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Employees Provident Fund related Employees Pension Scheme, being implemented from 1995, is being amended to ensure a minimum Pension of Rs.1000/- and also to increase the eligibility wage ceiling to Rs.15,000 per month from the existing Rs.6500.

The decision on this was taken in a urgently called meeting of the Central Board of Trustees on 5th February.

All the Trade Union representatives in the CBT welcomed the much delayed amendments, but raised various points regarding the Pension Scheme and also on other proposals placed in the meeting. CITU’s representative in CBT, A.K. Padmanabhan attended the meeting.

It has been a long pending demand of Trade Unions to raise the minimum pension and also other amendments to the Scheme. The issue of minimum pension of Rs.1000 was one of the 10 points on which the United Trade Union movement has been agitating and had conducted countrywide strikes. EPS Pensioners organizations have also been conducting various struggles.

This long pending issue, was studied by an expert committee in 2010, and was discussed by CBT. In the year 2012, the issue was referred to the Cabinet and was pending there for the last two years.

From the beginning

The history of struggle against the EPS 1995, dates back to its origin. The working people in the country, especially those who did not have any kind of pension scheme, have been demanding pension as a third benefit in addition to gratuity and Provident Fund. Instead of finding a solution to that Govt. hit upon the idea of this Employees Pension Scheme, which was compulsorily implemented.

Studying the Scheme in depth CITU has pointed out many problems and demanded overhauling the scheme to ensure benefits to workers. But, the Government put forth many dubious arguments and even Supreme Court accepted those arguments to `prove’ that the Scheme was beneficial to workers. CITU had also conducted a countrywide one day strike on this issue.

When years passed away, the points raised by the unions against the Scheme were found to be genuine. Paltry amounts of `pension’ roused anger among workers. Even now, 2.92 lakhs of pensioners are getting less than Rs.250 per month. Actually the amount now being received varies from Rs. 2 upwards.

More than 27 lakhs of pensioners are getting less than Rs.1000 per month.

In between, in the year 2008, certain important benefits like commutation of one third of pension for 100 months as lump sum and also clause on `return of capital’ were unilaterally withdrawn. These two benefits were the main points through which the Supreme Court was convinced in the case against the compulsory pension scheme.

Finance Ministry’s Demands

The present amendments on minimum pension and increase in ceiling was approved by the Finance Ministry on 21st January. According to the note of Finance Ministry circulated in CBT, the above said proposals for amendments are interlinked and are part of comprehensive proposals.

The following are the major proposals, which were also discussed in the CBT.

  • The proposal for ensuring minimum pension is only for a year (2014-15) and will be implemented from 1st April 2014. To enable the increase a budgetary allocation of Rs.1217.03 crores will be made.
  • Trade Union representative in CBT, protested against the `One year only’ proposal. Even the Labour Dept. felt that the Scheme cannot be amended for one year only. They also pointed out that `once modifications are introduced it would not be possible to roll then back’.
  • Finally, the Labour Minister, Shri Oscar Fernandez agreed that he will ensure that the increased pension not be curtailed after one year.
  • Many of the other proposals of Finance Ministry were such that the workers interests will be affected. CITU and other T.U. representatives emphatically stated that existing benefits should not be curtailed or reduced.
  • The calculation of Pensionable salary is now the average of the last 12 months wages. Proposal was to change this to the average of last 60 months wages. This will surely reduce the pensionable salary and also pension amount.
  • Govt. of India contributes 1.16% of the wages towards EPS. When the wage ceiling is being increased. Govt. wants to limit this contribution. Suggestions are that those who are above wage ceiling and voluntarily contributes to EPF will not be given this 1.16% and the workers themselves to be asked to pay the 1.16% from their contribution. Other suggestions include limit 1.16% upto Rs.15,000 even for those who are members of EPS from a lower wage level.
  • Trade Unions wanted all the existing practices in the case of ceiling of 6500 to continue, when ceiling is raised to 15,000.
  • Now, the members who have not rendered eligible service for pension at the time of their exit are entitled to a lumpsum withdrawal benefit. Finance Ministry wanted the deletion of the option for withdrawal.
  • The worker representatives protested and even the Labour Ministry said that it “would not be justifiable, given the fact that the government at present can not guarantee continuity of service or alternative job/work for any member who lose his employment”.
  • Another suggestion was to increase the age limit for Pension to 60 from 58. T.U. representatives made it clear that this can not be accepted unless the superannuation of workers are increased to 60, which in many industrial establishments is 58.
  • Another proposal is to increase the reduction rate which is 4% per year to 6%. This rate was earlier 6%, which was reduced to 3% and then increased to 4% in 2008. Reduction rate is applicable when pensioners get “early pension”.
  • This will also lead to reduction of existing benefits.
  • Finance Ministry wanted to change the existing investment pattern of corpus in EPS. Trade Unions had earlier rejected the proposals to investment funds in share market. Once again this was rejected by T.U. representatives and it was insisted that investment guidelines should be decided only by CBT.
  • The proposal for fixation of pension after changes in ceiling is that from 1st April 2014, pro-rate pension will be calculated, instead of calculating total pension on the basis of wages at the time of retirement.

There is also a proposal to add a proviso that “Central Govt. may make such rules as it may deem necessary for increasing, decreasing, continuing or discontinuing such subsidy or part there of in respect of all or any category of family pensioners”.

CITU objected to this vehemently as unilateral decision by Govt. will only result in negating benefits. Labour Minister was justifying the proposal of Govt.

On Commutation

CITU’s representative took up the issue of continued exploitation of those pensioners who are getting commuted pension even after the period of 100 months, for which they had commuted their pension. CITU has been demanding restoration of the original pension after the amount is recovered.

Employers Demand

Employers representatives said that they are against increasing wage ceiling to 15,000 in one stretch. They wanted it to be raised only to Rs.10,000 now and to 15,000 at a later stage. They had also raised that the small and medium enterprises will be affected due to increased expenses. All these points were sufficiently refuted by T.U. representatives.

Though the issue of Minimum pension is accepted by Govt., what they will finally do with other proposals will be known only when the Govt. finalizes the notification on this.

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Trade Unions will have to be prepared to see that no existing benefit is curtailed. Our struggle for implementation of the long pending demands of increase in Pension to all Pensioners, linking pension to Cost of Living Index, Restoration of Commutation of Pension and Return of Capital benefits have to be taken up effectively.

National Secretariat of the CITU, meeting in Delhi on 31st January and 1st February has called upon all its affiliates to conduct countrywide campaigns and agitations on two important issues confronting large number of workers in the country.

The meeting took note of the fact that despite being discussed in the highest level tripartite meetings and consensus based decisions being taken, the Govt. of India has not been refusing to take steps to control the increasing exploitation of workers under the ever growing contractor system. It is also a fact that Public Sector as well as Private Sector are equally responsible for this cruel system of exploitation.

While the Labour Department of Govt. of India had accepted the necessity of amending the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, the governmental machinery has been inactive in taking steps towards implementation of that decision.

