(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 20, 2013
AIBWF HOLDS SIXTH CONFERENCE
Beedi Workers Pledge Participation in Feb Strike
THE recently concluded sixth conference of the All India Beedi Workers Federation (AIBWF) wholeheartedly and unanimously adopted a resolution about its participation in full strength in the February 20-21 all-India strike.
the AIBWF, held in
took place at
A total of 288 delegates and observers from different states participated in the conference.
On January 5, 2013, the conference commenced with flag hoisting by one of the AIBWF vice presidents, Fatima Farida Baig, and with floral tributes paid at the martyrs column by the leaders, delegates and observers of the conference. B Madhab, Abul Hasnat Khan, K P Sahadeban, M P Ramchandran and Fatima Farida Baig constituted the presidium to conduct the conference.
prior to the conference, an open session was held at Pochcha
session was inaugurated by CITU president A K Padmanavan
who, in his address,
scathingly criticised the anti- working class decisions of
the central government
as were evident from its permission to FDI in retail trade,
almost all profit making public sector undertakings,
periodical hikes in the
prices of petroleum product including cooking gas,
withdrawal of subsidies on fertilisers
and other agricultural inputs etc. He explained how these
decisions were having
a catastrophic effect on the life of the common people of
the country. The end effect
of these decisions was the trend of abnormal rises in the
prices of all the essential
commodities. As a result, more than 77 per cent of the
people of the country
were living with paltry income of Rs 20 per day which
rendered them BPL (below
poverty line). He emphasised that it was the responsibility
of the working
class of the country, including the beedi workers, to defeat
the policies of
the central government through a united movement. He said
the central trade
unions and the federations in the country had organised a
at Talkatora Stadium in
Padmanabhan also emphasised the necessity of realising the beedi workers’ demands, viz, common minimum wage of Rs 200 per day, DA, identity card, pension gratuity, increase in the housing grant, medical benefits etc. He urged the delegate to be prepared for a fight for realisation of these demands. He particularly referred to the loss of jobs of beedi workers because of the policies being pursued by the central government and demanded that the government must arrange alternative jobs or compensation for those who were victims of job losses.
Basudeb Acharia also spoke in the delegates session.
Md Nizamuddin, while placing the general secretary’s reports, drew the attention of the delegates particularly to the weakness of the organisation of beedi workers. The report depicted at length the international and national political situation prevailing today and the beedi workers’ problems in that perspective.
The report said beedi workers constitute the biggest section of the working class in the unorganised sector. They are also the most deprived class of the country, having no ensured minimum wage, no facility of pension, provident fund and other benefits. Whatever welfare schemes have been granted them are not available in reality because of the redtapism at the welfare commissioner’s office. To ameliorate the problems in favour of the beedi workers we need long drawn sustained struggles jointly with other unions. But to develop such sustained struggles we need a matching organisational strength of beedi workers. Unfortunately we have a meagre numbers of beedi workers in our federation compared to the total number of 90 lakhs beedi workers in the country. Our experience shows that the results were good wherever the CITU centre nourished the state units of the Beedi Workers Federation and wherever the state CITU units nourished the district units of the federation. The report therefore urged upon the central and state CITU leaderships to take care of this aspect for better organisational functioning.
A total of 18 delegates discussed the general sectary’s report. While summing up, Md Nizamuddin profusely congratulated those who contributed for the success of the conference, whereafter the report was adopted unanimously.
The conference also adopted resolutions on participation in the coming February strike; against FDI in retail business; on a common minimum wage of Rs 200+DA and realisation of the 11 point charter of demands, on the demand of ensured security of women in the country, on the demand of restoration of law and order and restoration of democracy in West Bengal, and on the demand of pension for the beedi workers. The conference called upon the beedi workers to observe the All India Demand Day on April 24, 2013.
The conference elected a working committee of 73 members, including 20 office bearers. The committee then re-elected B Madhab as president and Md Nizamuddin as general secretary.