and further intensify joint struggles to defeat the anti worker policies. CITU asserts that broadest unity, country wide solidarity and persistent struggles are the only way to defeat such attacks and defend the rights of the workers and the people.

Peasants in our country are reeling under the impact of the agrarian crisis. Under the neoliberal dispensation, public expenditure on agriculture has come down drastically. Around three lakhs peasants have committed suicides, most of them poor and middle peasants, unable to pay their debts to private money lenders at exorbitant rates of interest. CITU demands increased public spending on agriculture, provision of cheap institutional credit, remunerative prices, public procurement and marketing facilities to the peasants and urges upon the peasantry, who feed the country, not to resort to suicides but to unite and fight against the policies that ruin our agriculture and pauperise the peasantry. CITU assures its full support to all their struggles on their genuine demands.

CITU also extends its solidarity to the agricultural workers in the country who are fighting for land, better wages, employment, social security, housing and better living conditions. CITU calls upon the peasants and agricultural workers to join the industrial workers and the service sector employees in the fight to decisively reverse the neoliberal economic regime. On this May Day CITU reiterates its determination to take the necessary initiatives for building such a united country wide movement of all sections of the toiling people.

India is a country of the young. By 2020, India is set to become the world’s youngest country with 64% of its population in the working age group. But the future of the youth of this country is being made bleak by the neoliberal policy regime fuelling joblessness. Unemployment, particularly among the youth and more so among the educated youth is alarming. According to a survey report (2012-13) by the Labour Bureau in Chandigarh, one out of every three persons in the age group 15 to 29 years who have completed at least their graduation has been found to be unemployed. The much trumpeted growth under neoliberalism thus proves to be jobless growth. CITU demands a policy that promotes job creation including the lifting of the ban on recruitment in central and state government services and full utilisation of the energies and talents of our youth for the development of the nation. CITU extends its solidarity for the struggles of the youth for decent and secure jobs, unemployment allowance and opportunities for their economic, social and cultural development.

CITU strongly condemns the social oppression and caste discrimination against the dalits and adivasis that still continues in this twenty first century. Neoliberal policies have in fact accentuated their oppression with a reported increase by 18% in the registered cases of violence against dalits between 2010 and 2012. The inhuman practice of manual scavenging still continues with the railways being the largest culprit of such practice. Large numbers of posts reserved for SC/ ST are not being filled up. Land is being snatched away from the adivasis and handed over to big national and multinational corporations. Minorities too continue to be discriminated. The government failed to effectively implement the recommendations of the Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission for improving the conditions of the Minorities. CITU fully supports the struggles of the dalits, adivasis and Minorities against all forms of social oppression and discrimination. It reiterates its position that the entire working class irrespective of their caste, creed or religion must unite in the fight against social oppression and discrimination. CITU also calls upon all the socially oppressed sections to join the mainstream struggles of the trade union movement against neoliberal policies that further worsen their conditions.

On this May Day CITU extends its support and solidarity to the struggle of women to achieve their due and equal place in society. Globally, including in developed countries women continue to be discriminated in terms of employment, wages, promotions etc. Women’s presence in decision making including in the political sphere continues to be very low. Violence against women and girl-children, commercialisation and commodification of women’s bodies have increased under neoliberalism. Empowerment of women cannot be achieved without their economic empowerment through decent and secure employment. While supporting the struggles of the women’s organisations against discrimination, violence and for their appropriate representation in decision making at all levels, CITU also calls upon the workers’ organisations to mobilise all sections of workers including the men in the fight to end all types of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the work place.

CITU conveys its fraternal solidarity to the struggles of the students for the right to education, against the privatisation and commercialisation of education. It fully supports their demand of the democratic right to organise and fight for their rights.

Attacks on Democracy

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, activists and 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. People’s representatives elected from other parties are being threatened, forced to resign and are not allowed to function. Such violence continues unabated under Trinamool rule.