Struggles are being conducted in various sectors in different parts of the country by the Contractor Workers. More than 50 to 60 percent of the workers in the organized sector in the country are now under Contractor system, without getting proper wage and also without various statutory benefits.

CITU Secretariat has decided to conduct a weeklong intensive campaign from 15 to 21st February which will converge in statewide demonstration/rallies and mobilizations on 20th or 21st February.
On Scheme Workers

45th Indian Labour Conference in May 2013, had reached a consensus on the demands of more than 1 crore of workers in various schemes of the Govt. of India. In Schemes of various states also such workers are there in large numbers.

Govt. has refused to take follow up actions on the decisions which are for recognizing them as workers, fixation of minimum wages, pension and other Social Security Benefits to all the Scheme Workers.

A weeklong intensive campaign from 10th to 17th February will be conducted through demonstrations and rallies in all States.

In the meanwhile Mid Day Meal Workers will organize a massive demonstration before the Parliament on 13th February, protesting against non implementation of the assurance to increase their wages. Workers from the nearby states will be participating in this demonstration.
On March 8

CITU Secretariat has called upon all the State Committees, Federations and Unions to observe 8th March – the International Women’s Day. CITU has decided to focus on three major issues – ensure equality in all aspects for all working women, ensure safety for all working women and effective measures to curb all kinds of violence against women, pass the women’s reservation Bill immediately.

These issues are to be highlighted among both men and women workers during the observance of the Day.

Greetings to Tamil Nadu Committee

CITU Secretariat greeted and congratulated its Tamil Nadu State Committee for the State wide campaign on the struggle of Maruti Workers and for collecting Solidarity Funds for the workers in the Manesar Plant of Maruti. 147 workers are in Jail for more than 18 months and thousands have been thrown out of job in that plant.

In a function organized by Gurgaon CITU, on 30th January, A. Soundera Rajan, President of Tamilnadu State Committee had handed over Rupees Five lakhs to the Maruti Workers Union. Tapen Sen, General Secretary CITU and leaders of Haryana State CITU were present.

Tamil Nadu CITU has also contributed Rs. 50 thousand to the Haryana State Committee for their struggle fund.

CITU has called upon its committees to emulate Tamil Nadu State Committee in strengthening the Solidarity activities.

Workshop on Working Women

A national workshop on working women was organized by CITU on 29th and 30th January. Attended by members of the All India Working Women’s Co-ordination Committee (CITU) and also the President/General Secretary of the CITU State Committees, the workshop decided on organizational activities among working women. This workshop was a follow up to the decisions of the All India Conference of CITU in April 2013 and the All India Convention of working women in Puri in October 2013.

Secretariat called upon all the State Committees to take necessary organizational decisions to implement the workshop’s recommendations.
On Political Campaigns and Solidarity

Secretariat held discussions on the political situation in the country. It condemned the continuing attacks on the democratic movement in West Bengal by the Goons of the ruling party in the State. Secretariat decided to continue the campaign and struggles upholding the alternate policies to the neo-liberal policies of the ruling classes.

CITU Secretariat welcomed the decisions of Untied Forum of Bank Union (UFBU) to go for a 48 hours of strike on 10th and 11th February and also the 2 day country wide strike of the Central Govt. employees on 12th and 13th of February. This strike has been called by the Confederation of Central Govt. Employees and Workers. CITU also expressed solidarity with the struggle of Defence Production Workers and the indefinite strike from 17th February called by the three national federations. CITU called for solidarity actions for these struggles.

CITU Secretariat, prior to taking up other agendas paid homage to leaders of CITU and other democratic organizations, Kali Ghosh, Mrinal Das, Soumen Kundu, Daulat Ram, Shyamali Gupta, Suman Sazgiri, Shanti Shekhar Basu, Abdul Kareem Mia(Assam), Suresh (Plantation Federation), T.S. Rajan (Telecom) who had passed away recently. Meeting also paid homage to Nelson Mandela and Pete Seeger.

CITU Secretariat paid homage to the SFI leader Saifuddin Mollah killed by TMC goons and to other Martyrs and victims of brutality in West Bengal.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014 18:51

8th March and our tasks

It is hundred and four years since the International Women’s Day is being observed all over the world. The day, which used to be the day of working women, has now become International Women’s day, focusing on the demands of women as a whole.

It is also to be noted that, as on other occasions nowadays, this day of struggle is being commercially exploited by vested interests. This, at the same time, is also utilised to divert the attention from the realities – the class exploitation and oppression being perpetrated against women.

The call for the observance of the day internationally had come from Clara Zetkin, a well known Socialist leader from Germany. It was aimed at focusing the contributions of women and also as an occasion to press the demands of women. It was sought to be an opportunity for women workers and other women to strengthen the struggle against the exploitative system in existence and to move towards a progressive, socialist society!

It is to be noted that initially March 19 was decided as the date for holding the first International Women’s Day. This day was chosen as it was on this day in 1848 that intense working class struggles broke out in Prussia forcing the King to agree in principle, to universal suffrageWomen’s Day on 19th March 2011 received tremendous response from women in several countries in Europe. The day was observed demanding `women’s right to work, to equal wages, to vote, to hold public office and to end other forms of discrimination. In 1913, the observation of International Women’s Day was shifted to March 8, the day when women garment workers in New York went on strike in 1857.

It is interesting that the Russian Revolution too started off with huge demonstrations on International Women’s Day on 1917 with thousands of working class women marching in the cold snow covered streets of St Petersburg demanding bread for their hungry children and the return of their men from the War.

If we look into the demands raised on the occasion of International Women’s Day in 1911 and the demands being raised by women today, we can see that the situation has not changed much. Even more than a hundred years later, in 2014, the demands are almost the same as in 1911.

CITU and Women Workers

CITU can be proud of the fact that it was the first among the central trade unions, to organise a national level Working Women’s Convention in April 1979 and to form an All India Co-ordination Committee of Working Women (AICCWW). This sub-committee of CITU was formed, fully understanding the necessity of taking a new initiative to correct the imbalance in the trade union movement and also rectify many prejudices that existed.

Explaining the background of formation of AICCWW, founder President of CITU, Com. B.T. Ranadive said – ‘The CITU had to take the decision to call a special conference because it was found that the grievances of working women were unattended; the government was indifferent; the employers were hostile; and even the trade unions were not very enthusiastic about their demands. In the so many strikes that the working class fought there were very few instances when the special demands of the working women were given prominence.

It was also found that women, even in industries and occupations where they formed a sizeable section were hardly represented in the leading bodies of the union.

This state of affairs was partly due to the disabilities, which women suffer from in a society like the Indian society. The inferior status assigned to women in both Hindu & Muslim communities is known to all. That discrimination doggedly pursues the working women and it is the elementary duty of the trade unions to fight against it. We cannot say that our workers and some of our trade union leaders are free from this discriminatory outlook towards women.’ (Presidential Address – 4th All India Conference of CITU)

It is gratifying now to find that many of the Central Trade Unions in the country and also various independent national federations have formed working women’s committees. Various problems of working women at their place of work and other issues have come to the fore during this period.

