People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXIX

No. 09

February 27, 2005

George Fernandesí Union Ousted From Konkan Railways

NRMU Emerges Winner

 

P R Menon

 

GEORGE Fernandesí pretensions to leadership of railway employees, were blown away by the Konkan railway employees in the union elections held on February 2, 2005. Konkan Railway Corporation Employees Union (KRCEU), affiliated to George Fernandes-led HMKP, has been soundly defeated by the National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU), an affiliate of Hind Mazdoor Sabha and All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF) in this election. The KRCEU has been in power for the last seven years and it has been dodging the holding of elections to the union with the support of the management even after its term had expired long back. This election was forced as a result of the directive of Mumbai High Court in a Writ Petition filed by NRMU.

 

The NRMU secured 65 per cent votes while the KRCEU got 32 per cent and the Shiv Sena-led Bharatiya Kamgar Sena (BKS) got a mere 2 per cent vote. This election was held under the supervision of Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) by secret ballot in six centers.

 

The KRCEU which had been claiming overwhelming support got a sound thrashing in the battle of ballots. It may be recalled here that the NRMU had ousted George Fernandes from its leadership in the election of the union in 1980 itself. Consequently, he lost his foothold in the AIRF also and ever since he had been trying to stage a comeback in the NRMU but could not succeed. He then floated his own Rail Mazdoor Union in a desperate bid to split the NRMU and the AIRF. But the RMU floated by him was a stillborn child and railway men buried it without any regrets. Now, the KRCEU has also been shown the door and the great splitter and his sycophants have been taught the lesson of their lives by the workers of the Indian Railways.

 

After the election results were announced hundreds of jubilant workers assembled in front of the RRMís office in Ratnagiri shouting slogans, waving flags and carrying banners. Milind Tulaskar, assistant general secretary who was entrusted with the affairs of Konkan Railway, congratulated the workers for this victory and before that he requested them to observe a minutes silence in memory of Rakesh Sharma and Kadav, activists of the union who died a few days back. He also stressed the need for maintaining unity and discipline. C Radhakrishnan in his speech reminded the workers that the NRMU had achieved such significant victories in the past also. He cited the election to the ECC Society conducted in 2003 when all the organisations in the Railways had had ganged up against NRMU but were defeated badly. He exhorted the workers to be humble in this hour of victory but show firmness and militancy when necessary.

 

P R Menon, general secretary of NRMU spoke about the tradition of NRMU, the struggles it had conducted on the issues of rail workers, its contribution for various causes like help to victims of natural calamities, communal riots etc. He said that the NRMU would leave no stone unturned in its efforts to solve the problems of employees of KRCL. Anil Rawat, who was in the forefront of the NRMU campaign in the KRCL congratulated the workers and called on them to be united. Krishna Kumar Shet thanked the employees of KRCL and all those comrades of Bombay Division of Central Railway who had stood by them in their struggle to throw out the much-hated union and to bring the NRMU as the recognised union of KRCL.