These attacks should be seen not only as attacks on the Left but on the democracy as a whole. These are the attacks with the purpose of physically decimating the Left in its stronghold because of its stiff, consistent and uncompromising opposition to the neoliberal regime. In other states including Kerala, Tripura and others, attacks against the Left are taking place in different forms including misinformation campaigns and spreading canards and lies. The ruling classes nurture the illusion that by such attacks the Left and the working class ideology can be made irrelevant and wiped out. Such illusions have never succeeded in history nor shall they succeed now.

On this May-day the CITU calls upon the working class to fight and defeat these onslaughts on the Left and democratic forces which are rock firm supporters of the working class, its concerns and struggles.

CITU salutes and congratulates the working class of West Bengal which is continuing to fight and coming out in increasingly larger numbers to resist the brutal attacks of the TMC goons. CITU pledges to continue with its efforts to rouse and mobilise the working class in the entire country, ideologically and organisationally, to unitedly fight against such fascist attacks on the working class in West Bengal and in support of their democratic rights.

Elections in India

This May Day, 2014 is in the midst of general elections for the 16th Lok Sabha in the country. CITU calls upon the working class and the people in general to seriously reflect on their bitter experience of sharp deterioration of working and living conditions under the neoliberal regime which was followed by successive governments that ruled the country, headed either by the Congress or the BJP during the last two decades. The working class must loudly voice their dissent and rejection to those policies and the politics behind them and assert for pro-people alternative policies championed by the Left parties.

The continuing price-rise of essential commodities, the menacing rise in unemployment, the inaccessibility of basic services like health, education, housing, etc to vast sections of the people—all due to the anti-people policy regime, have all led to the severe deterioration in the conditions of the people. Resistance is being met with state repression. Democratic rights are under attack. Policies are being designed for maximisation of corporate profits and privatisation of public properties; not for the welfare of the people. Corruption has become institutionalised with unprecedentedly huge amounts of public money being siphoned off into the pockets of the national and multinational corporates. Public wealth is being brazenly transferred to private coffers. The present policy regime is not only making the lives of the common people miserable; it is bringing out a severe distortion, perversion and disruption in the entire economy, polity and society at large. These policies and the politics behind these policies, under whatever brand name they are being sold, must be rejected lock stock and barrel.

In fact, both the political combines contending for power at the centre, led by the Congress and the BJP have been operating for the same neoliberal policies at the behest of international finance capital and to promote the interests of the big private corporations. They are attacking each other in the campaign trail but committing for the same neoliberal project of loot and plunder on the people and the country. The BJP’s main criticism of Congress is for ‘Policy-Paralysis”, i.e., for not pursuing the same neoliberal policies more aggressively. They hope to legitimise a more aggressive neoliberal project through these elections. The working class and the people must be made conscious of this fraud and be prepared to defeat it.

Many of the big national and multinational corporates are backing the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate. The corporate controlled media has been bombarding the people with a Goebbels-like propaganda of falsehoods and lies to mislead the people about ‘development’ in Gujarat. However all data related to Gujarat shows that despite GDP growth in the state, it has fared worse than many other states in several aspects of human-development related to health, literacy, nutrition of children and women, child labour, employment-generation, workers right etc.

Besides, the BJP has already started its vicious and venomous campaign to divide and polarise the people on communal lines for its electoral gains. The BJP manifesto talks of building Ram temple, common civil code, and revoking of article 370. The working class cannot allow such disruptions in its unity built so assiduously in the course of joint trade union struggles. CITU appeals to the working class to be vigilant against any such attempts to disrupt the unity of the workers and the people and defeat such malicious designs.

It is only the Left parties that have consistently opposed the neoliberal regime from the beginning and have all along supported, both inside and outside the Parliament, the struggles of the workers to protect their rights. A strong Left in the fourteenth Lok Sabha helped in the enactment of some pro people legislations like the MNREGA, Right to Information Act, Forest Rights Act, etc and in halting some anti national measures like disinvestment, pension-privatisation, deregulation/privatisation of banks and insurance sector etc. The policy alternative announced by the Left parties in their national convention is in line with the ten point charter of demands on which the working class of the country has been unitedly fighting during the last four years including conducting three massive country wide general strikes.