Another achievement during this period has been unionisation of large number of women workers in various sectors – unorganised, organised and large chunk of exploited working women in various schemes of the central and state governments. Militant struggles have been conducted by these women workers who were able to snatch some gains from the unwilling hands of the government and employers.

Miles to go

CITU is also proud of the fact it could mobilise lakhs of women workers under its banner, conduct struggles and develop a good number of women workers as active cadres and leaders of the organisation.

But, CITU is also aware the limitations of the gains achieved and that is has miles and miles to go to achieve its aims and objectives outlined on various occasions from 1979.

The 14th All India Conference in April 2013 and the 10th All India Convention of AICCW in September - October 2013 critically analysed the achievements and also the tasks ahead. Several short comings that need to be overcome urgently have been noted.

On the whole, the involvement and the guiding role of CITU committees at various levels need further strengthening. Issues of working women need to be on the top of the agendas for unions and federations in which there are women workers in considerable numbers.

It was with this aim a national workshop involving central and state leaderships of CITU and the members of AICCWW was held a few days ahead of the International Women’s Day, where serious discussions were held and decisions taken as called upon by the All India Conference of CITU.
CITU expects that these decisions will pave the way for strengthening the women workers initiatives, their improved involvement in trade union activities and moving further up on the ladder to leadership positions in the unions and committees.

AICCWW will also be working with working women’s sub-committees of fraternal organisations in strengthening the class oriented functioning among women workers.
8th March 2014

CITU has called upon all its affiliates to organise meetings, demonstrations, dharnas, deputations etc on the occasion of International Women’s Day this year, focusing on some important demands. It has called upon all its committees and affiliated unions to ensure that these observations involve both men and women in large numbers. The issues being raised can not be considered as women’s issues alone and unless these are not addressed, the entire society and working class in particular will continue to suffer.

Equality in all aspects

One of the issues to be focused is equality in all aspects. This issue is not confined to equal wages for equal work, though it is a very important demand of women workers. Equal status to women is today being denied in every aspect of life. Discrimination begins from the birth of a girl child and goes on in education, employment, wages, promotion opportunities, social life and in the political sphere.

As far as wages are concerned a recent study on Gender Pay Gap in formal sector 2006-13 gives an idea about the Indian situation. “According to the report the gender gap in India in 2013 increased with age, higher education and qualifications. Women with education of below 10th class earned 9.37% less than men while women with professional qualification like CA/CS/ICWA or equivalent earn 44.25% less than men! Women with work experience of 16 to 30 years earned 24.96% less than men whereas women with work experience of 31 years or more earned 78.23% less than men!”

If this is the situation in the formal sector, the situation in informal sector is worse. “According to the data provided by the Labour Bureau in April 2013, the gap between the wages of men and women in some activities has widened in the last decade. The data show that while men were paid Rs.212 a day for ploughing women were paid Rs.123; for sowing men were paid Rs.185 and women Rs.148; for harvesting the wages were Rs.179 for men and Rs.149 for women. The wages paid for well digging for men were Rs.254 whereas they were a mere Rs.145 for women. In case of unskilled non agricultural work the wages were Rs.179 for men and Rs.135 for women.” (Documents of 10th Convention of AICCWW)

It is very important that the trade unions take up these issues very seriously and ensure equality in all aspects of life.

Violence and Safety

There has been a horrendous increase in violence against women. Shocking incidents of violence are reported almost every hour from different parts of the country.
The report adopted in the 10th convention of AICCWW noted “one third of all women are reported to be victims of sexual or physical violence. 38% female murder victims are killed by intimate partners. Every three minutes, a crime is committed against a woman; every nine minutes, a woman suffers cruelty from her husband or relative; every twenty-nine minutes, a woman is raped; and every seventy seven minutes, a dowry death takes place in the county. According to the report of the National Crime Records Bureau released in 2013 there was 902% increase in cases of rape between 1971 and 2012. In 2010, the number of rapes, molestations, harassment and abductions of women in India, was more than 2.13 lakhs, i.e. 585 cases every day. This is most certainly only a fraction of the real number, because women often do not report these crimes and prefer to suffer in silence. These shocking statistics mirror the status of women in our country.”

The neo liberal policies of globalisation, and commercialisation and commodification of women aggravate the violence. Added to this general situation is the sexual harassment, which the women workers face not only at the work spots but also during their travel etc.

Though the much delayed legislation on sexual harassment of women at work places has been enacted, there are a several deficiencies in this legislation. These harassments, especially at work places, can be resisted only when the trade union leadership and workers as a whole are sensitised on the necessity of collective intervention. This is where much improvement has to take place.

Reservation in legislatures

CITU is again focusing on the issue of women’s reservation in legislature. The bill which was adopted with much fanfare in Rajya Sabha has not been taken up in the Lok Sabha for `want of consensus’ which is not going to happen. This issue exposes the lack of commitment of the leading political parties in the country. It is a fact that only the Left parties and a few of the regional parties are for enacting this bill and many others do only lip service.

CITU calls up on all the unions to take up these important issues during the campaign and observance of the International Women’s Day this year. CITU also calls upon all its committees and affiliated unions to take up continuous activities for the implementation of the organisational tasks identified by the 14th All India Conference and the 10th All India Convention of Working Women.


The Interim Railway Budget presented by the Union Railway Minister has disappointed the people of our country. The extension of network, modernization of the system, filling up of large number of vacant posts, replacement and rehabilitation of old and worn out plants and machineries and rolling stock, track renewal, all these works suffered. The Operating Ratio increased to 94% by the Railway Ministers has failed to bring back the railway even to earlier position. The policy of economic reforms, the present government is pursuing vigorously, also reflected in the interim budget. The independent Tariff Regulatory Authority is being created which will be the independent freight and fare determining body. The main purpose is to minimise, rather phase out the cross subsidy which is the existing since the inception of railways. Thereby, the burden on common man will be increased. 80% of the passengers who travel in second class sleeper are the poor and the middle-class. If the cross subsidy is phased out, the burden on these sections of the people will be increased enormously. Creation of Freight Regulatory Authority was announced in 2012-13 Railway Budget when Shri Dinesh Trivedi was Railway Minster. Now the freight is linked with the price of fuel. The freight rate is being adjusted with the increase of price of fuel. Last year the freight rate on different commodities was increased a number of times and it had its impact on inflation.

