People's Democracy

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


No. 39

September 26, 2004


 Unorganised Workers Stage Militant Demonstrations

 A K Padmanabhan

THOUSANDS of men and women, from various unorganised sectors, participated in massive demonstrations all over Tamilnadu on September 9.


These demonstrations and rallies were called for by the Tamilnadu state committee of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), to press various demands of unorganised sector workers.


Though the government and authorities keep shedding crocodile tears over the conditions of unorganised workers, the situation has been going from bad to worse.


In Tamilnadu, after prolonged struggles, the government had to form welfare boards for various sections of unorganised workers. But these boards have not been functioning. Minimum wages have not been revised for years in many industries and whatever is in existence, is not being implemented. Various demands of these workers such as social security have not been met.


It was in order to press for these demands that the CITU has been conducting a series of campaigns and struggles. The CITU state committee then decided for yet another phase of campaign that culminated in massive demonstrations on September 9.


Thousands of handbills were distributed and posters were released by unions all over the state in construction, beedi and handloom sectors, by the unions of auto rickshaw drivers, headload workers, tailoring units and other unorganised sectors.


In Chennai, both the North and South Chennai district committees organised a procession, in which more than 3000 workers including a large number of women participated. A Soundararajan, T N Nambirajan, Malathichitiibabu, S Appunu, P Unni and others addressed these demonstrations.


A detailed memorandum was presented to the labour minister. Similar memorandums were submitted to district collectors also.


In Nagarcoil, a demonstration with massive participation of women was held. It was addressed by CITU leaders including A V Bellarmine and M Mony. In Madurai, P Mohan greeted the demonstrators.


More than 50,000 workers participated in these demonstrations in more than 50 centres all over the state.