Hence CITU calls upon the working class and the people to fully support the Left parties so that the fight against the pro corporate and pro rich neoliberal regime, the fight in support of workers’ rights and for self-reliant pro people economic policies can be effectively carried out from inside the Parliament to force a reversal of the neoliberal regime. It calls upon the working class to decisively defeat both the Congress and the BJP in these elections and elect Left and non Congress secular parties so that a non Congress non BJP government can be formed at the centre.

The Appeal of May Day 2014

On this May Day CITU appeals to the working class all over the world, in the developed as well as in the developing countries to intensify their struggles against imperialist machinations and the neoliberal economic order imposed by it.

CITU appeals to the working class and all the sections of the toiling people in the country to defeat the Congress and the BJP in the crucial elections to the sixteenth Lok Sabha and elect the Left parties and other non Congress secular parties committed for democracy and alternative to neoliberal policies. CITU asserts that a non Congress non BJP government which should work to reverse the neoliberal economic agenda that imposes huge burdens on the common people is the need of the hour.

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 Neoliberal Globalisation
Long Live Socialism
Workers of the World Unite

 07.04.2014


Shri Oscar Fernandes,
Minister for Labour and Employment,
Govt. of India, New Delhi

Dear Shri Oscar Fernandes ji,

    It is reported in the print media that Govt. of India has directed EPFO, to amend the circular of Central Provident Fund Commissioner, dated 30th November 2012  which relates to, inter alia, definition of wages for the purpose of PF contribution.  I register my strongest protest over this decision of Govt. of India, which would reduce the PF related obligation of the employers at the huge cost of the workers- who are EPF subscribers.  

    After the circular was issued by the then CPFC Shri R.C. Mishra, it was put in abeyance.  A tripartite working group was formed to “examine various aspects of the circular” which had  CBT members representing employers and workers and also higher officials of EPFO.  I was also a member of the working group.     The unanimous decisions of the working group upholding the content of the EPFO Circular was finalized on 29th March 2013  and sent to Govt. Now after passage of more than one year the unanimous recommendation of the Working Group is nullified  and  the most important portion of this circular  is being now done away with by the Govt to benefit the employers class at the cost of workers.

    The most important part of the circular was on definition of wages.  It has been our experience that wages are split in several heads to keep basic pay low to evade PF contributions, by the employers.  The circular had clearly noted “the subterfuge of splitting wages to exclude PF liabilities”.     To my knowledge, after the then CPFC Shri R.C. Mishra, two successor CPFCs had also endorsed the circular as was unanimously recommended by the working group.

        I would also like to point out that this is happening in the background of two other important decisions – enhancing the minimum pension to Rs.1000 and increasing the wage ceiling for eligibility for PF enrolment to Rs.15,000 from Rs.6500 lying unimplemented, again to favour the same employers’ class at the cost of workers.  

    These decisions were taken by Central Board of Trustees under your Chairmanship only after the concurrence of the Finance Ministry. You and your colleagues had claimed that the Govt. wants to accept the long pending demands of workers.  It was also reported widely that cabinet had approved these proposals.

    Taken together, all these issues connected with the EPFO are being acted upon in such a way that legitimate dues to the workers are being denied while the employers being unduely favoured.

    I urge upon you that the Circular of EPFO as unanimously upheld by the Working Group of CBT be implemented forthwith. I also demand that the decisions on enhancement of Minimum Pension under EPS, 1995 and enhancement of wage-ceiling be implemented with effect from 01-04-2014 as already announced and propagated by the Govt of India.   

 With regards,

Yours sincerely,

(A.K. Padmanabhan)
Member, CBT, EPFO,
President, CITU

1st April 2014

Around 30000 workers of Mumbai Bus Transport under BEST (Bombay Electricity Services & Transport Corporation) are on strike today on 1st April 2014 to protest against unilateral action of the management to enhance working hours from 8 hours to 12 hours and other unilateral measures of adversely restructuring their service conditions. BEST Kamgarh Sanghatana, a constituent of All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation is reportedly leading the strike. The Strike was total in the entire BEST operation in all the 26 depots in the city paralyzing the service totally.

