(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 17, 2012
CITU CAMPAIGN WEEK, JULY 2-8
More United Countrywide Struggles in Offing
MEETING at Coimbatore on June 2 to 5, 2012, the General Council of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) urged upon the working class to carry forward the process of united struggles to still more militant heights against the regime of plunder and loot of workers, and the mass of people in general, let loose by the neo-liberal policies of the government of India. The General Council reviewed the historic countrywide general strike of February 28, 2012, which drew all the trade union centres of the country, in fact the entire trade union movement, on the united platform of action. The CITU General Council stressed upon the urgent need for further widening the reach of the working people’s united action as well as heightening its pitch, so that it may culminate in protracted countrywide strikes in the coming days. To save the country and its people from disaster and distress, the most urgent need of the hour is to cry a decisive halt to the ruling polity’s desperate shift towards extreme rightward and pro-imperialist economic and political policies.
ACROSS THE GLOBE
Coming from all over the country and representing the unions of various sectors of industries, both organised and unorganised, 272 members of the CITU General Council attended the meeting.
meeting commenced with
the welcome address delivered by reception committee chairman
P R Natarajan,
MP. CITU president A K Padmanabhan delivered the presidential
address in which
he detailed the international and national situations. He
pointed to the
continuance and deepening of the world capitalist crisis in
the form of
continuing recession and aggravating unemployment situation,
with virtually no
sign of recovery as yet. The crisis also gets reflected in the
aggressive and hegemonic drive by the US led imperialist
forces to subjugate
the developing countries’ economies through multi-pronged
economic and trade
diplomacy. Having talked of US’s muscle flexing in the Middle
East and Arab
countries, the presidential address also drew attention to the
rising wave of working
people’s struggles all over Europe, America and Africa,
expressing their anger
against the heinous bourgeois ploy to pass over the burden of
on to the people through price rises, cuts in wages and social
massive job killings. This explosion of protest actions on a
started with the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ demonstration in the
The presidential address stressed upon the need of formulating a strategy for the working class movement in the country, based on a proper understanding of the international situation. This situation gets reflected in our country too, in the context of the ruling polity’s aggressive pursuit of same neo-liberal policies. The need of the hour is to ceaselessly work for widening the working class unity, heightening the united struggles against the neo-liberal economic order, rallying the people from all walks of life in this struggle, elevating their consciousness about the real face of capitalism and also about hegemonist interventions of imperialist forces in India on political as well as economic fronts, Padmanabhan asserted.
REPORT OF THE
Tapan Sen presented the general secretary’s report, dealing with the political and economic developments since the last CITU Working Committee meeting at Kullu in July 2011. The report dwelt upon the trade union actions and the CITU’s organisational activities so far, and presented the organisational and agitational tasks for the future. While recalling the Working Committee’s observation about a rightward shift in the correlation of political forces in India following the setbacks to the Left in the Lok Sabha election and then in the assembly elections in West Bengal and Kerala, the general secretary’s report noted that this shift has become starkly visible on all fronts, with the Indian ruling classes now more openly capitulating to the US administration’s geo-strategic ploys.
talking about the
developments on the foreign policy front, the report said the
orientation of the government of
About the economic situation, the report pointed to the crisis and decline in the country’s economy, plummeting rates of growth and investment, and the consistently increasing unemployment and wider impoverishment of the mass of people even during the years of higher GDP growth. It is the policy of looting the people to the benefit of the landlords and corporate houses, both domestic and foreign, that has taken the country’s economy to the trajectory of recession and decline. The whole burden of the crisis is thus being sought to be passed on again to the common people.
The overall economic situation is characterised by relentless rises in the prices of food and other essential commodities, making the life of the common people miserable. The situation has been made more critical by the increases in petrol prices a number of times, leading to a cascading impact on the already rising prices.
