(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 27, 2008
MAY DAY MANIFESTO OF THE CITU, 2008
THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) extends revolutionary greetings to the entire working class of India and the world on the May Day – 2008, the day to redeem our pledge to strengthen class struggle and international solidarity.
The year 2008 began with a global capitalist crisis, which will lead to further attacks on the working class in particular and the common people in general. US occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq continues along with US threats to attack Iran. NATO is being expanded with aggressive missile defence systems, new military alliances are being forged while countries like India are being drawn into military alliance by US. The process of neo-colonisation and armed intervention in developing countries is looming large all over the world. The imperialists are becoming more desperate because the depredations of IMF, World Bank and WTO, are showing signs of weakness. The US economy is faltering, dollar value is falling but militarism is increasing by showing its brutal face with every passing day. The world is slated to see more violence in the coming days.
May Day 2008 enjoins upon the working class of the world to redouble our efforts to organise effectively in order to defeat the global designs of the imperialists and to ensure peace all over the world.
Neo-liberal economic policies have posed several major challenges before the working class. There is now an oceanic divide between the few super-rich and the vast multitude of humanity living in sub-human conditions. Unemployment is on the rise and job security and social security are on the decline. Reckless use of energy by developed countries has aggravated global warming, resulting in climatic disorder and environmental disasters. Over and above, runaway inflation and food shortages are making the life of the working class more miserable in most part of the globe particularly in the developing world. All these developments together are responsible for social tension, political turmoils and suppression of democratic rights by the governments following the policies of neo-liberal globalisation.
Even in this backdrop the CITU notes with satisfaction that resistance against the policies of imperialist globalisation and hegemonism of United States is getting stronger everyday in the continents. People have started asserting themselves for their democratic rights which have already brought major political changes in Latin America and recently the developments in Pakistan and Nepal signal advancement of democratic forces against the wishes and designs of US-backed imperialist forces.
The CITU also notes that there is a surge of trade union actions by the workers all over the world and advancement of militant forces challenging the neo-liberal world order. This period is heralding a new era of global unity of progressive and militant trade unions which are working relentlessly to forge a common understanding against globalisation and for trade union rights. This period has witnessed regrouping of sectoral and global industry-wise trade unions to launch resistance movements against joblessness and for labour rights, decent wage and social security. The CITU notes with satisfaction that trade unions from developing countries, along with their friends in advanced economies, are taking a greater role in mobilising the progressive forces and trade unions in the common fight against the pernicious effects of imperialist globalisation.
May Day – 2008 has the promises of intensified global action and consolidation of class oriented trade unions in the coming years.
In India where the United Progressive Alliance government enters into its fifth year of existence, it is now crystal clear that this government, for all practical purposes, is determined to follow the neo-liberal policies more vigorously despite their commitments made in the National Common Minimum Programme to usher in pro-people, pro-labour and pro-women policies. Recent surveys show that 94.27 per cent of workers are working in unorganised and informal sector without any legal coverage and social security benefits, a large part of them being women. Even in the case of existing labour laws the reality is that enforcement of the laws have completely collapsed. Outsourcing and contractorisation have become the order of the day. For 77 per cent of households the average per capita consumption is just Rs 20 (around half-a-dollar) per day. More than 5 million jobs have vanished in organised sector which have been replaced by contract workers with extremely poor wage when India is producing more dollar billionaires than what even Japan ever had. While policy back-up, credit support and incentives are being granted to big business and corporate houses, new laws to protect agricultural workers, unorganised and informal sector workers and introduction of comprehensive social security benefits are being delayed indefinitely pushing the people to destitution and death. The problems of unemployment and poverty remain unaddressed in both rural and urban areas.
In agriculture the UPA government has handed over procurement, warehousing, marketing rights to private parties, while the input prices have gone up as per market diktats. All these have resulted in an acute agrarian crisis leading to suicides by thousands of farmers every month. The country is facing severe food shortage and high prices of essential food items. This is the result of “reforms” in agriculture and the government is merrily importing foodgrains at double the prices while our peasants have become destitutes. The CITU has decided to stand by the peasantry and fight jointly against the wrong policies in agricultural sector of the UPA government.