CITU extends all support to the heroic strike action by the Mumbai bus workers, calls upon other trade unions and the unions affiliated to CITU in particular to act in solidarity with the striking workers. CITU also urges upon the State Government of Maharashtra to intervene and prevail upon the BEST management to withdraw its anti-worker unilateral measures and sort out the issues in consultation with the striking workers and their union.

Issued by

(TAPAN SEN )
General Secretary

15th March 2014

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions denounces the anti-worker bias of the UPA Govt which has not yet notified the increase in minimum pension of Rs1000/- under EPF-Pension scheme and enhancement of the ceiling of contribution and coverage which has been unanimously recommended by Central Board of Trustees of Employees Provident Fund Organisation on 5th February 2014 and sent to Govt for immediate action on the same.

Demanding enhancement of the minimum-guaranteed pension under EPF scheme, the trade union movement has been agitating since last five years or so. This demand was one of the ten-point demands on which all the Central Trade Unions and National Federations have been conducting countrywide agitations and strikes from 2009. The Govt committed to the Central Trade Unions for an early decision on the same in May 2013. Sometimes in third week of January 2014, the Govt came out in public to announce its decision in making a minimum pension under EPF-Pension scheme Rs 1000/- and raising the eligibility wage ceiling to Rs 15000/-. On 5th February 2014, in an urgently called meeting of Central Board of Trustees, the matter was discussed and the CBT made an unanimous recommendation on the same including its date of effect from 1st April 2014. And well before the election was announced on 5th March 2014, the Union Cabinet has reportedly cleared the recommendation for augmenting the minimum pension amount to Rs1000/- and the eligibility wage ceiling to Rs 15000/- by the end of February itself and again announced the same in the media. But unfortunately, no official notification has yet been made and neither the EPF office nor the Labour Ministry could yet throw any light on the fate of that decision.

It is being noticed that the Congress leaders have been making election campaign taking credit on the augmentation of minimum pension. But at the same time it is noted the UPA Ministers are pursuing overtime the Election Commission on behalf of their corporate and Business House partners for allowing them to announce FDI in multi-brand retail trade or increasing the price of natural gas and other decisions of corporate-interests. But any initiative to issue notification on increase in minimum pension amount under EPF-Pension scheme which is going to benefit 27 lakh workers in the lowest strata in particular, is not yet visible exposing the brazen pro-rich bias of the UPA Govt.

CITU denounces such an anti-worker bias of the UPA Govt and demands upon them to immediately issue notification in that regard on which the decision has already been taken and announced well before the election was announced. CITU calls upon the workers to launch united protest against such anti-worker attitude of the Govt.

Tapan Sen
General Secretary

The All India Coordination Committee of Mid Day Meal Workers (CITU) strongly condemns the injustice done by the UPA II government to the 26 lakh mid day meal workers of the Country. Despite the written assurance given to the 45th Indian Labour Conference in May 2013 and the assurance given in Parliament that that the remuneration of the Mid Day Meal workers will be increased in the financial year 2013-14, and getting the finance ministry’s approval for the same, by not giving the cabinet approval for it, the UPA government once again proved that the labour is not in their agenda.

The Minister for HRD, Shri Pallam Raju, on 12 February 2014, assured a delegation of the AICCMDMW (CITU) that the remuneration will be increased to Rs.2000 per month (from Rs.1000 per month) and only the approval of the cabinet is awaited.But even the last cabinet meeting of the UPA II government turned its back to 26 lakh women workers by not giving the approval for the increase.

We call upon the Mid Day Meal Workers of the country to protest against the UPA government’s attitude and expose them among the workers and the people by organising press conferences, meetings, rallies, dharnas etc. all over the country. We call upon the midday meal workers to carry forward the struggle for their just demands of regularisation and minimum wages and pension and to save the scheme which provides 15% of the family calorie intake of the poor of our country.

