People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 08, 2006
CALL OF THE CITU Working Council
Carry The United Struggle To Further Heights
THE CITU working committee has called upon the working class to heighten the united resistance against the offensive of the neoliberal economic policy regime in continuity with the massive success of September 29 countrywide strike and ensure broadest mobilization of people in that direction against imperialist machinations both in political and economic fronts.
The meeting was held on December 28-30, 2005 at Bhopal and it began with the hoisting of flag by CITU president M K Pandhe. He offered floral tributes at the martyr’s column, followed by all the office bearers and working committee members. Promod Pradhan, president of Madhya Pradesh state CITU delivered the welcome-address in the meeting.
Delivering the presidential address, M K Pandhe explained in detail the developments in the international scenario. The US imperialism has been pursuing aggressively its hegemonistic designs even as it was getting increasingly isolated from the world opinion. Its continued unauthorised occupation of Iraq and inhuman atrocities on the Iraqi people, its aggressive postures against Syria, Lebanon, North Korea, its continued blockade against Cuba, its encouragement to Israel to continue its occupation on Palestinian territory in West Bank etc are all testimony to the same, he said.
The developments on the economic front as well depicts the aggressive pursuit of the hegemonistic design of the imperialist powers to economically recolonise the developing countries, as per their political and military strategy. But the most notable feature of the present day international scenario is the surging struggles of working class against the grievous impact of the neoliberal economic policies on the workers and people. The countrywide general strike in India on September 29, 2005 has taken place in the midst of such surge of anti-liberalisation struggles worldwide. Waves of strikes are literally sweeping the world. In the global war between super profit and people, people have started asserting themselves by challenging the inevitability theory of neoliberal imperialist globalisation, iterated Pandhe.
Chittabrata Majumdar presented the general secretary’s report to the committee. The report made a sharp attack on the UPA government for the pro-US shift effected in the foreign policy, much to the detriment of our national interests. Hence it becomes the foremost task of the working class movement to build up resistance through widest mobilisation against such pro-imperialist drift in foreign policy of the UPA government, its every pro-imperialist and pro-US stance in the political and international arena, without which the anti-globalisation movement cannot make an effective advance, pointed out Majumdar.
The report also explained in detail as to how the vigorous pursuit of the same neoliberal economic policy regime by the UPA government has brought about severe distortion in the national economy, reflected in the surging super profits of a handful of capitalists on one side and the deepening poverty and aggravating unemployment and acute distress in the rural economy with several hundreds committing suicides on the other. Owing to consistent pressure of the trade union movement and the Left parties, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has been passed and that is the only positive legislative action in the economic policy front under the UPA regime. Despite protests by the entire trade union movement, the government has been pursuing the same policy of privatisation and liberalisation, in clear violation of NCMP, privatising airports, raising FDI cap in strategic and sensitive sectors of the economy, liberalising financial sector etc —all of which were against the interests of the people and the economy, explained the report.
At the same time, hectic exercises are being made to bring about pro-employer changes in labour laws aimed at introducing hire and fire regime and putting overwhelming majority of the workers outside the purview of labour laws. Non-enforcement of labour laws is being promoted as part of the policy drives for bringing about so called labour-market flexibility, and both the central and most of the state governments have been indulging in such illegality. All the basic labour laws pertaining to minimum wages, working hours, social security benefits, contract work, safety etc are being trampled underfoot by the enforcement machinery itself over the last few years. And now, the UPA government has been working overtime to change all the labour laws to legitimise such illegality. Precisely, this reflects complete domestication of the government to the interests of capital under neoliberal policy regime, explained Majumdar.
Therefore, the working class movement has to build stronger resistance against the neoliberal economic policy drives and at the same time fight back resolutely the onslaught on their rights and livelihood, he underlined. The massive success of the September 29 general strike was the beginning of such struggles in the new phase and that struggle needs to be taken to further heights by much broader mobilisation of the masses in order to force a reversal of the policy regime. And through that process of broadest mass mobilisation, the working class movement will also be able to isolate and marginalise the communal and divisive forces, the enemy of the nation and peoples’ unity, explained Majumadar.
A total of 30 members participated in the deliberation on the general secretary’s report. Speakers, while explaining their experiences stressed upon the need for maintaining the continuity of the struggle that has been unleashed through the September 29 general strike through phased programmes of united campaign, agitation and action in the days to come, particularly in view of the offensive being planned by the ruling polity on the trade union rights and labour laws and aggressive pursuit of the liberalization policies.
The working committee had also undertaken a special discussion on "Cadre Development in Trade Union Movement". The discussion paper, redrafted on the basis of deliberations in the last general council meeting of the CITU held in July 2005, was presented by Kanai Banerjee, secretary CITU. Fourteen members took part in the discussion on the subject and made valuable suggestions to enrich the understanding on the subject. It was decided that the CITU secretariat will finalise the document based on inputs given by the comrades in the working committee and circulate to all the units.
Chittabrata Majumdar replied to the points raised in the deliberations and the report was unanimously adopted by the working committee.
The working committee also decided to set up an Institute of Trade Union and Research, to be named after P Ramamoorty, the founder general secretary of CITU and a stalwart of the Indian trade union movement, to conduct education programmes for the trade union cadres and activists and also to conduct research work on issues of relevance for the working class movement. It was decided that the CITU would associate the fraternal trade union organisations in the setting up and running of the school and structuring the classes and research work.
The working committee also adopted ten resolutions. They are: 1) Against barbaric repression on glass bangles and ceramic industry workers at Ferozabad, Uttar Pradesh, 2) Opposing UPA government’s move to disinvest shares of profit-making PSUs, 3) On Workplace Accidents and Negligence of Safety Provisions, 4) Opposing reduction of EPF interest rate and demanding enhancement of administered rate of interest to maintain EPF interest rate to 9.5 per cent, 5) Demanding UPA government to scrap the PFRDA Bill, 6) Extending support to central government employees and railway employees’ proposed strike action to press for setting up of 6th Pay Commission, 7) Extending support to BSNL employees countrywide strike on January 5 against raising of FDI cap in telecom sector and other issues, 8) Extending support to cycle workers of Ludhiana against closure, victimisation and repression, 9) Demanding halt of large-scale export of iron-ores and valuable minerals, 10) Congratulating people of Madhya Pradesh, particularly Bhopal and also MP state CITU for the successful holding of the working committee meeting of CITU.
On the afternoon of December 30, 2005, a mass rally was organised in Bhopal which was addressed by M K Pandhe, Chittabrata Majumdar, Md Amin, labour minister, West Bengal government, Dipankar Mukherjee, secretary of CITU and MP, K Hemalata, secretary CITU and Badal Saroj, general secretary of MP state CITU. Promod Pradhan, president of MP state CITU presided over the meeting.