15th CONFERENCE OF CITU: Unite the Working Class and Intensify Struggles
THE 15th conference of CITU concluded in Puri on November 30 with great enthusiasm and determination to take the united struggles of the working class to newer heights to force a change in the policy trajectory. The conference affirmed that discontent was growing against the impact of the neoliberal policies and people were looking for alternatives. This situation provided opportunities for uniting and mobilising workers on the basis of the alternative policies and intensifying the struggles to achieve these. It called upon all committees and affiliated unions of CITU to equip themselves in all ways in order to utilise these opportunities and strengthen the struggles.
The conference unanimously endorsed the recommendations of the eleventh convention of All India Coordination Committee of Working Women (AICCWW) that were presented in the organisational part of the general secretary’s report. Accordingly, the new AICCWW would be of three tiers comprising all women office bearers of CITU, all women working committee members of CITU and all women general council members of CITU. The newly elected secretariat of CITU would decide the convenor of AICCWW.
A day before its concluding session, the conference broke into three commissions to discuss three important issues related to the working class movement in the country – ‘Globalisation, Employment Relations and Labour Law Reforms’, ‘Communalism: Role of the Working Class’ and ‘‘A Strong Worker Peasant Alliance – Urgent Need of the Hour’. A Soundararajan, vice president of CITU, Elamaram Karim, and Deepak Dasgupta, both secretaries of CITU chaired the three commissions respectively. Swadesh Dev Roye, Hemalata and AR Sindhu were the rapporteurs. Over 200 delegates participated in the discussions in these commissions. In addition, around 100 gave their suggestions in writing. These were placed before the conference by the rapporteurs. The conference directed the new office bearers to finalise the papers on the basis of the recommendations.
The credential report, placed by Ranjana Nirula showed that nearly 85 percent of the delegates were matriculates or had higher education. Over 46 percent were workers or employees (up from 43 percent in the last conference) and 38 percent were full timers of CITU. 15 delegates including the president AK Padmanabhan attended all the 15 conferences of CITU. For 751 delegates out of the total 2023, this was the first conference. However, the report showed the need to pay more attention to develop and promote young cadres. While 38 percent of the delegates were below the age of 50, around 27 percent were above 60.
The conference took up some important tasks to strengthen the organisation and also some immediate movemental tasks.
The organisational tasks included:
· Strengthen CITU centre by recruiting suitable cadres.
· Cadre development: Conscious and consistent efforts should be made to develop cadres, conscious of the objectives of CITU, committed to the organisation and capable of discharging their organisational tasks effectively. All the necessary measures including organising classes, workshops, study circles etc have to be planned by the state committees and monitored on a regular basis. CITU centre should organise teacher training classes regularly.
· The slogan of ‘linking issues with policies and policies with politics’ should be put into practice consistently including while dealing with local day-to-day issues of the workers. We must endeavour to elevate the unity developed through joint trade union struggles into class unity through such efforts.
· All independent and joint campaigns must be planned keeping in view our aim of ‘reaching the unreached workers’ and bringing them into our organisational fold.
· Consistent efforts should be made to develop unity of the workers, peasants and agricultural workers. CITU state committees should take initiative to develop joint campaigns along with the AIKS and the AIAWU on the issues of peasants and agricultural workers. Workers should be mobilised in large numbers on such occasions.
· Solidarity actions: Spontaneous actions in solidarity with the struggles of workers in different parts of the country without waiting for a formal call from higher committees.
· Against communal divisive forces: Effectively counter the threat posed to unity of workers by the communal forces; promptly intervene in cases of attacks on dalits, adivasis, minorities and women to protect unity and communal harmony.
· Address the specific issues of the socially oppressed sections of society like dalits, adivasis, women etc from the trade union platform.
The conference took up the following three important immediate programmes:
· December 22, 2016: Countrywide demonstrations of contract, casual workers along with the regular workers demanding implementation of same wage and benefits for same and similar jobs in various sectors. Memoranda demanding the same wage and benefits as the permanent workers establishment-wise have to be submitted by the middle of January, to managements/employers of all establishments where contract, casual and permanent workers are employed. Copies of all memoranda submitted along with covering letters from the general secretaries of all state committees of CITU should reach all India centre of CITU immediately thereafter.
· January 19, 2017: Joint rallies of workers, peasants and agricultural workers expressing support and solidarity to the demands of the peasants and agricultural Workers. This day marks the 35th year of the historic countrywide strike of the trade unions on January 19, 1982, in which the charter of demands included the demands of all sections of toiling masses. Ten persons including workers and agricultural workers were shot dead by police in various states on that day.
· January 20, 2017: Country wide strike of all scheme workers in the country along with demonstrations at various centres demanding that the scheme workers be given the status of workers instead of being treated as volunteers and be given minimum wages and social security benefits including pension as was recommended by the 45th Indian Labour Conference.
The conference unanimously adopted the following resolutions –
· On implementation of equal wage and benefits for equal work.
· Against the attacks on the striking workers of Shong Tong Hydel project in Himachal Pradesh and expressing solidarity with the workers.
· On the demands of scheme workers and calling for united struggles of scheme workers and the beneficiaries.
· Against the increasing attacks and oppression on adivasis, dalits, poor OBCs, minorities and women.
AK Padmanabhan thanked all the delegates for their cooperation and emphasised to carry forward the fighting tradition of CITU by uniting the entire class and intensifying the struggle against the neoliberal policies. He also congratulated the reception committee for making very good arrangements for carrying out the business of the conference smoothly and without any hitch. Hemalata emphasised the importance of effective implementation of the decisions taken in the conference and of developing cadres to do this.
A souvenir published by the reception committee on the occasion was released by Hemalata.