(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 13 , 2008
NATIONAL CONVENTION OF GOVT EMPLOYEES & TEACHERS
A Firm Resolve To Make August 20 Strike A Grand Success
THE national convention of central and state government employees, university and college teachers resolved to make the August 20 general strike a grand success.
About 800 delegates representing the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers, All India State Government Employees’ Federation, All India Federation of University and College Teachers Union and School Teachers Federation of India attended the national convention held in Delhi on July 8, 2008.
The convention was inaugurated by M K Pandhe, president CITU and was addressed by Tapan Sen, MP, secretary CITU, S K Bose, assistant secretary, NRMU, Sailo Bhattacharya, general secretary, All India Defence Employees Federation, Bidyanath Mukherjee of School Teachers Federation of India, B S Hota, president, All India University Employees Confederation, James William, national secretary AIFUCTO, Rajesh Menon, general secretary of Confederation of Central Govt Officers Organisations. The convention was presided by a presidium consisting of S K Vyas, R G Karnik and Kartik Mondal.
The declaration, later approved by the convention was presented by Sukomal Sen, general secretary AISGEF, and seconded by S K Vyas, president Confederation of Central Govt Employees and Workers.
K K N Kutty, secretary general of Confederation of Central Government Employees summed up the discussion in which about 30 delegates participated. The convention endorsed the decision of the Sponsoring Committee of Trade Unions to organise a general strike on August 20, 2008 and made a firm resolve to make the strike a grand success. Towards this end, the convention finalised the following programmes of action:
1 Joint Conventions at states/district/industrial centers to be completed by July 15, 2008.
2. Massive demonstration/mobilisation/dharna in all the states and industrial centers on July 30, 2008.
3. Serving of strike notice through demonstration on August 4, 2008.
The convention concluded with the presidential address by R G Karnik on behalf of the presidium.
The following is the text of the declaration adopted unanimously at the convention of central and state government employees, university, college and school teachers on July 8.
This joint convention of central and state government employees, defence workers, university, college and school teachers and other employees notes with distress that the government of India and many state governments in the country have been following the World Bank-IMF dictated neo-liberal economic policies unabated since 1991 despite the sustained and continued opposition and resistance of the working people. While fabulously enriching a few in the topmost strata of the society and allowing comfort to the high segment of the middle class, it has pushed millions of our countrymen to penury and poverty. While the economy is claimed to have grown at a faster pace during this period, the workers, peasants and common people became poorer in a much more accelerated manner.
The unprecedented inflation and rise in prices of the essential commodities and its accelerating trend caused due to the pursuance of the anti-people economic policies of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation has made the workers’ and poor people’s life miserable and unbearable. The raging inflation nullifies whatever increase in DA is granted by the central and state governments and will wipe out any financial benefit that might accrue to the employees if the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations are modified and implemented.
The central and state government employees and the teaching community have always been in the forefront of the struggles and industrial actions organised under the auspices of Sponsoring Committee of Trade Unions. This convention, therefore, strongly supports the decision of the sponsoring committee to organise yet another one day countrywide united strike on August 20, 2008 to oppose the disastrous economic policies and force the government to effectively control and bring down the rampant escalation of prices of commodities.
The present ferocious trend of price-rise which has already touched about 12 per cent and has become a killer disease for the ordinary countrymen, but most astonishingly, the central government is betraying an extremely callous and indifferent attitude to this type of unforeseen price-rise and pooh-poohing it as nothing but a ‘world phenomenon’.
The trade unions of the country including those in the government sector cannot remain just as spectators, when employees and the common people are writhing with unbearable pain due to this phenomenon. It is, therefore, the bounden duty of all trade unions to rise up to the occasion with vigorous protest compelling the government to control the spiraling price rise of essential commodities and rescue the people from this extremely tormenting and fatal situation.
It is diabolical that while the country is reeling under the unprecedented and uncontrolled price rise, the government is crazy in pursuing the India-US nuclear deal even at the cost of national sovereignty. Hence arises the need for joining the countrywide strike on August 20, 2008.
