People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 35

August 29, 2004

        Workers Observe All India Demands Day


AS decided jointly by the central trade unions and all India employees federations, the working people all over the country held massive demonstration on August 20 to protest against the reduction in interest rate on EPF, against the decision to enhance FDI cap in insurance, civil aviation and telecom sectors, the move to privatise airports, de-reservation of 85 items from the list of small scale sector and other anti-workers measures of the government. All the states and industrial centres witnessed these demonstrations, which also highlighted the urgent demands of the toiling people viz., comprehensive legislation to ensure employment protection and social security benefits for the workers in the unorganised sector and agricultural sector, revival of sick PSUs,  proper enforcement of labour laws pertaining to minimum wages, social security etc., clearance of statutory dues of the workers, and urgent steps to address the problems of the traditional sector industries  among others.


August 20, 2004 witnessed the massive response of the toiling people to the call of All India Demands Day. In the country’s capital at New Delhi, demonstration was held at Patel Chowk, Parliament Street which was attended by the industrial workers and employees from Delhi and around. The rally was addressed by M K Pandhe, president CITU, D L Sachdeva (AITUC), Harbhajan Singh (HMS), Achintya Sinha (UTUC-LS), Aboni Roy (UTUC) and Swapan Mukherjee (AICCTU). Pandhe asserted that the UPA government must honour the mandate of the people in the last election and refrain from the anti-workers and anti-people measures. He wanted the government to note of the message being given by the working class through the successful observance of the All India Demands Day. He warned the working class would have to further intensify its struggles if the government does not retrace its anti-worker steps. He called upon workers to prepare for these struggles, including strike action in the days to come.


On the same day, the Indira Gandhi International Airport witnessed a massive demonstration of airport workers called by the Joint Forum of Airport Employees Against Privatisation, which comprised of both the workers and officers’ associations. The airport workers rally was addressed by Tapan Sen, secretary CITU, Sunil Khan MP (LS), Dr Chandrakala Pandey MP (RS) and M K Ghosal, convenor of the joint forum.


Reports received from various parts of the country revealed that almost all the districts of the country witnessed massive demonstrations, rally, procession etc on August 20.


In Punjab, rallies were held in all district headquarters. The demonstrations at Chandigarh and  Ludhiana in particular have drawn several thousands of workers and employees from all sectors.


In Himachal Pradesh, a dharna was held in front of the office of District Collectorate at Shimla by the central trade unions and employees organisations jointly. Jagat Ram, treasurer, CITU addressed the rally along with others. Also, several  Hydel Project sites in the state  witnessed massive demonstrations on this day.


In Haryana, more than thousands took part in the demonstration at Hissar. Rallies were organised in other districts of the state as well, which received good response. In Uttranchal reports of demonstration were received from the state capital at Dehradun and Haridwar. Reports about demonstrations/rallies organised in several districts of Rajasthan, including in Jaipur, were received.


Reports of statewide observance of All India Demands Day through demonstrations/rally, processions, dharna etc  were also received Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Kerala.




Our correspondent B Prasant reports from Kolkata:


Red flags and rallies marked the All India Demands Day call in Bengal. Demanding immediate withdrawal of the anti-worker and anti-employee policies of the Congress-led UPA government, workers’, and employees’ all over the state participated in the rallies

Addressing a big rally held at the Rani Rashmoni Road crossing in Kolkata, state CITU president Shyamal Chakraborti said that the Congress-led UPA came to office as a result of the huge popular backlash against the anti-people and communal outlook of the BJP-led NDA government.


“The UPA government could be formed with the Congress winning a mere 145 of 543 Lok Sabha seats, taking advantage of the prevailing political situation.  Should the UPA government decide to walk the same anti-worker and anti-people path, the workers and employees would launch struggles and movements against it.”, he added.


Chakraborti said that the security of the toiling people in the organised sector was in jeopardy.  The UPA government would not take the responsibility of the unorganised workers’ and agricultural workers’ social security.  The movement would continue as an expression of the strong protest of the toiling people against the government’s neglect of the interests of the workers and employees, Chakraborti assured the rally.


Raising the main resolution before the rally, state CITU general secretary, Kali Ghosh said that the UPA government must roll back its anti-workers, anti-people measures taken so far. He said that while enhancing the price of petrol and diesel, the UPA government appeared quite bent upon attacking the interests of the common people across the country.  Bigger movements are in the offing against all anti-people moves by the union government, said Ghosh.


The principal speakers at the rally were: Ranajit Guha (AITUC), Ashok Ghosh (UTUC), Shyamal Banerjee (bank employees’ movement), Lalta Prasad (HMS), and S K Brahma (Railway employees’ movement).  Chunilal Dasgupta presided over the rally.