People's Democracy

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


No. 32

August 07, 2011




Strengthen United Movements; Intensify Struggles


                                                A K Padmanabhan


THE working committee meeting of the CITU, held at Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, on July 29-31, 2011, resolved to intensify the united struggle of the working class in the days to come against the anti-people and anti-working class policies of the government. These policies have been perpetrating extensive loot and plunder on the life and livelihood of the mass of the common people as well as on the national resources by way of continuing price rise, state-patronised violations of the rights of the toiling classes on the one hand and unbridled multi-faceted corruption on the other by the corporate-trader-governments nexus.


The country’s working class movement is already on the trajectory of the all-in united struggle since last three years and the platform of struggle is getting broadened every day, both at national and state levels, leading to unleashing of all-in united struggles in various sectors like banks, coal, transport, anganwadi and numerous segments of unorganised sector occupations unfolding the prospects of a bigger countrywide united militant actions by the entire class in the coming days. The CITU will work aggressively to rally the broadest sections of the toiling masses onto the platform of united struggles, for militant countrywide mobilisations covering all the states and industrial centres in the forthcoming period. Further the working committee resolved to prepare for culminating the numerous sectoral struggles and mobilisations into a massive countrywide strike action at a later period.       


The working committee meeting was chaired by A K Padmanabhan, president of the CITU; 108 members from all the states representing all the sectors attended the meeting.


The meeting place was named “Shaheed Ashok Kumar Nagar” after the name of the leading activist of hydel project workers’ movement murdered by the hired goons of the contractor. The meeting took place at the newly built office building of Kullu district committee of the CITU, named after the martyr.


The session began with the hoisting of the flag by the president and floral homage to the martyrs by all the participants.  Through a condolence resolution, by observing silence for two minutes, the meeting paid homage to the memory of departed leaders including Comrade Baidyanath Majumdar, former vice president of the CITU and Comrade Chaturanan Misra, former president of AITUC. The meeting paid homage to the martyrs belonging the various Left organisations including the CITU in West Bengal, who were victims of barbaric and murderous attacks by hoodlums of Trinamool and Congress Parties.  Prem Gautam, chairman of the reception committee welcomed all the participants.




In his inaugural address, the CITU president referred to the struggles being conducted by various sections of the working people and also congratulated all the participants of the historic March to Parliament on February 23 and called for further strengthening of various united actions all over the country. The presidential address also dealt with the struggles in the Arab world and condemned the barbarous attack on the people of Libya by the NATO forces.  He also underlined the role of the working class in the uprisings in the Arab world, especially in Egypt and Tunisia.


He spoke about the increasing struggles of workers in the capitalist world, in Europe and other western countries in particular, demanding jobs and in defence of the hard won rights of workers in the background of the  deepening crisis, despite all the tall claims of recovery.


Referring to the developments in neighbouring countries, he expressed concern over the revelations of mass murders of Tamil people in Sri Lanka and refusal of the Sri Lankan government to reach a political settlement on the issue of Tamils.  He called for further strengthening of relations with all the neighboring countries.


He called upon the CITU unions to be prepared by all means to face the various challenges before the working people of the country and also strengthen anti imperialist struggles and also the international solidarity actions.


The inaugural session passed two resolutions. The first one was against price-rise, demanding an immediate roll back of hike in prices of petroleum products, universalisation of the public distribution system and a complete ban on futures trading in all essential commodities. The second one condemned the barbarous and murderous attacks on the trade unions and democratic movement in West Bengal by the Congress-Trinamul hoodlums with active patronage of the state administration and called for countrywide solidarity campaign in support of the trade union and other mass-front activists boldly facing such barbarous attacks. 




The report presented by Tapan Sen, general secretary, dealt in detail about all the issues confronting the workers in the present situation. The report noted in precise the present day situation as follows: “In the background of global economic crisis showing no visible signs of receding in the least and fuming popular unrest in the advanced industrialised nations, the imperialist powers, the US in particular, have become all the more desperate in pushing through their aggressive hegemonist strategy to subjugate the developing countries in political, economic and even military arena, displaying scant regard to even the sovereignty of the nation states. Nationally, the ruling polity led by bourgeois-landlord combine, have been displaying a servile and surrendering attitude to the project of the imperialists. They are pushing through a total deregulation of governance in all spheres of the economy and administration as per the neo-liberal designs, totally unmindful of the interests of the workers, people, the national economy and sovereignty and to perpetuate the regime of loot on the people by the bourgeois-landlord class. The ruling polity got further emboldened in the severe electoral debacle suffered by the Left forces in the recently held Assembly elections particularly in West Bengal since the Left forces have been the only consistent voice of opposition to all such anti-national pro-imperialist policies of the central government in the political forum, representing the concerns of the working people at large.”