The main thrust has been given on Public Private Partnership (PPP); namely rolling stock manufacturing units, modernization of stations, freight terminal, freight train operation and dedicated freight corridors. The Railways will now depend on private investments, but PPP, as in other areas has not been successful in railways. In addition to PPP, now Government has allowed FDI in Railways and that too in high speed corridor. The foreign investors will not only invest but they will undertake construction and as well as operation of trains in high speed corridor and this has to be restricted.
There were large number of vacancies in Railway and it is estimated to be 2.5 lakhs. There is acute shortage of safety related staff. As a result of this, the maintenance of coaches and locomotives are not done properly. The increase in the investment for the year 2014-15 is about one thousand crores and if we add inflation, there is hardly any increase of investment over the previous year 2013-14. And that is why no new projects has been announced in the budget; namely, new lines, gauge conversion, doubling etc. Thus, there will not be expansion of railway network. The Minister has, perhaps left this to new government. But, he has failed to show on which way the Indian Railways will go in future. The Indian Railways is not only a commercial organization, but it is also a social outlook. But, by allowing PPP in number of activities, by allowing FDI and FII for the first time in railways, the Railways is going to be converted to completely commercial organization. This is most unfortunate for the common people of our country. CITU denounce such retrograde approach.

Issued by,
12th February 2014

This 14th conference of CITU, being held from 4th to 8th April, 2013 at Kannur, condemns the Water Policy, 2012 of the Government of India directing the state governments to realize water charges on ‘production cost’, privatization through PPP route and to establish independent regulatory authority and, thereby, withdrawing from government’s responsibility of providing water for drinking, household use and agricultural use particularly by the toiling sections.

The UDF government in Kerala decided enactment to corporatize this vital service sector by establishing Kerala Drinking Water Supply Company Ltd with majority private shareholding and bringing entire state under its coverage. Similar steps are being taken in other states also like Delhi Jal Board is being privatized beginning in four areas under slogan of 24/7 supply; Maharashtra government doing the same beginning at Nagpur; Karnataka government in Hubli and Dharwar etc.

People have their basic right on this natural resource for protection of their lives and livelihood which must not be allowed to be used by corporates for business and profits.

The conference calls upon the working class of the country to rise in defending the people’s right on this vital natural resource water.

The 14th Conference of CITU, being held on 4-8 April 2013 in Kannur reiterates its commitment to carry forward and strengthen the work among working women that CITU has started nearly 35 years ago.

The conference notes that CITU has made considerable advances in organising working women since 1979 when it organised the first all India convention of working women in Chennai and constituted the All India Coordination Committee of Working Women. The membership of women in CITU which was less than 7% at that time has gone up to 31.96% in 2011. In several states it is more than 50%. Women’s presence in the mobilisation of CITU, in its day to day activities, in the conferences at the state and national level, in the decision making bodies has also increased since then.

While expressing its satisfaction at this progress, this conference also is conscious that many weaknesses that have been repeatedly pointed out by the successive conventions of the All India Coordination Committee of Working Women (CITU) as well as the successive all India conferences of CITU are yet to be overcome.

The general weakness of unions, particularly in industries where both men and women work like plantations, beedi, brick kiln etc, in raising the specific problems of working women like equal wages, maternity benefits and crèches, sexual harassment etc from the union platform and mobilising both men and women on these issues, still continues. In several states, even where women membership is above the national average, resistance to elect women as delegates to conferences and to the decision making bodies continues. This was evident in many of the recently concluded state conferences also.

Our work among working women is not reviewed in the state committees. Proper attention is not paid to identify, train, develop and promote women cadres. No action is taken by the state committees to ensure formation of women’s sub committees in our unions in sectors with considerable women workers and to see that they function effectively. Holding the state conventions and constituting state level coordination committees is observed as a periodic ritual in some states while in some states even this is not done.

This conference reiterates that our work among working women is part of our objective of uniting the entire working class and mobilising it to play its due role in leading the struggle against all exploitation. It firmly believes that overcoming the weaknesses and improving our work among working women will contribute to strengthening the CITU and trade union movement as a whole. The basic weakness lies in the influence of the class divided patriarchal society along with the lack of consciousness on the urgency of organising and activating working women in leading bodies of CITU at all levels. The CITU as a whole has to make conscious and sustained effort to overcome these weaknesses. The convention of All India Coordination Committee of Working Women, which had to be deferred due to unavoidable reasons and will be held shortly, will also discuss these issues in detail and make the necessary recommendations.
This 14th conference of CITU calls upon all the state committees of CITU, its industrial federations and affiliated units to rededicate to the task of strengthening the work among working women by –

 Discussing our work among working women as a specific agenda in the first state committee meeting immediately after this national conference

 Identifying the affiliated unions in sectors with considerable number of women workers and constitute women’s sub committees, make them functional and take up women’s specific issues from the union platform

 Allot a state office bearer of CITU to monitor the effective implementation of the above at all levels of the organisation

 Organise separate trade union classes for working women activists and develop them to take up more responsibilities in CITU and its affiliated unions

 Pay special attention to recruit women full timers

The Conference resolves to convene a national workshop with the participation of the president/ general secretary of all the state committees of CITU, after the national convention of All India Coordination Committee of Working Women to chalk out further concrete measures to strengthen our work among working women.

Forward to the 14th Conference of CITU at Kannur

Towards Strengthening Unity and Countrywide Struggles!

CITU is getting ready for its 14th Conference, scheduled to be held in Kannur in Kerala on 4 - 8 April 2013. The 13th conference was held in Chandigarh on 17-21 March 2010.

This three year period was a period of great importance in the 43 years existence of CITU, for the organisation as well as for the working people of the country. This was a period when the working class of India has shown its capacity to unitedly fight on the demands of not only the workers but all the working people in the country. This was a period when the country witnessed an unprecedented unity of all the central trade unions and most of the national federations, which came together to fight on a common ten point charter of demands. In many states several regional and independent trade unions too joined in the campaigns and struggles further widening trade union unity.

For CITU, it was a step towards fulfilling the clarion call given at the time of its foundation Conference in May 1970.

Immediately after its formation, CITU started its efforts to turn its slogan ‘Unity and Struggle’, into a reality. These efforts received the support and solidarity of several organisations and resulted in the formation of various joint platforms including the United Council of Trade Unions (UTUC), the National Campaign Committee (NCC), the Sponsoring Committee of Indian Trade Unions and the National Platform of Mass Organisations. The joint movement was further broadened since 2009 achieving total unity of all the central trade unions and national federations.

Almost all these struggles were on issues concerning various sections of working people – for remunerative prices for the peasants, comprehensive law for the agricultural workers, for ensuring employment and unemployment relief to the youth – these were raised by the historic 19th January 1982 strike, the first of its kind in independent India.

From that country wide strike to the recent 48 hours General strike, the Trade Unions in the country have broken many a barriers and its importance and impact has already been noted by various sections.

As the General Secretary of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) George Mavrikos noted “The successful two day strike has been an important lesson for the international working class and a loud message to the Indian Government”.

It is a fact of the day, that not in many countries we have united actions by the central trade unions affiliated with ITUC, WFTU and those not affiliated with any international organisation. It is also a fact that not many would have even dreamed of a joint platform of all the Central TUs and National Federations in India considering the happenings during the past.

Each and every organisation, now involved in this joint movement has contributed in its own way in making this joint platform and struggles a reality.