Issued by

A R Sindhu
Convenor, Secretary CITU
ALL INDIA COORDINATION COMMITTEE OF MID DAY MEAL WORKERS (CITU)

Presidential Council of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) has called for worldwide struggle against unemployment and for the strengthening of solidarity actions in the struggle against capitalist and imperialist exploitations. The meeting of the Council, the highest policy making body of the only class oriented International Trade Union Organisation, was held in Rome on 14th and 15th February, 2014. The meeting hosted by USB, Italy was presided by WFTU’s President Muhammad Shaaban Azouz, who is also President of GFTU, Syria.  Thirty two members of the Presidential Council out of the 43 members participated. There were some special invitees. From India CITU was represented by A.K.Padmanabhan and Swadesh Dev Roye, Vice President and Deputy General Secretary respectively. Others included H. Mahadevan, AITUC(Deputy General Secretary) C.H. Venkatachalam, AIBEA (Convenor, Finance Commission) and Debanjan Chakravorty (General Secretary, TUI Construction), S.P. Tiwari, TUCC . Among other participants included those from China, Vietnam, Cuba, DPRK (North Korea), Venezuela, Peru, Columbia, Brazil, Chile, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, U.K, South Africa, Nigeria, Gabon, Palestine, Iran, Lebanon, Sudan, Malaysia Bangladesh and Sudan.  USB Italy, the host Organisation had made elaborate arrangements for the meeting and its General Secretary Pierpalo Leonardi welcomed the participants.

Opening Remarks:
In his opening remarks, President Muhammad Shaaban Azouz, said that the meeting with the main agenda of the Reviewing the activities in 2013 and approving the plan of Action 2014-15 is very important in view of the global situation. We have to strengthen the unity of the workers of the world to fight the economic and social onslaughts of the world capitalism and imperialism. He referred to the stepping up of brutality against legitimate aspiration of the World Working Class and peoples of the world who are struggling for freedom, independence and sovereignty. Explaining the present day devastating developments of the capitalist world, he referred to the multifarious oppression and exploitation, through military, financial and industrial machination, and the way they are sowing the seeds of division among the people in the same country. Referring to his own country Syria, the President said that the achievements of his country since the dawn of liberation from French colonialism by Seventy years are threatened by the tools and agents of brutal global exploitative system. He explained in detail the brutalities against the people of Syria by those of the USA, Britain, France and some regional powers led by Turkey. He also said that “the smell of Petroleum has blinded the foresight and vision” of these forces, “ who are lavishing the capabilities of Syrian people, especially those of Oil, which is sold to brokers and dealers of those countries at unreasonable prices.” He was confident that the people of Syria will be victorious in this battle which he said was “an integral part of the battle of mankind against exploitation and colonialism.”

General Secretary’s Report
Presenting the report, which included Review of the activities in 2013 and Action Plan for 2014-15, General Secretary, George Mavrikos, captured the present day situation at Global level.
Quoting from the documents of the 16th Congress of WFTU in 2011, he said that the happenings have confirmed the analysis of WFTU. There is universal attack on jobs, wages and salaries. He said that Capitalism is condemning millions of workers to unemployment, poverty in persistent, permanent, relative and absolute misery. He also referred to the imperialist interventions against people of Syria, in Mali, Libya, Central Africa and also recently in Ukraine. Reviewing the activities in the year 2013, he said that the decisions taken in the Presidential Council in Peru, was consistently implemented. Series of initiatives have been taken on campaigns, solidarity actions, official WFTU missions etc.