On the electoral setback to the Left, the report noted, “Weakening of the mainstream Left movement in electoral terms in the political sphere would lead to a more aggressive right-wing shift and more pro-imperialist tilt in the policy-drives by the ruling combine in social, economic and political arena. Such rightward shift is destined to undermine the rights of the workers and the people and provoke such changes in the workplaces, economy and the society under neoliberal politico-economic order that the whole democratic system and institutions would be put under severe threat of attenuation.” 


On the current task, the report continues “The working class movement has to take up the task of halting such rightward tilt through building a bigger mobilisation and more vigorous resistance to such retrograde designs in order to defend themselves, the people at large and the national interests. The CITU has to take the frontline role in mobilising the workers and people in the struggle and take the united countrywide movement of trade unions in that direction. The task is one of radicalising the movement with a class-orientation and heightening the consciousness in the desired direction.”


The report underlined the necessity to broaden many times our sphere of influence and activities in order to combat the conspiracy and offensive of right reaction to weaken and marginalise the Left and also working class movement.


Tapan Sen dealt in detail about the atrocities being committed in West Bengal in the post election situation and noted, “Despite all out efforts by our comrades in the state braving attacks, atrocities and killings in many areas and malicious campaign by the bourgeois media against the Left, we failed to carry the majority of electorate in the state in support of the Left Front in overwhelming majority of the constituencies and thus suffered defeat. In almost all the working class belts, the Left got defeated decisively. The working class movement also has its share in this failure.”


On the role played by the Left in West Bengal, he said, “The Left movement, which is having its strongest bastion in West Bengal, had been playing a crucial role in consolidating the Left ideology within the working class movement. The Left Front government had been a great source of inspiration and roused high expectations also for a pro-working-class, pro-poor alternative in the given situation. Further, since such devastating defeat in elections in West Bengal, particularly in almost all the industrial areas, could not have taken place without having its roots, inter alia, in the faults and defaults in dealing with the trade union movement and the working class and our approach and attitude towards class struggles and lapses and failures arising there from, the entire matter needs a thorough introspection and review in greatest details.” 


On the elections in other states, the report noted that the LDF in Kerala lost in the elections by a small margin, the fight had been very close and the CPI(M) emerged as the single largest party in the assembly despite failing marginally to form the government. In Tamilnadu, the Left forces which had allied with the AIADMK, won in most of the seats it contested. In Assam, the Left could not win a single seat.  The report also gave details about the recent efforts of the Congress party to destabilise the Left front government in Tripura and the protest actions against the violence by Congress hoodlums.


The report also dealt in detail with the  recent struggles over land acquisitions in various states, the efforts of the colliery managements to dislodge villagers and contract workers, the popular unrest over corruption and the CITU’s approach to the issue, which were detailed in  various memorandums to the finance minister.


Referring to the intense loot and exploitation of the working people, the report noted, “Biggest casualty has been in employment front. Consistent growth in GDP has been accompanied by sharp deceleration in rates of employment generation featuring continuity of jobless growth syndrome. Along with it, the quality of employment is also deteriorating fast demonstrating the intensification of the exploitation process.   As per the latest (66th round) National Sample Survey data (2009-10), total employment growth declined drastically from an annual rate of 2.7 per cent prevalent during 1999-00 to 2004-05 to mere 0.8 per cent during 2004-05 to 2009-10. And such drastic decline in employment growth has been starkly visible both in agriculture and non-agricultural sector. Even the non-agricultural employment, which is supposed to grow faster in the process of industrial development, has witnessed a sharp decline from around 4.65 per cent in 1999-2005 to 2.53 per cent during 2004-2010. And whatever meager employment growth has taken place, casual/temporary workers’ share has been the biggest – an increase of 1.82 crore out of the total increase of around 2.86 crore during the last five years.” While explaining the paradoxical mismatch in the tall claims on  GDP-growth with consistent employment deceleration, which the ruling polity seeks to hide from the people, the general secretary asserted that the trade union movement must demand the government to compulsorily publish employment data every three months along with much trumpeted quarterly figures on GDP growth.     


While presenting the report, the general secretary pointed to the barbaric face of the neo-liberal economic order being presided over by the Manmohan Singh government, where the country’s human development index reflecting the conditions of the common people has slipped down to almost bottom rank of 123 out of 139 countries while in terms of the number of super-rich population, the country occupies twelfth highest rank in the world. And this explains the intensity of simultaneous loot and corruption that the Manmohan Singh government perpetrates on the mass of the people and the national resources to fatten the purses of handful of super-rich and those facilitating the process. National and natural resources like spectrum, oil and gas, iron-ore and other minerals, fertile lands are all the targets,  subjects and fodders of reckless and shameless corruption by the corporate-government nexus to mint money for themselves, sucking the people and the country as a whole. These policies of institutionalising loot for the handful of corporates, contractors and traders their facilitators in the governance must be reversed, the looters and their facilitators must be punished and the natural resources, the minerals, oil and gas in particular must be nationalised, to save the country and the people, Tapan Sen asserted.


