People's Democracy

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


No. 05

February 3, 2013




‘AFCONS Must Reinstate Dismissed Workers’


Ramesh Chand


ON January 19, an emergency meeting of the CITU at Jammu took stock of the continuing strike by the Jammu National Highway Worker Union against the AFCONS Company at Panjgrian in Nagrota. The workers, numbering 70 here, were recently disengaged by the company. The meeting unanimously condemned the treatment meted to the workers by the administration.

Senior CITU leader Sham Prasad Kesar presided over the meeting which all executive members of the CITU attended. A threadbare discussion was held about the ongoing strike.

While criticising the callous attitude of the AFCONS Company, Kesar said these workers had been compelled to intensify their struggle. On January 04, 2013, with the intervention of the divisional commissioner, an agreement had taken place between the management, the administration and the representatives of Jammu National Highway Workers Union, in which the NHIA project director, the assistant labour commissioner, office bearers of the CITU and those of the Jammu National Highway Workers Union participated. It was then agreed that all the disengaged workers would be reinstated within three days. Yet, even after a lapse of more than 15 days, the administration continued to turn a deaf ear towards the genuine demands of the workers whose concerns were as ever being taken casually. Kesar urged upon the government to initiate immediate negotiations with the protesting workers for their just and genuine demands.

State CITU general secretary Om Prakash and its senior leaders like Jagdish Chander and Romesh Chand CITU also spoke in the meeting, demanding that local population must be accommodated in the project on priority basis.

The CITU expressed its full support to the agitating workers and asked the administration to take immediate steps for reinstatement of the disengaged workers without any further delay so that the work on the project might not suffer any more.




ON January 22, Jammu regional units of various central trade union organisations like the INTUC, AITUC and CITU as well as independent all-India federations in the insurance, banking and other sectors held a joint meeting at the INTUC office in Jammu for the sake of organising a state level convention in the city. The convention would review the preparations and the campaign to ensure a grand success for the two-day historic all-India General strike success on February 20 and 21, 2013. The trade union representatives attending the meeting held a protracted discussion and then unanimously decided to hold a day long joint state level convention at Jammu on February 7, 2013. The meeting was presided over by Thakur Raghubir Singh Chib, general secretary of the state INTUC.

It was also decided that, besides holding joint convention, unions would start a widespread campaign among the toiling masses in each workplace and leave no stone unturned to carry out the preparatory campaign to make the general strike a resounding success throughout the state.

One notes that the call for two-day countrywide general strike is meant to press for a ten point charter of demands. These are curb on price rise and universalisation of the public distribution system, job protection, enforcement of labour laws, social security for unorganised workers, stop to disinvestment in the public sector undertakings, minimum wages, pension for all, equal wages and benefits to the contract workers, ensuring the right to organisation and collective bargaining, removal of ceiling of bonus, ESI, gratuity, compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days and ratification of the ILO conventions 87 and 98, etc.

All the trade union representatives expressed serious concern over these most burning problems facing crores of the working people in the country and the state. These demands relate to their survival, which is being put in jeopardy by the neo-liberal policies being pursued by the central and state governments, while the latter have so far been insensitive to their demands.

The meeting was attended by Sham Prasad Kesar and Om Prakash (CITU) N K Dogra and Suresh Sharma (AITUC), Pawan Kumar Gupta (insurance sector), Ashwani Pardan, Anil Vaid and Arun Kumar Gupta (banking sector), Kuldip Kumar (INTUC), Joginder Paul, Amrik Singh Sasan, Raman Kumar, Vinod Sharma and Ajaz Sheikh, among others.