People's Democracy

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


No. 47

November 20, 2011



Employees Decide to Fight New Pension Bill, Privatisation


Fayaz Qureshi


AMID heavy rain and cold weather, hundreds of employees and workers joined a mass rally at Sher-i-Kashmir  Park in Srinagar on October 22. This was the opening session of the two-day state conference of the Jammu & Kashmir Coordination Committee of Trade Unions.


The delegates session started at 4 p m on the same day, after the flag hoisting took place at the well decorated Youth Hostel in Srinagar.


The conference had had the participation of 215 delegates and 17 observers, representing 16 departmental associations and unions of government and semi-government employees.


The conference was conducted by a Presidium consisting of Md Maqbool, Haji Ghulam Mohammad, Hasina Sofi and Thodu Ram.


Haji Nisar Ahamad Banday, chairman of the reception committee, delivered the welcome address in which he outlined the historical background of Srinagar city and spoke about the rich heritage of brotherhood and tolerance of the Kashmiri people.


The conference adopted two condolence resolutions --- one on the killing of innocent people during the turmoil and the loss of human lives during the recent natural calamities, and the other on the death of prominent personalities and veteran trade union leaders like Dr M K Pandhe, E Balanandan,Benazir Bhutto, Jyoti Basu, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, M F Hussain, Maulana Shaukat and Jagjeet Singh.


Sukomal Sen, CITU vice president and senior vice chairman of the All India State Government Employees Federation, inaugurated the conference. In his address he  outlined the international background of the latest financial and economic crisis which has caused deep recession, huge unemployment, attacks on social security measures like pension, wage cuts and retrenchments all over the world, particularly in the USA and other western countries after the Wall Street meltdown. While criticising the UPA government for introducing a retrograde pension bill in parliament, he warned the central government that central and state government employees, teachers, railway and BSNL employees have decided to intensify the struggle against it. It will include a March to Parliament on November 25 and a national level strike if the central government keeps pursuing the pension ‘reforms’ further. He congratulated the employees and workers of Jammu and Kashmir who are fighting continuously under the banner of JKCCTU in very difficult circumstances for the noble cause of the working class.


JKCCTU president Md Maqbool made the presidential address, outlining the situation in the state, with particular reference to the working class in general and the government and semi-government employees in particular. He also made some concrete suggestions for building a strong trade union moment in the state.


Ali Mohamad Bhat placed the secretary’s report in which he explained the major activities during the past three years, and the challenges facing the employees’ movement at present. The latter include privatisation of pension, outsourcing, casualisation, contractisation and privatisation of jobs, growing corruption, nepotism and favouritism in the administration and the threats to the democratic and trade union rights of the working people. He then suggested a seven-point action plan regarding the future struggles and to overcome the present weaknesses in order to make the organisation more effective to face the present challenges.


Gurmeet Singh placed the constitution of the JKCCTU while JKCCTU vice president Hasina Sofi presented the resolution on major demands.


In total, 19 delegates including four women delegates participated in the discussion and, after the reply from the secretary, unanimously adopted the constitution, the secretary’s report and the resolution on major demands.


The conference also adopted resolutions on intensifying the struggle against the new pension bill, against the policy of outsourcing, contractisation and privatization, and  for regularisation of the services of casual, contract, Anganwadi, ASHA and consolidated workers. Some of the resolutions were on the need of a wage policy for temporary employees, on democratic and trade union rights and on human rights violations, and on implementation of the labour laws. A resolution was on building of a union office at Srinagar.


Through an important resolution, the conference severely condemned the decision of the state government  to start a “fixed salary mode” which amounts to cheating the employees by taking advantage of the high rate of unemployment.


The conference elected a 45 member state executive committee with 13 office bearers unanimously, with Md Maqbool Gania as president and Gurmeet Singh as general secretary. An advisory team of five members, headed by Haji Nisar Ahmad Banday, and an eight-member working women’s subcommittee were also elected unanimously.


The conference concluded with a speech by Md Maqbool, the newly elected president, on October 23.