A VICIOUS CIRCLE
in the US and Europe has resulted in the dwindling exports of
and alarming rise in our trade deficit by 55.8 per cent
compared to the last
year --- to 184.9 billion dollars in 2011-12. This has caused
depreciation of rupee vis-à-vis dollar and steep increase in
particularly in case of crude oil, fertilisers, gold, edible
oil etc. Caught in
such a situation,
worst is the situation
on employment front. As per NSSO data, the rate of growth in
declined during 2005-10 to a mere 0.8 per cent, from 2.7 per
2000-05. This decline took place, however, despite the annual
growth at 8.5 per cent in 2005-10, substantially higher than
in the previous
five-year block of 2000-05. This exposes the real character of
trajectory the government of
While talking about the united struggle of working people against the fallout of these disastrous policies on the working people, the report also noted the numerous attacks on working people and on the trade union rights in various workplaces of the country. It was by combating these attacks that the trade union movement has further advanced since the last CITU Working Committee meeting, and built up widest unity of the class that was reflected in the massive and joint countrywide general strike by all the trade unions on February 28, 2012.
The task before the CITU, therefore, is to heighten the united struggle of the working class against the neo-liberal policy regime, along with independent campaigns in order to combat the right-wing shift in the politico-economic policy regime, the report asserted.
As many as 58 members, including nine women members, took part in the deliberations on the presidential address and the general secretary’s report, making various constructive suggestions regarding agitational initiatives and organisational steps to be taken at all levels of functioning. The deliberations brought forth various initiatives for independent and joint struggles in various sectors to oppose the neo-liberal policies and press the demands of the workers and employees. Notable of these initiatives are the two-day countrywide banking sector strike scheduled on July 25-26, 2012, two-day strike in Visakhapatnam steel plant on June 27-28, 2012, countrywide strike in the construction sector on November 6, 2012, indefinite strike in BSNL that was to take off from June 13, 2012 etc (this BSNL action has since then been deferred), apart from the independent initiative for struggle on contract workers’ demands in petroleum, coal and steel sectors, agitational initiative in port and dock sector etc.
Based on deliberations, the CITU General Council took the following decisions:
1) To carry forward the unity of trade unions and the success of united countrywide strike action of February 28, 2012 to still further heights of militancy through an intensive month-long countrywide campaign and agitations on burning issues facing the working class and common people. Along with other central trade unions and national federations, the CITU will launch countrywide campaigns and struggles to culminating in a protracted countrywide strike, to be jointly decided by central trade unions.
2) To organise a wave of massive and militant campaigns and struggles in the country against the regime of plunder and loot of workers and the mass of the people, and on the pressing demands of working people in various sectors. There will be a countrywide Campaign Week from July 2 to 8, 2012, raising issues like price rise, end to the exploitative system of contractisation in all sectors, equal wage for equal work, minimum wage of at least Rs 10,000 per month, ensured pension for all, and trade union rights including mandatory recognition of trade unions in the workplace. Campaigns will be organised at workplaces and in residential areas.
protest against the
cruel exploitation of millions of workers, especially women,
in the name of
honorarium, as in Anganwadi, mid-day meal, accredited social
(ASHA) and other schemes of the government of
4) To organise struggles of various sections of unorganised sector workers on issues like minimum wages, social security benefits, welfare board and other statutory benefits. Construction workers will organise a countrywide strike on November 6, 2012.
5) To organise
solidarity actions with the
workers in central PSUs, who are struggling against
privatisation. The CITU
extended solidarity with the steel workers’ united strike in
6) To conduct movements and campaigns on issues of social and gender oppression in different parts of the country.
The CITU General Council also decided to hold its 14th national conference by the end of March 2013, to be preceded by state conferences. The Working Women Coordination Committees of the CITU will also organise state and national level conventions of working women before March 2013.
On the sidelines of the CITU General Council meet, a seminar was held in the city on the impact of liberalisation on various sections of population. Dr Thomas Isaac, Advocate Vaigai, A Soundarrajan and A V Varadarajan, former president of the Coimbatore Chamber of Commerce, spoke here.
5 afternoon, last
day of the General Council meeting, there was a huge public