On the Organisation front, there were improvements, including formation of new Sectoral International Organisation (TUI) of Pensioners and Retirees. There were International Day of Action Programme in 43 countries, 31 Thematic International Conferences, and solidarity campaigns for Cuba, Palestine, Syria, Mali, Venezuela, Columbia and others were organized. There were active participation of WFTU Head Quarters in International Organisations and also in Congresses and conferences in over 90 countries. General Secretary said that “the rich action of the WFTU on central, regional and sectoral levels has aimed to unite the forces of the working class in class struggles, to unite the workers, no matter their ideology, religion, language, gender, unite the people in the struggle against capitalist exploitation and against imperialism” While explaining the situation in various regions of the world, where working class is waging persistent struggles, he exhorted the Presidential Council members and affiliated unions to work for strengthening of WFTU and march ahead with unity and class orientation. Referring to the activities of Regional Offices, Sub Regional Offices and the activities of various Trade Unions International (TUIs), coordinating sectoral activities, he underlined the difficulties as well as weaknesses in the functioning.

Action Plan:
The Action Plan for 2014-15, included increased activities on important issues. This year International Day of Action – the foundation Day of WFTU – on 3rd October will be observed with its central issue as Unemployment. Coming 3rd October will also mark the beginning of the 70th Anniversary of the foundation of WFTU. The programmes included a World Congress of Working Women, to be preceded by Asian and also European Conventions. TUI Conferences of Transport and Public Services will be held in 2014 in Chile and Nepal respectively. A detailed Programme for strengthening organizational activities have been finalized. WFTU will be more active in activities connected with UN, UNESCO and ILO. WFTU representatives will attend UN 58th session of the Commission on the status of women. Dr. K. Hemalata, Secretary CITU will be in the WFTU delegation. WFTU Website is being renewed and a Web Radio will be operationalised, as an effective tool for campaign and dissemination of information.

Discussion of the Report
38 Comrades participated in the discussion, sharing the situation in different countries and also on sectoral issues. Intervening in the discussion, A.K. Padmanabhan, President, CITU, expressed solidarity with the struggles in different parts of the world. He gave details of united struggles in India, for which Central TUs and National Federations affiliated with WFTU and ITUC had come together with other non affiliated organizations. He also referred to the country wide strike of Bank Employees on 10th and 11th February and the Central Govt. Employees strike on 12th and 13th February in which nearly 2 million employees had participated. He thanked WFTU head quarters for participating in the National Conference of CITU and also for the opportunities given to CITU leaders for representing WFTU in various forums.
He assured all support and co-operation for the programmes being finalized for 2014-15 and said all efforts will be made to implement these, with the co-operation of all affiliated and friendly organizations, in India.

Summing up
With all the participants generally in agreement with the proposals, General Secretary in his summing up of the discussions, stressed again the need for furthering activities of WFTU. He also underlined the necessity of propaganda and campaign exposing ILO’s continuous refusal to allow proportional representation to WFTU which is legitimately due to it. The struggle for such status will have to be carried out in ILO forums and outside. He was happy to announce that the WFTU anthem with its lyrics in different languages is ready. The Orchestration for the anthem by a famous Nepali Composer was presented as a ‘draft’. It is proposed to have singers and instruments from different regions in the finalization of the Anthem which will be in different languages, representing the global character of WFTU. The meeting unanimously approved the report of General Secretary. The next meeting of Presidential Council will be held in 2015, in Gabon, Africa. The meeting also adopted resolutions on Solidarity with the same struggles, including that of the Bank Employees lead by NUBE, Malausia. Meeting concluded with the remarks of the President, profusely thanking the leadership and volunteers of USB, Italy and declaring to confine our fight for steady, stable and decent work for all and support and social benefits for the unemployed and also reminding that unemployment and capitalism go hand in hand.

Saturday, 22 February 2014 18:04

Rs.5 Lakhs handed over to Maruti Workers Union

Expressing solidarity with the heroic struggle of Maruti workers, Tamilnadu State Committee of CITU, conducted a state wide campaign and fund collection.

On 30th January, in a function organized by the Haryana State Committee of CITU at Gurgaon, a cheque for Rs.5 lakhs was handed over to the Maruti Workers Union. In Tamilnadu, hundreds of workers have been dismissed, suspended, transferred and harassed by the employers, mainly MNCs in different parts of the state. The struggle of Hyundai workers as well as many other MNC workers have been going on for years; to establish the right to organize a trade union for themselves. And in many of the establishments struggles have been success for trade unions have been registered and even bilateral discussions are held and settlements made.

