(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 25, 2011
ON TO 20TH PARTY CONGRESS
Seminar Stresses Grassroots Level Workers’ Unity
C P Aboobacker
of its kind was held on September 20, at the historic Town Hall. It was
seminar on “The Relevance of Working Class Unity in the Present Day
Working class struggles against the neo-liberal policies of the
governments are raging the world over. The crisis in imperialist
by price rises and anti-labour measures, has ignited the torch of
struggles against the capitalistic regimes. Working Class struggles are
World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), which was fragmented after the
the early 1990s,
Of course, there are challenges to working class unity. There must be political and ideological clarity to overcome these challenges.
These points were made by A K Padmanabhan, president of the CITU and vice president of the WFTU, Kanam Rajendran (AITUC) and Chandrasekharan (INTUC) at the said seminar.
the seminar, A K Padmanabhan said trade union activity was considered
unnecessary during the days after
Just a glance at the ILO report at its 100th session will show that after the neo-liberal reforms began to be introduced in the 1980s, the plight of the working class has deteriorated. “Priorities should change in the face of the fact that inequality grows and economic imbalance grows,” says the report. Workers are being pushed into an abysmal state of impoverishment over the last 30 years. Confidence in governments and ruling institutions is fading because workers are suffering due to the policies pursued at the behest of hegemonic powers in the field of economy and trade. The workers themselves have no role in devising or executing these anti-worker, anti-people policies. They are suffering due to something which is not their own. They were promised a decent wage for decent work. What happened is that they were asked to work for bulging the capitalist profits, while they were given a pittance in the name of a wage. They were promised a decent wage, but were pushed to indecent levels of life.
NEED OF UNITY
AT GRASSROOTS LEVEL
“However, with all this long talk on the plight of the working class, the ILO prescribes a very wrong medicine to the ills the working class suffers from; the diagnosis is correct to the core, but prescription is entirely wrong,” said Padmanabhan. The cure according to the ILO is a conciliation with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and WTO. But this ‘cure’ will take the working class to nowhere. But, foreseeing this danger, the working class movements in different parts of the world are getting united, putting aside all the differences.
It is in this background that eleven national trade union centres and some regional trade unions came to an understanding to unite for the cause of Indian workers. It is a welcome step on the part of these unions in the face of the anti-people, anti-worker policies of the central and state governments that are under the spell of the neo-liberal policies.
“But unity at the top level of the trade union movement would not suffice; there must be unity at the grassroots level. The struggle against the hike in oil prices in Kerala has forged a new awareness, an awareness for unity. Only struggles would bring that unity. There may be and there are political and ideological differences; but yet there is urgency for unity because whatever the Indian trade unions have achieved since 1926 are threatened by the neo-liberal agencies. Let us get united lest we should all perish,” A K Padmanabhan said.
Kerala INTUC president Chandrasekharan also emphasised the need of working class unity while pointing out that they should not forget their duties when they fight for their rights. He said he is a Congressman, but yet he doesn’t approve the economic and labour policies adopted by the Congress ministry at the centre or that in the state.
Kerala AITUC secretary Kanam Rajendran expressed agreement with A K Padmanabhan on all vital issues raised by him.
The seminar was characterised by the warm felicitation extended to A K Padmanabhan on his election as vice president of the WFTU. He was given mementos and garlanded by leaders of various trade unions. T P Ramakrishnan presented a memento on behalf of the Kelu Ettan Padana Gaveshana Kendram amidst great ovation.
Elamaram Karim moderated the seminar, K T Kunhi Kannan welcomed the speakers and the audience and K K C Pillai proposed the vote of thanks.