People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIV

No. 13

March 28, 2010

CITU Resolves to Unleash Massive United Struggles

 

Hemalata

 

THE thirteenth conference of CITU held on March 17 – 21,  2010 in Chandigarh concluded with the determination to take up head on the serious attacks and aggression of the ruling classes and unleash massive united struggles by strengthening the organisation.

The conference was witness to a rare and remarkable event when leaders of almost all the other central trade unions in the country came to greet the delegates and declared their determination to continue the joint struggle on the five common demands of the working class. It is to be recalled that nine central trade unions in the country including the INTUC and BMS have been holding joint campaigns and agitations on these demands since September 2009, the latest being the nation wide satyagraha on March 5, 2010. The coming together of all the trade unions created great enthusiasm among the workers and around ten lakhs workers all over the country courted arrest on March 5.

The general secretary’s report unanimously adopted by the conference observed that the ground for this unity was created by the serious crisis and unrest among the workers as a result of the policies of the UPA II government. The unrelenting price rise, massive job losses due to the global recession, the utter disregard about ensuring implementation of the labour laws, disinvestment, and the lack of concern to provide meaningful social security to the unorganised workers created serious resentment among the workers. This led to all the trade unions, including those hitherto averse to participate in any struggles, coming together for joint actions.

The conference emphasised the importance of ensuring that this all-in unity built from above is strengthened at the grassroots level because that alone can pave the way for taking the struggles to higher stage for the reversal of the neo liberal economic policies. Correct understanding about the class oriented approach towards issues should be developed among the mass of the workers so that the anti struggle and opportunist tendencies among the reformist unions can be exposed by the call for united struggles. This would keep the movement in track, and at the same time, create compulsion for other unions to rally round the idea of united struggles, as has been the experience in the coal and steel sectors. At the same time, the importance of independent campaigns and struggles by the CITU and its affiliated unions by approaching and involving wider sections of the working class were also highlighted in the report. It was observed that the success of united struggle crucially depends on the strength and mobilisation capacity of CITU. Hence it was necessary to build a stronger CITU.

 

ORGANISATION

The conference decided to concentrate with all seriousness on consolidating and expanding CITU among different sections of the working class. While noting with satisfaction the 27.84% increase in the membership over that at the time of the last conference, it was felt that there was still vast scope for increasing this. It has set a target of achieving 70 lakh membership by the time of the next conference.

It was decided to undertake a thorough review of the organisation at all levels and take the necessary measures to overcome the long continuing uneven development. There was some improvement in the situation in the Hindi speaking states which together have increased their membership by 42% during this period compared to the increase of 27.84% at the national level. The conference identified the need to overcome the shortcomings in the political ideological understanding in the organisation which resulted in the trend of leaving the organisational activities to spontaneity as a major factor for the weaknesses. It was felt that a serious introspection was necessary on this aspect.

The conference called upon all the state committees and industrial federations to reorient their work as per the guidelines of the ‘Bhubaneswar Document’ on organisation. It was also decided to organise a national workshop on organisation to review its implementation and up date it.

 

IDEOLOGICAL

DEVELOPMENT

The need to raise the ideological consciousness of the large proportion of CITU members and cadres, particularly the young cadres and women who have joined CITU in the recent period, was emphasised by the conference. While fighting for the immediate demands, the CITU cadres and members must also be made aware of the inherent exploitative character of the capitalist order, the inevitability of its downfall, and the role of the working class in bringing about an exploitation free socialist society. Without building a strong CITU with devoted and educated cadres and active membership the strengthening of the class struggle cannot be achieved. The conference decided to observe the 40th anniversary of the formation of CITU from 30th May 2010, through intensive ideological education at all levels of the organisation. It was also decided to complete the construction of the P Ramamurti Memorial building, wherefrom a permanent trade union school would be run, at the earliest.

 

ORGANISED

SECTOR

The membership of CITU has increased by 11,11,114 or 27.84% after the last conference in Bengaluru. Almost the entire membership is from the unorganised sector, which comprises around 60% of the CITU membership. This reflects the increased activities of CITU among unorganised sector workers who constitute 93% of the workforce in the country. However, the conference cautioned against neglecting the important task of organising the workers in the organised and strategic sectors.