This convention recognises the fact that the government's attempt for withdrawal of the statutory pension scheme of government employees to replace it with a contributory system is conceived to transfer funds from poor to rich and to finance the stock market operations. The mass scale outsourcing of regular jobs, contractorisation, privatisation have become the modern instruments of exploitation. This is being applied in all government sectors including the teaching community and the teaching institutions. In all sectors, be it private, public or government, denial of legitimate wages to the workers are encouraged blatantly by the government. Basic and hard earned labour welfare legislative enactments are sought to be replaced by reactionary ones to provide room for unhindered exploitation of workers and to appease the Trans-national Corporations.
The right to strike for the government employees has not yet been formally granted. This year is the 60th year of Declaration of Human Rights by the ILO. India is a member State of the ILO. However, for the last 60 years the government of India has been consistently refusing to ratify the ILO conventions 87, 98 in regard to TU rights and 151 concerning such rights to workers in public services. This convention demands of the government to ratify them and afford the right to strike to the government employees.
This convention views the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission as yet another manifestation of the intent of the ruling class to intensify the neo-liberal economic policies. The Commission has discarded all the established norms and principles of wage determination and has advanced untenable arguments to deny the employees the minimum wage. It has openly advocated corporatisation and even privatisation of major departments of the government of India, Railways and Defence in particular. This convention asks the government to deist from the practice of corporatisation and privatisation of government departments. In consonance with the practices prevailing in the western world, the commission has suggested hefty pay packets and benefits for the top echelons in the bureaucracy denying in the process even the legitimate and genuine demands of the employees. The commission’s recommendation to dispense with the existing Bonus scheme and introduce a system of performance related wage structure being bereft of any logic or merit has been rejected by all the organisations of central government employees unanimously. The convention condemns the suggestion made by the Sixth Pay Commission to abolish Group D Cadre and to stop recruitment of Group D employees as being superfluous in the government departments and permit contractorisation of these functions henceforth. This direction of the Commission, if implemented by the central government, will play havoc in the states, where the number of Group-D employees is in colossal numbers. This convention therefore demands the government to enter into a meaningful discussion with the employees’ organisations and bring about a satisfactory settlement on the recommendations made by the Commission and ensure that the retrograde recommendation on stoppage of Group D recruitment is rejected.
The Sixth Pay Commission has not recommended to extend the existing defined benefit Pension Scheme for new recruits, which the government has stopped without any statutory sanction. This is unacceptable and the convention demands that the proposed new Contributory Pension Scheme which is yet to receive the assent of parliament should be scrapped and all government employees (including those recruited after 1.1.2004) brought within the ambit of the statutory defined pension scheme.
In addition to the above demands of the government sector in particular, the convention fully adopts the Charter of Demands and endorses the programme of actions chalked out by the Sponsoring Committee in its national Convention held at New Delhi on May 13, 2008 and calls upon the central and state government employees, university, college and school teachers to organise a day’s countrywide strike on August 20, 2008 in unison with the other sections of the working class in the country.
This convention urges that they should also take steps for successful observance of the strike through unified and coordinated action in all states.
The convention also calls upon the state government employees and teachers to organise solidarity action programme as and when the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers and other sections of the central government employees to go for strike and other industrial action demanding satisfactory settlement of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.
Charter Of Demands
For August 20 General Strike
1. Take urgent step to contain price-rise through (a) universalising the public distribution system throughout the country to cater all essential commodities at controlled price through PDS, (b) ban on futures and forward trading in all essential commodities, (c) reduction of tax in petrol and diesel, (d) stringent action against hoarding and black marketing.
2. Strict implementation of all labour laws particularly in respect of minimum wages, working hours, social security and safety and stringent action against all cases of violations; stop contractorisation and outsourcing.
3. Scope of the Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill pending in parliament should be expanded to cover all unorganised sector workers irrespective of BPL or APL category to ensure a national minimum social security benefit for them as per unanimous recommendation of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour with central government funding.
4. Farmers Loan Waiver Scheme to be extended to loans from private moneylenders; nationalized banks to extend easy credit to peasants at lower interest rate.
5. Lift ban on recruitment in government services; remove the negative and discriminatory features in the recommendation of Sixth Pay Commission and finalise the same for implementation in consultation with the employees organisations; expedite regularization and grant of pension to ‘gramin dak-sevaks.’