People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 10, 2006
Punjab CITU Conference Successful
CITU leaders on the dias of the public meeting
THE 12th state conference of Punjab CITU was held from November 12 - 14, 2006 in Ludhiana. The venue of the conference was named as comrade Vijay Gurilla Nagar. Comrade Vijay Gurilla was a CITU leader from Ludhiana who was murdered by Khalistani extremists. 310 delegates including 30 women delegates representing more than 80 thousand workers attended the conference.
The conference began with flag hoisting by professor Balwant Singh, president of CITU. Floral tributes were offered to martyrs. Harnaik Singh Sarabha welcomed the delegates and Balwant Singh presided over the conference. Vijay Misra moved the condolence resolution and the house paid homage to the departed CITU leaders and activists and to the leaders of left and democratic parties.
M K Pandhe, All India president of CITU inaugurated the conference. He spoke on the major national and international movements and changes which took place during the last three years. Condemning the anti-people and anti-national economic policies of the UPA government, he said that it was the role of the left democratic and secular forces which played a major role in defeating BJP led NDA government and paved way for the formation of UPA government in the centre. UPA government instead of implementing the common minimum programme has been following and implementing the anti-people economic policies of the BJP led NDA government which resulted in large scale closures, lockouts and retrenchments and wide spread suicides by the farmers, he said. Pandhe said that UPA government is giving up time tested independent foreign policy of non-alignment. Like the earlier government, UPA government is also succumbing to the imperialist pressure and black mail. M K Pandhe pointed out that the economic policies of the UPA government would not only harm the working class, but also endanger our economic sovereignty. Speaking on SEZs, Pandhe said acquiring land for the owners of the SEZs is the latest example of the anti-people steps of the UPA government. The SEZs would set up its own jungle raj in the name of development. Lashing out at the Punjab government, Pandhe said that CITU would give befitting reply to the police repression and whole sale victimisation of CITU leaders and raise the issue of workers of Ludhiana on various platforms. M K Pandhe called upon the workers to work day and night for the success of December 14 National strike.
In the presidential address, Balwant Singh said that to defeat the economic policies dictated by IMF, World Bank and WTO, global unity of the working class is required. He called upon the workers to fight these anti-working class policies tooth and nail. He also warned the working class against all kinds of communal and castiest forces.
Raghunath Singh, general secretary of Punjab CITU presented the report of three years of activities, achievements and experiences in the conference. The report dealt mainly with the agitations and struggles on the issues of the All India level, state level and local level and the lessons drawn from these agitations. CITU has been constantly in struggles since the last conference. During this period, the CITU succeeded in forming new unions specially that of cycle industry workers. In Ludhiana, CITU organised about eleven unions. Several united struggles were also organised in the state. A state level joint strike was organised in the state on the demand of revision in minimum wages and implementation of labour laws. In Ludhiana CITU organised big public rallies against violation of labour laws, police repression on workers and whole sale victimisation.
The CITU is advancing in other districts too- in Bathinda, Ropar, Hoshiarpur and Sangrur. In Chandigarh also CITU is advancing. The report also noted that despite large-scale closures, lockouts and retrenchments, the membership of Punjab CITU which was 59,943 rose to over 80 thousand. The conference resolved to make the December 14 strike a huge success in Punjab. A resolution to this effect was moved by Dev Raj Verma and was seconded by Kishan Singh. Resolutions against US attack on Iraq, against price rise, unemployment; communalism, attack on trade union rights, police repression and for increase in minimum wages; in support of various struggles of peasants, unemployed teachers, veterinary doctors and agriculture workers were also moved. The conference gave a call to enrol 1 lakh membership in the year 2007 and to collect fund of Rs 5 lakhs to strengthen state CITU centre. 46 delegates took part in the discussion on general secretary’s report and gave several valuable suggestions. The general secretary gave reply to the discussions on the report and then the report was passed unanimously.
The conference was greeted by Asha Nand, secretary DYFI Punjab, Rajinder Kaur chohka, general secretary AIDWA Punjab, Bhoop Chand Channo, president Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, Dev Raj president Technicla services Union (VK) A S Sodhi president TSU, Sanjeev Sehgal of LIC, Amarjeet Singh secretary Punjab Subordinate Services Federation and Sukhvinder singh Sekhon district secretary of CPI(M).
The conference elected a new state working committee consisting of 85 members and 19 office bearers. Vijay Misra was elected president, Raghunath Singh was re-elected as general secretary and Balwant singh was elected senior vice-president and Sucha Singh was re-elected as treasurer. 50 delegates were also elected for the All India Conference of CITU. In the end the newly elected president and general secretary thanked the Ludhiana district committee of CITU and reception committee for hosting the conference successfully.
People attending the public meeting
On the occasion of the state conference, a big public rally was held in the Ram Leela grounds. Over 15 thousand workers from various industrial units, FCI, brick kiln workers, anganwadi workers and helpers, forest workers, transport workers, narega workers, Public Sector workers took part in the rally. Thousand workers from various cycle factories and Oswal woollen mill workers, textile and hosiery workers joined the rally in under the banners of their unions. Procession began from various factories. The employers of the factories moved from heaven to earth to prevent the workers from joining the rally.
The rally was addressed by M K Pandhe, All India president of CITU, Tapan Sen, All India secretary of CITU, Balwant Singh, Raghunath Singh and Vijay Misra. The rally was also addressed by leaders of Punjab CITU and district leaders of CITU along with Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon, district secretary of CPI(M). In his address comrade M K Pandhe warned that if the Punjab government did not stop police repression, withdrawn false police cases, ensure implementation of labour laws and register the unions within the period of one month the CITU would stage a dharna in front of the residence of the chief minister of Punjab and he announced that he himself would join this dharna along with MPs of Left Parties to expose the anti working class and pro-employers face of the chief minister of Punjab. Comrade Pandhe called upon the working class to mobilise more and more toiling masses to make the December 14 strike a huge success in the state.
Tapan Sen said that the issues of police repression on the workers of Ludhiana, large scale victimisation of CITU leaders who took initiative to organise unions in various industrial units of cycle industries and the unfair labour practices of the employers will be taken up in the meeting of ILO and also in the parliament.
Balwant Singh called upon the working class of the state to joint political battle which had been launched by Left parties to defeat Akali-BJP communal force and to expose the anti-people policies of Congress government.
Raghunath Singh said that the state government had not revised the minimum wages of the industrial Workers even after a period of six years. He criticised the Punjab government and the labour department for not registering the unions of workers of various cycle factories. He called upon the workers of Punjab to extend whole hearted support to the agitation of the workers of Ludhiana.
Vijay Misra congratulated the working class of the Ludhiana who despite all difficulties and police repression continued the agitation against the violation of labour laws and jungle raj of the employers. He called upon the working class of Punjab to further intensify their campaign for the success of December 14 All India Strike. AITUC state general secretary Bant Brar also addressed the rally.