It has also been pointed out that the phenomenon of continuing price-rise itself is a single largest case of worst form of corruption engineered by the government at the centre. The price-rise is not just taking place, it is being made to happen, consistently promoted by the government at the centre and the entire exercise of promoting price rise is taking place centering on food, fuel and fertilisers. Prices are being kept at a higher plateau by keeping locked huge stock of foodgrains in godowns when price is shooting up, fuel prices are hiked despite high inflation levels, fertiliser subsidy has been drastically cut –all to facilitate windfall profits for a handful of corporate traders through speculation. If this is not corruption, then what else is, Sen questioned.           


On the attack on labour rights, which is another form of cruel loot on the workers at large, the general secretary gave details about the recent struggles in Gurgaon, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and other states against the process of loot through assertion of trade union rights.  Another issue of importance is the increasing number of industrial accidents and safety-norm-violations by the employers at workplace, which has not yet been brought up as a serious agenda before the working class movement.


The report gave details about struggles in various sectors and states during the last six months.  A review report of the successful February 23 rally in Delhi was also presented.


On the issues of organisation, the report self-critically noted the weaknesses and lapses in organisational functioning at various levels and stressed upon the urgent need for corrective action to prepare the organisation for meeting the challenges thrown up by the new situation.   At the same time, Tapan Sen referred to the heroic struggles of the workers in manufacturing sectors in states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Gujrat and Karnataka especially against the denial of trade union rights.


The issues of increasing contractorisation in private and public sector was presented in detail and the report called for concerted action to mobilise these workers who are a part of the organised sector.


The decision to carry out a midterm review at state level is being implemented and would be completed within the next three months.  He also called for proper preparations for the ensuing membership verification of central trade unions.


Another area of importance is the tasks connected with the international relations especially after affiliation with the WFTU.  Details of our tasks were presented.


33 members took part in deliberations on the general secretary’s report and presidential address and made valuable contributions in strengthening the formulations and directions made therein.


The meeting also adopted resolutions demanding improvement in employees pension scheme and against government’s decision to enhance FDI in retail trade.


The following decisions on action programmes were taken.

1) The protest campaigns, including solidarity actions, fund collections for the victims of violence against the Left movement in West Bengal should continue. 

2) The CITU should be fully prepared to implement the programme of countrywide militant mobilisation and action, that is  going to be decided shortly by the joint meeting of the central trade unions as a follow-up to the February 23 rally and countrywide protest actions against increase in prices of petroleum products. The CITU should also along with other central trade unions and federations must prepare for countrywide strike action in the subsequent phase. 

3) The CITU unions will observe August 26 as pension demands day, especially demanding guaranteed minimum pension of Rs 1000 per month and a minimum of 3 per cent annual relief to all subscribers and pensioners under employees’ pension scheme 1995, with adequate enhanced contribution by government.

4) The CITU along with other fraternal organisations will observe the International Day of Action on October 3, as per the call given by the 16th congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU).

5) The CITU will conduct country wide campaigns on issues of increasing contractorisation and exploitation of contract workers, for pension for all workers, ensuring just minimum wages and regularisation of all honorarium based workers in various sectors like anganwadi, ASHA and mid-day meal schemes as preparatory to countrywide militant action on those issues and biggest ever mobilisation of workers in Delhi in the subsequent phase.

6) The CITU expressed solidarity with the proposed country wide strike of bank employees and officers on August 5, three day strike programme by coal workers from August 8-10 jointly decided by all federations, one day countrywide strike of medical and sales representatives on August 17 as per the call of the FMRAI and the two day strike of DRDO employees on September 22-23, 2011 and called for solidarity actions. The CITU also welcomed the joint initiative of federations of employees of state government, central government, railways, etc for countrywide agitation against PFRDA bill designed to privatise and dismantle the benefit defined pension scheme and their preparation for strike on the issue in the subsequent phase.

7) The committee also passed a resolution congratulating the working class of Himachal Pradesh for the successful struggles being conducted by them while facing the attacks and victimisation coming from the employers and the state government.


In his concluding remarks, the president of the CITU called upon the working committee members to take the message of this working committee meeting and ensure implementation of decisions by taking it down to the members of all CITU affiliated unions.  He also called upon the CITU members to involve themselves fully in the struggles being conducted by peasants, agricultural workers and petty traders.  He thanked the reception committee and its volunteers for the excellent arrangements for the meeting.


Thanking the working committee for giving them an opportunity to hold the working committee in Kullu, general secretary of the state CITU, Dr Kashmir Singh Thakur, gave details of the militant struggles in the state, during which five comrades were killed. The working committee members greatly appreciated the growth of the CITU in the hill state and hoped that the CITU will see further growth in the coming days.




The mass rally on July 31 was presided over by Prem Gautam, chairman of the reception committee and was addressed by M K Pandhe, A K Padmanabhan, K Hemalata, Kashmir Singh Thakur and Tapan Sen. The meeting was attended by a large number of men and women workers from the nearby projects and industrial areas in the district.