For its part, CITU, true to the call from its foundation conference and its class orientation, has made all efforts to discharge its role with the necessary enthusiasm, initiative, commitment and dedication. Every member of CITU can be proud of that role.

Sectoral to National
In fact, the joint activities at various sectoral levels like steel, coal etc and by the CPSTU in the Central PSUs in general, played an important role in unifying the workers. Almost all the major sectors like electricity, transport, banks, insurance, defence production, telecom and government employees, saw united struggles at various levels including country wide sectoral strikes, during the last 30 years.

In the recent period the scheme workers like the anganwadi employees, ASHAs, mid day meal workers and others and the workers in the unorganised sector like beedi etc have also conducted united campaigns and struggles. This period also saw many a united struggles in various states.

These struggles have laid a firm foundation for lower level unity in the joint national struggles.

At the time of the 13th Conference, the present phase of united struggles had begun. The inaugural session of the 13th Conference in Chandigarh, witnessed the reiteration of strengthening united struggles by various central TUs.

Immediately after the Conference, the decision to go for a countrywide strike on a five point charter of demands was taken. The strike on 7th September 2010, incidentally, coincided with the International Day of Action called by WFTU, resulting in strikes and struggles in different parts of the world.

Last 3 years saw two more general strikes – on 28th February 2012 and on 20-21 February 2013. In between, we witnessed the largest mobilisation of workers for a Parliament March on 23rd February 2011 and again another March on 20th December. Large scale demonstrations, dharnas and Jail Bharo were also organised. There were many sectoral strikes also during this period, including few countrywide strike actions.

CITU, carrying forward the decisions of the 13th Conference played an effective role in all these struggles – national, state and at work spot level.

CITU has taken the message of unity and struggle to every nook and corner of the country. The improvement in carrying the message of unity down to grass root level has been noted during the successful 48 hours strike.

Independent movements
CITU unions and federations and also committees at various levels, took up many issues independently and conducted militant strikes and struggles. The struggles for trade union rights especially in MNCs indifferent parts of the country conducted during the last 3 years, are of great importance and notable successes have been attained in this and also on economic demands of those workers. This period also saw democratic rights of the workers and the people in general being trampled by various governments and workers militantly resisting these attacks.

CITU leaders and also workers, both men and women, faced physical attacks from police, goondas, had cases foisted on them and put in jail. There were large scale victimisations in different parts of the country. CITU could fight back effectively in many centres, often with the solidarity and support of fraternal trade unions and mass organisations. Many a local struggles, in organised, unorganised sectors and by the scheme workers were conducted in different states.

The country wide one day strike by construction workers led by CWFI in November 2012 was an important struggle in the unorganised sector. The two days’ mahapadav of the scheme workers organised by CITU, in New Delhi in November 2012, witnessed massive mobilisation, especially of women workers, creating more confidence and fighting spirit not only among the participants but also among the CITU movement as a whole.

International Tasks
It was during this period that CITU got formally affiliated to WFTU and has also taken up certain organisational responsibilities.

CITU’s tradition of upholding the banner of international solidarity is being carried forward, despite many a limitations and difficulties.

Critical period
The period after the last Conference was also politically critical to the working people. Chandigarh Conference was within a year of the 2009 general elections, in which the Left parties faced a set back. In the assembly elections, Left lost both West Bengal and Kerala. We saw a belligerent UPA II going ahead with its neo-liberal agenda and the main opposition party, BJP, generally supporting the Government on these policy matters. Almost all the state governments, though led by different political parties of national and regional status, also followed these disastrous policies.

West Bengal witnessed murderous attacks on the trade unions and on the cadres and leaders of the left and democratic movement. The effect of so called `paribortan’ is new being experienced by everybody with the whole democratic system under attack.

It was in such a critical situation, that the trade unions could successfully build up a united movement, challenging the neo-liberal policies and demanding a change in these policies towards an alternative set of policies. Trade Unions could put the policy issues and also the peoples’ demands on focus.

The unprecedented mobilisation of various sections of people protesting against corruption, attacks on women etc., and demanding justice to various sections are notable developments. Added to these are the impact of the 48 hours general strike, which received massive support of ordinary people in urban and rural centres.

All these are the reflections of the urge among masses for a change. These have to be properly channelised into a mass movement and it is here, the Trade Unions should play a leading role.

All these mobilisations, mass movements and successes attained in various struggles and also the victory of the left front in Tripura, leading to the formation of the seventh LF government form the background of the ensuing 14th Conference.

All these are happening at a time, when the capitalist system is engulfed in an unprecedented crisis. This was noted in the Chandigarh Conference and the crisis has further deepened after that.

The working class, all over the world, in all the continents is on the move, struggling against the denial of even its existing rights and benefits resulting in serious attacks on livelihood of the working people. The increasing disparities all over the world resulted in the now famous slogan `99 percent Vs One percent!’

Despite the severe attacks and serious problems even in day to day functioning of trade unions in many parts of West Bengal, CITU has improved its over all strength after the last Conference. Though there are many a weaknesses still persisting in different areas, CITU is marching ahead.

The Kannur Conference will be discussing all the issues of importance to the working people of the country and also going into various aspects of organisational growth of CITU. This conference will pave the way for further strengthening the united activities and struggles of working class and also other sections of toiling masses!

A.K. Padmanabhan

Sunday, 09 February 2014 18:06

History of CITU Conferences

Preparations have already begun in Kannur, Kerala for the 14th All India Conference of CITU, to be held from 4th to 8th April 2013. On this occasion, let us have a brief look at all the previous conferences.

Foundation Conference
The All India Trade Union Conference was held from 28th to 30th May, as per the decision of a Convention of General Council members and State Committee members of AITUC, held at Goa on 9th and 10th April 1970. It was held at Lenin Nagar (Ranji Stadium) in Kolkata. A reception committee with Com. Jyoti Basu as Chairman and Com. Manoranjan Roy as General Secretary organized the conference. Reception Committee had enrolled 50,000 workers as members of the committee. The review made later noted that the enthusiasm among workers for this conference was such that, when a call was made for collection of Rs.2 lakhs, 3 lakhs was collected within a short period of 3 weeks! The Conference was attended by 4264 delegates representing 1759 unions with a membership of 8,04,637/- from 18 states. Fraternal unions sent 116 delegates and 1134 observers attended the conference, making a total of 5514 participants. The Conference was guided by a presidium consisting of Mohammed Ismail, Suhrid Mullick Chaudhury, Haridas Malakar, E. Balanandan, Bimalanada Mukherji, A Balasubramaniam and S.Y. Kolhatkar. P. Ramamurti presented the report, which was earlier circulated in English, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Tamil and Malayalam. There were brief translation of all speeches in all languages for the delegates. The resolution on formation of a new All India Trade Union Centre, to be named Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) was moved in the Conference on 30th May, by Com.Manoranjan Roy (West Bengal) and seconded by E. Balanandan (Kerala); which was passed unanimously among thunderous applause and shouting of slogans.

