People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 18, 2007
United Chatkal Mazdoor Struggle Wins Long-Standing Demands
AFTER a heroic struggle of 63 days, the united Chatkal mazdoor movement participated in by 20 TUs with the CITU-affiliated Bengal Chatkal Mazdoor Union playing a crucial role, won its charter of demands from the unwilling hands of a recalcitrant management. The state Left Front government stood by the struggling mazdoors all the way as usual. Negotiations were protracted, often adversarial, and even combative.
BCMU leaders Mohd Amin and Gobindo Guha have described the win as an example of inspiration for the workers all over the country. CITU leaders Shyamal Chakraborty and Kali Ghosh have said that the win would inspire workers in every other sector to repose confidence in struggles and movements to secure and win legitimate demands.
The strike in 54 jute mills of Bengal commenced on January 5 after the management had repeatedly gone back on tri-partite agreements signed. The jute workers stuck doggedly to 14 principal demands and fought until they could come out as winners. Around 2.5 lakh of mazdoors took part in the strike action. The main demand of 257 points of dearness allowance (DA) at the rate of 1.90 has been settled in favour of the workers. The rest of the 14 demands would be negotiated over a period in tripartite meetings.
With house rent included, the workers would receive a total of Rs 437 (i.e., 200 point worth of DA) as soon as the mills would open. From October 1, the workers would receive 57 points more, which would work out to Rs 100. The first instalment of DA would amount to over Rs 10 crore. The second instalment would be worth Rs 3 crore more. The workers who have left the mills and gone away would be allowed 15 days time within which to rejoin duties. (BP)