The people of India are witnessing relentless rise in prices of all essential commodities. Inflation rate, though the figures are manipulated and shown lower, has crossed 7 per cent in whole sale price index which actually is much higher in retail market. People are reeling under the burden of price rise particularly food items because of flawed policy of government continuing future trading in these commodities. People have no relief as the Public Distribution System has virtually collapsed because of neglect of succeeding governments at the centre. The hardships of common people are evident in all spheres of life. Yet the UPA government is hell-bent to implement its policies of privatisation of public sector industries, services, mines and financial institutions. The government is going ahead to invite FDI in retail trade in a big way, thus endangering the livelihood of millions of small traders, vendors and others who have to fall back on such jobs in absence of employment opportunities. In spite of strong opposition, nearly 400 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) have been sanctioned so far where labour laws are flouted, trade union rights are denied and the investors get huge incentives including tax exemption. The peasants are also badly affected under the SEZ policy as they are being evicted in large numbers. It is the bounden duty of the working class along with the peasantry to fight this brazen favour to the big business and monopoly houses for formation of a State within a State in the name of SEZ. The policy framework is directed towards a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich and therefore the resultant effects are only aggravation of poverty of the masses while the rich can corner unlimited wealth. The government is openly advocating for 60 hours work per week and daily limit to be raised to 12 hours which is an attack on the basic right achieved by the working class after the martyrdom of 9 heroes on the May 1 in Chicago in USA more than a century ago.
The CITU has to organise campaigns and lead struggles against these moves and stand by the most vulnerable section of people in the society. This is a task to be undertaken afresh on May Day 2008.
The working class in India, led by the CITU, are leading grim battles against the ruling classes who are eagerly converting India into a junior partner in the strategic alliance led by US, UK and Israel to form a military block against the countries of their dislike such as Iran, China, Russian Federation and so on. In the domestic front our battle continues against the fundamentalist and communal forces who are again raising their heads taking advantage of the UPA government’s failure in almost all the fronts. Incidences of attacks on minorities are simultaneously on the rise that are creating deep divisions in the society on communal lines. This is a great danger in developing class based trade union organisation and united struggles.
May Day-2008 is the day to renew our pledge to defeat the communal forces from coming to power as the elections are due next year. CITU calls upon the working class of India to take up this big challenge and to ensure advancement of the secular democratic forces. Attacks on dalits are also on the rise and as its backlash caste-based organisation and politics are creating divisions among the democratic forces. This is a big threat to the development of healthy trade union movement. The working class has to resolutely stand for the dignity of human beings and harmony in the society to fight against poverty, unemployment and injustice and indignity as human beings on the basis of caste.
The year 2008 is the year to conclude wage agreements in public sector enterprises. The CITU has decided to effect a break from the past practices of wage settlement for regular workers only. This time the CITU and friendly unions and federations have given a call to ensure that there must be a concomitant wage rise for contract workers in organised industry. This is one of the major issues for which a countrywide call for strike has been given on May 7, 2008. The CITU calls upon all the members, supporters, allies and friends to make the strike a grand success.
The CITU believes that the coming days will witness intensified attack upon the working class in the event of an economic slowdown. There will be all kinds of divisive forces working all over to weaken working class movement and above all there will be attack on democratic rights of the common people as well as attack on their life and living.
The CITU, while conveying revolutionary greetings to the working class and people in the country and all over the world, pledges to join hands for international unity and solidarity of the working class in the struggle against globalisation, deprivation and social injustice.
The CITU pledges to fight for decent wage, social security, labour rights, jobs for all and to work towards social justice, peace and better quality of life of the people.
Long Live May Day – 2008 !
Long Live Working Class unity !
Down with Globalisation !
Down with Imperialism and War !