The Conference elected B.T. Ranadive as President, P. Ramamurti as General Secretary and Kamal Sarkar as Treasurer. Mohammed Ismail, S.Y. Kolhatkar, E. Balanandan, Suhrid Mallick Chaudhari and Sudhin Kumar were elected Vice-Presidents and M.K. Pandhe, Manoranjan Roy and Niren Ghosh as Secretaries. The Conference elected 158 General Council members and 33 working committee members were elected by the General Council. The Working Committee included Coms. Jyoti Basu and Samar Mukherji. On 31st May, a massive rally of 10 lakhs of workers was held in the Brigade Parade Ground.

Second Conference
Second All India Conference was held in Ernakulam, in Kerala from 18th to 22nd April 1973. Meeting after 3 years of the foundation conference and at the time of serious political developments in the country, this was an important conference in our history. Com. B.T. Ranadive, in his presidential address referred to the massive arrests of Comrades who were put behind bars under MISA and to the monstrous repression in West Bengal and also in other states. General Secretary’s report, presented by Com. P.Ramamurti gave details about all these attacks and the struggles being conducted by our unions, defending the rights of working people. The Conference reelected Com. BTR and PR as President and General Secretary. Com. Jyoti Basu was elected as one of the Seven Vice Presidents. Samar Mukherjee was elected Treasurer. The conference concluded with a massive rally on 22nd April.

Third Conference at Mumbai
Third Conference was held in Mumbai, from 21st to 25th May 1975. Com. B.T.R, began his Presidential Address, greeting to people of Vietnam and Cambodia, for their epochal victories against US imperialism. He also referred to the continuous struggles conducted by the Indian Working class. Among others, he noted that “on an average more than a million and half are engaged in strike action since 1966, a whole decade.”

In his concluding address, Com. BTR, referred in detail to the points raised in the discussions, increasing attacks on working class and pointed out that more and more attacks, including those on our democratic rights are in the offing. He thundered, “We stand by class struggle, we have got a conception of class struggle, we have got a conception of worker-peasant alliance. Anything which deviates from this, will not take us to the goal of revolution”. He also pointed out that “inspite of immediate difficulties, we are entering a period of tremendous opportunities”. The Conference reelected Coms. BTR and PR as President and General Secretary and Manoranjan Roy was elected Treasurer. Coms. Samar Mukherjee and Nrisingha Chakraborty were among the six Secretaries.

Chennai Conference
The Fourth Conference was held at Chennai, from 11 to 15 April 1979. The period between the third and fourth Conference was a period of critical importance to the Indian democratic movement. Within a month of 3rd Conference, Emergency was declared and denial of democratic rights was complete. The authoritarian Govt., led by Indira Gandhi, violated all democratic norms but could not continue in power. 1977 elections to the Lok Sabha, brought to power a Janata Party Govt. the first non-Congress Govt. at centre. Later, in West Bengal Assembly elections, the first Left Govt. was voted to power and Com. Jyoti Basu became the Chief Minister. In 1978, Tripura also voted for a left front government.

The united struggle involving all Central Trade Unions against the Industrial Relations Bill in 1978 was a new phase of united trade union movement.
It was in this fourth conference, a separate meeting of working women was held and the All India Co-ordination Committee of working women was formed with Comrade Vimala Ranadive as Convener. Coms. BTR and PR were reelected as President and General Secretary and Samar Mukherjee was elected Treasurer. Com. Sushila Gopalan was one of the nine Vice-Presidents and was the first woman in the CITU secretariat.

Kanpur Conference
The Fifth Conference of CITU was held in Kanpur, the historic industrial centre of many struggles in the pre independent India; from 13 to 17 April 1983. This Conference coincided with the death centenary year of Karl Marx and the Conference called upon the delegates to assimilate his teachings and carry forward the message to the grass roots level to expose conspiracies of imperialism led by USA.

Among the foreign delegates in the Conference were those from Soviet Union and Peoples Republic of China. Among those greeted the conference was Com. Indrajit Gupta, General Secretary AITUC and O.P. Aghi Secretary BMS. On behalf of All India KisanSabha, Com. Harkishan Sigh Surjeet greeted the Conference. 2196 delegates including 57 women, 43 observers and 16 fraternal delegates attended the conference. 1069 delegates had been to jail. Com. BTR was reelected as President and Samar Mukherjee was the new General Secretary. Com. PR was one of the eleven Vice Presidents. Com.E. Balanandan was elected as Treasurer. Totally there were 20 secretariat members.

Com. BTR in his concluding address referred to the increasing lockouts and called upon the delegates “to convert the anti lock-out struggles into democratic struggles against this anti-social Act of employers”. Referring to the formation of National Campaign Committee and the country wide general strike on 19th January 1982, he said that the consciousness about unity and united struggles is growing and that is a welcome feature.

Sixth Conference at Mumbai
The Sixth Conference was held in Mumbai, 18-22 May 1987. This was the second time Mumbai was hosting the Conference. The period after the fifth conference was a period of rapid changes in our country and the world. The conference noted that because of persistent efforts and overcoming many obstacles, the struggle for trade union unity has been successful and this unity has been strengthened. It was also noted that inspite of various endeavours, “United strength of working class has not succeeded in stunning the tide of economic offensive”.

The period after fifth conference was a period of fight against communal, divisive and disruptive forces and CITU committees and unions have been in the forefront of struggle against these forces. This conference reiterated the clarion call for formation of a “Confederation of Central Trade Unions, and national federations, where all issues concerning labour and economic policy can be discussed freely and decisions taken unanimously”. A full day session on issues of working women was held.

Com. Jyoti Basu, third time Chief Minister of West Bengal and Vice-President, addressed the conference, exhorting the delegates to be more organized, united and politically conscious, against the policies of Central Government, which were increasingly directed against the working class. He explained the relation between left front government in West Bengal and the working class, Com. Jyoti Basu, said that the Govt. has called upon the employers to meet genuine demands of workers, otherwise workers will be compelled to resort to agitation and strikes.

Com. B.T. Ranadive, Samar Mukherjee and E. Balanandan were reelected as President, General Secretary and Treasurer. Out of the total 26 Secretariat members, there were 3 women – Sushila Gopalan, Ahalya Rangnekar and Vimala Ranadive. The Conference venue at Mumbai was named after Com. V.P. Chintan a senior leder of CITU from Tamilnadu. He died in Moscow on 8th May, where he had gone on behalf of CITU to attend May Day celebrations. 2366 delegates and 80 observers attended the conference among them 134 were women. 1114 comrades were attending the conference for first time and 209 had attended all the five previous conference.

Seventh Conference
Calcutta hosted the Seventh Conference, from 13 to 17 February 1991. This was the second time the Conference was being held there, the first being the foundation conference. 21 years after the foundation conference, the working class was facing new challenges. This was the first time, CITU was holding its conference without Coms. BTR and PR amongst the delegates. Com. Jyoti Basu presided over the inaugural session. The Conference noted the increase in membership despite increasing closures. Com. Samar Mukherjee stressed the need for collective and democratic functioning at all levels.