On the struggle of Maruti workers, a lot of solidarity actions were also organized in the state. Recent mobilization of workers in Haryana and the continuous struggle of Maruti workers has been taken down to the workers at the grass root level.

148 workers who are in jail for almost 2 years being denied bail and the sufferings of the women, children and other members of more than 2500 workers have caused great concern among workers. The reason given by the highest judiciary in the state is that the workers going out on bail “will hamper foreign investment”. Highly paid special advocated are appearing in the court for the Govt. to fight against the poor workers’ bail petition.

Tamilnadu State Committee of CITU sharing the pain and grief of these workers, called upon its unions to approach its members for a solidarity fund. Handbills were printed in thousands in each district and the collections were done mainly in the organized sector.

Wherever the workers were approached, they responded magnificently and contributed money. Almost every union collected much more than the quota. The collections were to be done within a few days and all the district committees completed the collection within the time given to them.

It was this amount that was handed over to the Maruti workers on 30th January.

A.Soundarrajan, President of Tamilnadu State Committee and a National Secretary went to Gurgaon along with General Secretary of CITU Tapan Sen, leaders of Haryana State CITU including its President Surinder Singh Malik, General Secretary Satbir Singh, Tyagi, General Council Member of CITU attended the function. Leaders of various unions in the area also attended the function in which large number of workers including women were present.

The Cheque was handed over to representing the Maruti Workers Union by A. Sounderrajan, amidst slogans of solidarity with the struggling workers. Sounderrajan and Tapan Sen addressed the gathering and assured solidarity and support to the workers, whenever and wherever they are on struggle.

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Secretariat’s Greetings

Central Secretariat of CITU, which met on 31st January and 1st February in New Delhi congratulated the Tamilnadu State Committee for their solidarity action and thanked the workers and employees who had extended help to the Maruti Workers.

Tamilnadu State Committee also decided to contribute Rs. 50 thousands to the struggle fund of Haryana State Committee. A cheque for this amount was handed over to General Secretary of Haryana CITU, Satbir Singh by Malathi Chittibabu on 1st February at the venue of the Secretariat meeting.

CITU Secretariat while thanking the comrades for solidarity has called upon other unions also to emulate the Tamilnadu State Committee.

Monday, 17 February 2014 14:56

ANTI-PEOPLE INTERIM BUDGET

The interim budget, presented by the Finance Minister Chidambaram today, is a political gimmick to camouflage its continued thrust of pro-corporate economic regime and anti-people bias.

In the run up to the forthcoming general elections, the Finance Minister seeks to project so called “aam admi” orientation by comparing the present expenditures/allocations on health, education and other developmental heads with the figures of ten-years back. By doing so the FM seeks to cleverly hide the truth that in the successive budgets of UPA-II Govt, the budgetary pro-people allocations were not deliberately spent aiming to contain the fiscal deficit. Even in the current year (2013-14), central plan outlay on rural development head has been cut drastically by Rs 5792 crore; in irrigation and flood control by Rs. 800 crore; in transport by Rs 24,359 crore; social services by Rs 28,640 crore and industry & minerals by Rs 11,843 crore; and also the central plan outlay was cut for the Health & Family Welfare Ministry Rs 7000 crore, Education (Human Resource) Ministry by Rs 4000 crore and Social Justice & Empowerment Ministry by Rs 1000 crore. Over all cut in central plan outlay was Rs 66,000 crore only to contain fiscal deficit to 4.6% and claiming credit for stabilizing the economy! All these expenditure would have contributed to income and employment generation to common people.

How the Govt, which is so focused on containing fiscal deficit could continue to allow pilferage in national exchequer by keeping due corporate tax and income tax from the corporate-big business lobby unrecovered? The tax-dues is to the tune of Rs 5.10 lakh crore as in December 2013. These dues are over and above the tax concessions granted to them on “revenue-foregone” account of around Rs 2.8 lakh crore only on account of corporate and income tax. The Govt laments on fiscal deficit only squeeze expenditure on peoples’ welfare.