The conference noted with concern the clear trend of stagnation, even decline in some areas, in the organised sector which could not just be explained by the shrinkage of the organised sector employment alone. It has self critically noted the lack of much advance in organising the contract and casual workers who constitute almost 70% of the workforce in the organised sector, be it public sector or private sector. Similarly, CITU has only minimal presence in the newly emerging modern industries in the organised sector.

The employers, particularly the Multi National Corporations, with the open connivance of the government do not allow formation of trade unions. But despite this, experiences in different states including Tamilnadu and Haryana indicate that consistent organisational interventions to face this challenge has created pressure on the labour department to intervene to some extent and also brought the workers together. But in many states such serious and sustained efforts to organise the workers in the modern and major industries, whether new or old, was lacking; this was reflected in the profile of CITU membership.

The conference has decided to take up organising workers in the organised sector, including the contract and casual workers in the public and private organised sector, particularly in the key sectors, as a priority task. It called upon the regular workers’ movement in the concerned sector to take up the task of integrating the contract workers with the regular workers’ movement more seriously.   

 

WORKER-PEASANT

UNITY

The conference agreed that the urgency for concerted and joint struggles by the working class and the peasants and agricultural workers could not be overemphasised. It has self critically noted that despite some steps like organising a national convention of workers and peasants and observing an All India Day, the efforts to develop worker peasant unity could not be carried forward. It decided that CITU must take vigorous initiative to develop joint activities on common issues of concern, with Kisan Sabha and Agricultural Workers’ Union, in a planned manner. It directed the CITU Centre to renew the initiative for joint activities. Many delegates who participated in the discussions endorsed the task of revitalising the National Platform of Mass Organisations proposed in the report, by developing joint activities with our fraternal mass organisations to start with.

 

DANGER OF

DIVISIVE FORCES

The rise of communal and divisive forces has posed a serious challenge to the efforts to unify the working class and the toiling people in general.

The communal forces led by RSS-BJP have been desperately pursuing their communal agenda in the face of their electoral defeat. The penetration of the communal ideology into the ranks of the working class is a matter of grave concern. Though CITU has taken up some campaigns against communalism and other types of divisive forces, this was highly inadequate. The conference decided to overcome this weakness through conscious independent initiatives at all levels of the organisation to expose the divisive forces including the communal, casteist, regional and linguistic parochial forces and protect the unity of the working class.

 

DEMOCRATIC

FUNCTIONING

The conference emphasised that the successes in the task of expanding CITU depends on ensuring democratic functioning at all levels, which alone can unleash the full potential of its members and cadres. While there has been some improvement in democratic functioning, it needs to be further improved. The importance of including workers and women in leadership positions in due proportion was underlined.

The serious shortage of cadres at the CITU Centre was also identified as one of the weaknesses that was impeding regular monitoring and follow up of the implementation of the tasks including organisational tasks. Strengthening of the CITU centre was decided to be taken up as a priority task.  

Women now constitute more than 25% of the membership of CITU. In several states they have been playing an important role in all the activities of CITU and even discharging their responsibilities as president/ general secretary of some district committees in states like Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, etc. But this was still to reflect in the delegates to the all India conference, though the situation has improved. Though it was decided that at least 20% of the total delegates to the conference should be women, the actual participation was still a little less than 15%. However, the proportion of women in the newly elected general council and working committee of CITU has slightly improved. Significantly women constitute 20% of the new team of office bearers, including a woman treasurer.   

The changed political scenario, with the ruling classes aggressively pushing their neo liberal and pro-imperialist policies, no doubt poses a serious challenge. But the conference was confidant that with the strength of CITU’s ideology and the serious pursuit of united struggles, it would overcome all hurdles and carry the working class struggles to a new height.

AK Padmanabhan and Tapan Sen were elected the new president and general secretary of CITU while the former president and general secretary MK Pandhe and Mohammed Amin will continue to guide the movement as vice presidents.