People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 09, 2007
DREU (CITU) Wins Recognition In Southern Railway
IN the secret ballot exercise held in the Indian Railways, the only CITU affiliate, the Dakshin Railway Employees' Union (DREU) has edged out the INTUC affiliate Southern railway Employees' Sangh (SRES) to secure its due place as a negotiating union in the Southern Railway.
The secret ballot was held on November 26 – 28, 2007 in all the divisions of the Southern Railway. Eight registered trade unions, eligible to contest, had staked claim for the two slots in the negotiating body. The DREU, founded by the legendary leaders of the Communist movement in Tamil Nadu viz late Comrades K Anantan Nambiar and M Kalyanasundaram, was in the forefront of the campaign. The Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU), affiliated to the All India Railwaymen's Federation and the HMS, along with the SRES had been the two recognised unions for several decades. Both the SRMU and SRES had for long functioned as a limb of the Railway administration, taking a callous attitude to the worker's demands and grievances. The workers had waited for an opportunity to bring about a paradigm change in the present dispensation and extended a warm reception to the campaign by the DREU. Several other unions representing the OBC employees and different categories like loco running staff, guards, track maintenance inspectors, commercial clerks, station masters, accounts staff, ministerial staff etc., had extended support to the DREU in this election. The SRMU was claiming membership of around 80 per cent of the workers in the Southern Railway and boasting to become the sole negotiating union. Both the SRMU and the SRES had indulged in a vulgar display of money power extending all sorts of allurements to the workers to cast votes in their favour. They also mobilised musclemen to thwart the genuine workers whom they apprehended would vote against them from exercising their franchise. But, finally the patience and perseverance shown by the DREU paid off.
The counting of votes was taken up on December 3, 2007. The DREU won the election for recognition winning over 30 per cent of the votes polled. The final tally of votes is as follows:
Valid votes : 92325
Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU) : 35545
Dakshin Railway Employees' Union (DREU) : 30231
Southern railway Employees' Sangh (SRES) : 24699
Dakshin Railway Karmik Sangh (DRKS) : 1126
Rail Mazdoor Union (RMU) : 273
Railway labour Liberation Front (RLLF) : 327
Southern Railway Anna Employees' Union (SRAEU) : 92
Southern Railway Employees' Union (SREU) : 31
The DREU had been led by R Umanath as president and P V Ramadoss as general secretary for long years. Presently, the DREU is led by T K Rengarajan as president and R Janakiraman as general secretary. The CITU Tamilnadu state committee had extensively campaigned in support of the DREU and mobilised its cadre throughout the state to counter the muscle power of the recognised unions. The Southern Railways comprise a few divisions in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh as well as Karnataka and the respective state committees of CITU had also extended their support in ample measure.
On December 4, 2007 nearly 2000 workers gathered at the Chennai Central suburban station complex and proceeded in a rally to celebrate the hard own victory by the DREU. T K Rengarajan, vice president, CITU, A Soundararajan, general secretary, CITU, and leaders of the DREU viz Janakiraman, general secretary, P V Ramadoss, vice president, R Elangovan working president and others addressed the rally. The leaders of the other organisations which had joined the DREU in this campaign viz Phuthiyavan (AIOBC), Muthukumarasamy (Accounts Staff), Sarangapani (AITUC), Srinivasan (Guards' Council), Lenin Kumar (Loco Running Staff), Narasimhan (Station Masters) Balasubramanian (JD union), Narayanan (Commercial Clerks), Ganapathy (Track Inspectors), Murthy (Ministerial Staff) and others also spoke on the occasion.