The interim budget contains nothing on relief to the working people who generates GDP for the country and revenue for the national exchequer keeping the national economy afloat. The written statement of the Prime Minister in the 45th Session of the Indian Labour Conference that the demands of the trade unions were “unexceptionable” and the demands like universal coverage of social security benefits and national minimum wage “are in advance stages of consideration”, found no reflection in the budget reducing the prime minister’s statement to mere sound-bites. Despite assurances on different occasions no relief has been announced for the scheme workers who are not even getting minimum wages.

The budget’s major focus remains on further concessions to corporate and big-business lobby, both domestic and foreign, through tax concessions on the plea of promoting investment. Investment can expand only with expansion of market through increasing purchasing power of people. But, market can no way be expanded by squeezing developmental and welfare expenditures with ongoing gloom and widening poverty, further burdened by increasing food inflation. It was rather necessary to contain non-essential imports by raising import duty to contain current account deficit and also to boost the domestic industries. But Budget refused to take a call.

The UPA-II Govt ‘s blind approach to run the economy only by pampering corporates, both domestic and foreign, is bound to aggravate the gloom and crisis further. This is clear from the very fact that despite sizable growth in agricultural GDP by 4.6%, over all GDP cannot be estimated beyond 4.8 as the non-agricultural sector is in the midst of stagnation heading for decline. Complete reversal of the present economic policy regime is the only way if the country and the people are to advance.

CITU denounces the anti-people interim budget of the UPA-II Govt and calls upon the working people to heighten their struggle for reversal of the anti-people policy regime.

17th February 2014

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions congratulates 10 lakh employees and officers of country's banking sector for their historic two days strike action on 10-11 February 2014 led by the all in united platform of employees and officers-the United Forum of Bank Unions. The main demands of the bank employees and officers had been negotiated settlement on wage revision which has fallen overdue. The Bank employees also demanded to put a stop in mass scale outsourcing of banking services along with hectic deregulation of the banking sector much to the detriment of the interests of the national economy. The UFBU had once deferred the strike dates, demonstrating their eagerness for a negotiated and respectable settlement. But arrogance of the Finance Ministry as well as bank management compelled the employees and officers to go in for countrywide two days strike and the strike was almost total on both the days throughout the country reflecting the firm resolve of the bank employees and officers and their unions to fight to the last for legitimate rights of the employees as well as in defence of the state-owned banking sector of the economy.

CITU resolves to continue all out support to the united struggles of the bank employees and officers while hailing them for the two days historic strike action on 10-11 February 2014. The CITU also congratulates the Central Govt employees for their successful countrywide strike action on 12-13 February 2014 to press for their demands pertaining to scrapping of the anti-employee newpension scheme, immediate action on merger of DA with basic pay, announcement of interim relief, regularization of the gramin-dak-sevaks and filling of the huge number of vacancies in the central' government offices etc. The two days strike was called by the Confederation of Central Govt Employees and Workers and other organizations which has been responded magnificently by the central government employees enmasse throughout the country.

There are about 64 main departments of thecentral government establishments spread over 22 states and union territories employing around 14 lakh employees. By the end of the second day, the strike was almost total in 8 states, 90 per cent in 6 states, above 70 per cent in 6 states and around 40 to 60 per cent in 2 states. Such a massive strike action demonstrated the determination of the mass of the central govt employees to defend their legitimate rights and also fight against the trend of mass scale contractorisation and casualisation of jobs keeping several lakhs of vacancies in the central govt establishments unfilled. CITU reiterates its continued support to the struggle of central govt employees while again commending them for their heroic countrywide two days strike action. CITU demands upon the Govt of India to take note of the massive resentment among the workers and employees in both banks and central govt establishments and promptly act in addressing legitimate demands of the bank and central govt employees while reversing their retro e policies on both the sectors.

TAPANSEN
General Secretary

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