Com. Jyoti Basu, in his concluding speech, referred to the dangerous growth of communal and divisive forces and called upon the working class, to defeat and isolate them. He laid stress on bringing the workers in the unorganized sector into the fold of trade union actions. The Conference elected Coms. E. Balanandan and M.K. Pandhe as President and General Secretary. Both of them were members of the Secretariat from the foundation conference. Ranjit Basu was the new treasurer. The Conference concluded with a mass rally at Brigade Parade Ground on 17th. CITU membership crossed 20 lakhs by the time of this conference. 2341 delegates and 121 observers attended the conference. There were 121 women participants in the conference.

Working Womens Convention
A separate convention of working women was held prior to the conference, on 12th and 13th February, attended by 475 delegates from 18 states. This was the new beginning of having separate convention of working women at national level after the separate sessions in conference, which stated in 4th Conference in 1979.

Patna Conference
The Eighth Conference was held in Patna, from 3 to 7 March 1994. The clarion call of the Conference was to further strengthen the united movement of Trade Unions and also to strengthen the united movements with other mass organizations. Stepping up the actions against the IMF prescribed policies of the Narasimha Rao Govt. was the need of the hour. This was the message from the conference. Presided by Com. E. Balanandan, the conference was inaugurated by Com.Jyoti Basu, Vice-President and Chief Minister of West Bengal. The mass rally was held in the afternoon.

Nine Commissions were formed to discuss various important issues. Conference held detailed discussions on the new economic policies.
In his concluding address Com. E. Balanandan pointed out that “Unity of the T.U. movement to-day is reflected not only for defending the rights of the working class but for defending the unity and integrity of the country and its sovereignty. The fight against all round offensive by imperialism is therefore to be further strengthened and given shape of mass actions”. Com. E. Balanandan and M.K. Pandhe were reelected President and General Secretary. Com. Saroj Choudhary was elected Treasurer. There were 16 Vice-president and 20 Secretaries. 2031 delegates from 21 States including 133 women attended the Conference.

Ninth Conference
Kochi hosted the CITU Conference for the second time from 21-26 April 1997. “Towards big battles against Globalisation and Liberalisation” was the call of the ninth conference. Building up the unity of the working class was stressed in the sessions of the conference. A Seminar on T.U. unity in the struggle against the New Economic Policy was held which was addressed by leaders of other Central TUs including A.B. Bardhan (AITUC). AITUC and HMS proposed immediate merger of central TUs in the seminar. CITU emphasized the need of formation of a confederation of all central T.Us, which would further pave the way for formation of a singe national T.U. centre in the country. There were six commissions, discussing various important subjects. On 20th April, fifth Convention of working women was held. 307 delegates from 17 states attended.

Com. E.K. Nayanar, Chief Minister of Kerala, addressed the Delegate Session and the public rally. 2409 delegates attended the conference. 178 were women. E. Balanandan, M.K. Pandhe and Ranjit Basu were elected President, General Secretary and Treasurer. Total Secretariat members were 36.

Tenth Conference
Andhra Pradesh hosted the tenth conference, which was held in Hyderabad from 27-30 December 2000. Com. Balanandan in his presidential address dealt with various struggles at the international level and noted developing resistance to U.S. imperialism. The conference discussion referred to the return of N.D.A. to power in 1999 and their efforts to dismantling PSUs and other actions in the name of second generation reforms. It also noted that there have been umpteen number of struggles by various sections of workers. Developing a powerful mass movement was the need of the hour. That was the understanding that arose from the discussions.

Conference discussed 7 important issues in commissions. This conference also had a separate discussion on organization. A call for an All India protest day was given to be observed on 24th January 2001. Prior to the conference, on 16-17 September, Sixth All India Convention of working women was held in Haldia and a resolution on tasks on working womens front was adopted in the conference. 2542 delegates attended the conference which included 262 women. E. Balanandan, M.K. Pandhe and Ranjit Basu were reelected President, General Secretary and Treasurer. In total there were 35 members in the Secretariat.

Chennai Conference
Chennai hosted the All India Conference for the second time, from 9 to 14 December 2003. This was the Eleventh Conference.
The Conference had detailed discussions on the situation nationally and also at international level. This was in the background of the policies of NDA Govt. and the increasing attacks on the working people. The recommendations of the Second National Commission on labour, had sought to take away whatever protection workers had enjoyed due to incessant struggles. In spite of opposition from the democratic sections, Govt. had enacted the draconian POTA.

The conference had a full session on the tasks among working women. The conference had six separate commissions to discuss important issues.
The new secretariat had 35 members. Com. M.K. Pandhe and Chittabrata Majumdar were elected President and General Secretary. Ranjit Basu was reelected Treasurer. Com. E. Balanandan was elected as one of the ten Vice-Presidents. Coms. Samar Mukherjee, C. Kannan and R. Umanath had opted to be relieved from their responsibilities. Com. E. Balanandan, in his concluding address paid glowing tributes to these comrades. Number of women comrades in the Secretariat increased to 4 in this conference. The Conference concluded with a massive procession and rally. Budhadeb Bhattacharya, Chief Minister of West Bengal was the main speaker in the rally.

Bangalore Conference
Bangalore hosted the Twelfth Conference of CITU from 17 to 21 January 2007. Five jathas from Amritsar, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram were organized as a run up to the conference and were received at the conference venue on 17th morning. Com. Pandhe, in his Presidential addressed dealt in detail, the developments in the international arena.

General Secretary Com. Chittabrata Majumdar, dealt with the onslaught on labour in detail. He referred to the second generation reforms of UPA Govt. and noted that the main pillars of these reforms have been total liberalization of financial sector, complete overhauling of labour laws aimed at casualisation and contractorisation of the labour force and complete liberalization and deregulation of trade. This was a period when we had 3 all India strikes in all the three preceding years; 24th February 2004, 29th September 2005 and 14th December 2006.

This conference gave a call for observance of birth centenary of Com. P. Ramamurti from 20th September 2007; for one year and for establishment of a Trade Union School in the name of Com. P. Ramamurti. 2439 delegates including 297 women attended the conference. There were 55 fraternal delegates from different parts of the world. Com. M.K. Pandhe, Chittabrata Majumdar and Rajit Basu were reelected President, General Secretary and Treasurer. Com. Chittabrata Majumdar passed away immediately after the conference and Mohammed Amin was elected General Secretary in February 2007.

Chandigarh Conference
The 13th Conference, was held in Chandigarh from 17 to 21 March 2010. This conference was being held after the General election in 2009 and UPAII had come to power. In the background of the political situation, this conference pointed out the challenges ahead as well as opportunities.

The United Trade Union movement has got further strengthened with all Central Trade Unions had come together to struggle for a common charter of demand. The inaugural session of the Chandigarh conference reflected this with leaders of all central trade unions being present there to declare united struggles in the coming period. The venue was named after Com. Jyoti Basu, our veteran leader and Vice-President from the Second Conference. In between we had also lost Comrades Balanandan, Chittabrata Majumdar and Ranjit Basu. Conference was attended by George Mavrikose General Secretary of CITU. 2410 delegates including 357 women from 24 states attended this conference; representing 50,50,942 members.

The Conference had discussed six important subjects in commissions. A.K. Padmanabhan, Tapan Sen and Ranjana Nirula were elected as the new President, General Secretary and Treasurer. Six women comrades were elected to the secretariat. The Conference concluded with a well attended mass rally.

Sunday, 09 February 2014 16:26


Sunday, 09 February 2014 16:25

Committee of Public Sector Trade Unions

The emergence and sustenance of united trade movement of the Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSU) Workers in India has a very long history. The very beginning can be traced in the joint convention of the CPSU workers held at Hyderabad on 23-24 December 1977. That period has been significant for the reason that a new political situation emerged in the country with defeat at the hustings the most atrocious avowedly anti-worker authoritarian ‘Internal Emergency’ (June 1975 to November 1977) regime of Indira Gandhi and the Janata Party Government came to power at the centre. Although CPSTU formally came into existence a few years later, actually this convention laid the foundation stone for the CPSTU.

The period since the Hyderabad convention, the country witnessed regular hectic activities of the Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSU) workers jointly organised by CITU, AITUC, HMS, BMS and the two Apex Forums of CPSU workers at Bangalore and Hyderabad. The struggles took place at industry, regional and national levels.

The major issues of the period concerning which the struggles took place were against wage freeze steps of the Government, against anti-worker unilateral guidelines issued by Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) directed at curbing the right to collective bargaining, against fraud in compilation of Consumer Price Index (CPI) and proper fixation of rate of Dearness Allowance, Bonus to all workers etc etc. The other most important issue of the same period was the fight against atrocious Industrial Relations Bill designed to take away the trade union rights of the workers, opposition to Compulsory Deposit Scheme (CDS) etc.

The CITU has been taking very seriously the joint movement of the CPSU workers right from the inception. The organisational strength of CITU amongst the CPSU workers all over the country since then has been growing rapidly. Rajib Gandhi Government, in the mid-eighties, took concrete steps to ideologically and financially weaken public sector in the country. The ground work was done by the infamous Arjun Sengupta Committee Report which recommended taking away the workers collective bargaining rights among other steps. CITU took initiative to defeat this design and unify the public sector workers against such moves.

A related important development of the period was a convention of the CPSU trade the unions affiliated to CITU and also the unions friendly to CITU was held at Bangalore on 27-28 May 1985 which was attended by 284 delegates representing 84 trade unions from different CPSU workers. Reporting about the convention it was noted that, “the Bangalore convention has been a turning point in the PSU trade union movement. This initiative of CITU paved the way for consolidating the unity of PSU workers and ultimately the CPSTU came into being.”

Amidst the aforesaid on going struggles of the CPSU workers a joint national convention took place at New Delhi on 21-22 October 1986. Around 300 trade unions and 50 National Federations of the CPSU workers represented by over 800 delegates participated in the convention. A 14-point Charter of Demands (CoD) was adopted in the convention. The programmes to press for the CoD finalised in the convention included a nationwide strike on 21st January 1987. The convention expressed its firm resolve to fight the policy of demolition and privatisation of CPSUs initiated by the then Rajiv Gandhi Government.

The other historic decision of the same convention was the formation of Committee of Public Sector Trade Unions (CPSTU). The founding constituents of the CPSTU were CITU, AITUC, HMS, BMS, Joint Action Front (JAF), Bangalore and Co-ordination Committee of Public Sector Trade Unions, Hyderabad.

As a sequel to the demolition of Babri Masjid and accompanied communal holocaust in the country designed and executed by the ‘Sangh Parivar’ in 1992 the BMS got separated from the CPSTU.
CPSTU took formal shape of a united platform of the major segment of the trade union movement in the country including the core and strategic sectors through a long drawn phase of united struggles of the CPSU workers. It has truly emerged from the thick of struggles. CPSTU is the concrete manifestation of the concept of Unity and Struggle. In fact CPSTU is the longest ever united forum of trade unions continuing its active existence in the country. No other joint initiative or forums of trade unions in the country existed for such a long period. At the peak of its activities the CPSTU had really represented around 20 lakhs (2 million) workers spread over around 200 CPSU in the country.

The contributions of CPSTU strengthening the trade union movement in the country have been huge in dimension and basic in character. The activities of CPSTU contributed in broadening the functioning frame work of the major industrial sector trade union movement from the confine of factory level to industry-wise national level. The major industry-wise national federations really derived strength from the activities of CPSTU. At the instance of CPSTU the industry-wise national level joint activities of trade unions in different industrial sectors got a big boost. Thus the working class movement of the country switched over from local level consciousness to national level consciousness as a consequence of the emergence of CPSTU.

Yet another major area in which the contribution of the CPSTU must be counted the most is the realisation of PSU-wise apex level collective bargaining system. This achievement of the CPSTU has made significant contributions in many ways in our trade union movement. One of the basic rights of the workers i.e., Right to Collective Bargaining got institutionalised for the workers of the CPSUs covering the almost all the major industrial sectors in the country. This has also shown the way to others.

Over the period the compensation package of the CPSU workers achieved the height of setting standard in the country. This has been possible entirely due to the united strength and struggles of the around 20 lakh PSU workers engineered by the CPSTU. Before the surfacing of the collective agreements of the CPSU workers the situation was pitiable. But it is important to understand and remember that but for leadership provided by CPSTU in fighting the policies of the Government in restricting the right to collective bargaining and achieving quality compensation package it would not have been possible to achieve by the individual industries or CPSUs as it is before us today. These are of course, apart from the contribution of CPSTU in the general trade union movement of the country in fighting the anti-worker policies initiated by the ruling classes from time to time.

And with the introduction of the World Bank and IMF prescribed economic policies by the Congress party Government in July 1991 and pushed with added degree of onslaught by the every successive Government at the centre focusing all round attack on public sector, the fight to protect public sector became the most urgent issue before the CPSU workers in particular and CPSTU unfailingly played its historical role. Before 1991, the period preceding to the introduction of the disastrous Fund-Bank dictated economic policies, the CPSU workers conducted many long drawn battles including many strike struggles for the cause of public sector industries and its workers. These struggles were led by CPSTU. However in the current onslaught against public sector since 1991, the struggles has attained new dimension necessitating broader level of intervention of the patriotic democratic movement of the country and the CPSTU is a front ranking constituent of these struggles.

However, CPSTU is really the source of inspiration and symbol of struggles for the CPSU workers in the country. Presently the top most priority task before the CPSU workers is to protect the public sector from the liquidating onslaught of the policies of liberalisation and privatisation. At the same time the urgent economic issues pertaining to the current round of collective bargaining for the 7th round of wage negotiations is also important. CPSTU is definitely destined to discharge its historical responsibilities in this respect.

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