CITU Working Committee Plans Extensive Campaign for Jan 8-9 General Strike


Forward To the Two Days’ General Strike!
For the Reversal of Neoliberal Policies!
Defend Unity Of the People!
Defeat Communal Divisive Forces!

                                                                              - Call of the Working Committee of CITU

THE working committee of the CITU has called upon the working class of the country to get ready to strike down the neoliberal agenda of the ruling classes through powerful united actions. It has decided to unleash country wide extensive campaign to ensure success of the two days’ country wide general strike on January 8-9, 2019, as per the call of the joint national convention of central trade unions and industrial federations. The working committee decided to seek the solidarity and support of all sections of toiling people and the progressive sections of society to the general strike. It has also directed all the state committees of CITU to extend solidarity and all help to the ‘Long March’ of the peasants to Delhi on November 29-30.

The working committee of the CITU met on November 1-3, 2018 in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Hemalata, president of CITU hoisted the CITU flag and chaired the meeting. Ch Narasinga Rao, chairman of the reception committee and president of the Andhra Pradesh state committee of CITU welcomed the members and invitees participating in the meeting. 122 working committee members and invitees from various affiliated and fraternal federations attended the meeting.

The working committee, in its inaugural session, passed a resolution extending solidarity to the road transport workers of Haryana who were on strike against privatisation and the Yamaha workers in Chennai, the workers of the Japanese company TRMN in Bengaluru and the Ford workers in Sanand in Gujarat who were all fighting for their basic trade union rights. It applauded the news that through their struggle, the Haryana road transport workers were able to get the High Court to intervene and the state government has agreed to suspend all victimisation and to talk to the workers on their demands on November 12, upon which the strike was withdrawn for the time being.

The working committee also expressed solidarity with the people of Kerala who had to face serious floods. It congratulated the LDF government in the state for its prompt and effective rescue and relief operations which were appreciated by all. The working committee also congratulated the working class of the state, particularly the fishers, electricity employees, construction workers, head load workers, scheme workers, state government employees etc who have demonstrated exemplary commitment and dedication in bringing the state to normalcy. The unity and courage of the people of the state in facing the situation as well as the support from the working class and people of the entire country was also appreciated by the working committee.

In her presidential address, Hemalata pointed out that the increasing attacks on the conditions of the working class and the hard won rights of the workers in our country need to be understood in the overall context of the intensifying neoliberal onslaught on the toiling people across the world, at the behest of international finance. Today, the capitalist system finds it no more possible to sustain itself without increasing attacks on the people. Despite the attempts to show that the world economy was growing, several reports and surveys including the latest World Economic Outlook Report of IMF show that in majority of the countries, economy has not yet reached pre-2008 crisis level. The capitalist class is using new technologies and particularly artificial intelligence to replace human labour. The ‘Future of Jobs’ report of the World Economic Forum estimates that in around four years, by 2022, around 42 per cent of task hours in 12 key sectors will be performed by machines and algorithms against 29 per cent today. Wealth is being transferred from the people to the few big corporates and the rich through their cronies in governments and expropriation of public resources. The USA, which was the pioneer of globalisation has shown signs of growth but is now resorting to protectionist measures. It continues to maintain its hegemony through military and political interventions. The BJP government in our country which talks so much of ‘patriotism’ and ‘nationalism’ and accuses all those opposing its policies as ‘anti national’ is kowtowing to US imperialism in almost all spheres. 

The presidential address pointed out that in this situation of increased attacks on their living and working conditions and on their rights, the workers all over the world are coming into struggles in larger numbers. Discontent against the ‘establishment’ is growing. Left has been gaining where it has been consistent in supporting these struggles, taking a firm stand against neoliberalism. But where the Left and social democratic forces wavered and betrayed the interests of the workers, compromising with neoliberalism, the right reactionary forces have been gaining.

The same trends are visible in our country with the BJP led government facilitating transfer of people’s wealth to a few big corporates. Unemployment, particularly among the higher educated young, is growing. Agrarian crisis and rural distress continue unabated. With elections approaching, RSS, its mentor, has raised the pitch on various divisive issues trying to divert people’s anger and attention from their burning livelihood issues and polarise society. The working class must be made aware of these machinations. We must be in the forefront in protecting the unity of the working class and the people.

Working class has to ideologically fight the reactionary Manuvadi ideology of the RSS and BJP, while fighting against their divisive and disruptive agenda. It has to be in the forefront in uniting the entire working class against not only economic exploitation but social oppression as well.

Tapan Sen, general secretary of CITU presented the report which mainly focussed on review of the implementation of the decisions taken by the Kozhikode general council of CITU and proposed the future tasks including effective preparations for the two days’ general strike on January 8-9, 2019.

Tapan Sen lambasted the BJP led government not only for its anti-worker and anti- people policies but also for the anti-national policies that it was pursuing to destroy and decimate the country’s manufacturing capacities, to facilitate loot of the country’s resources by the big corporates, domestic and foreign. The BJP government has institutionalised measures to heighten exploitation of workers and the loot of their savings and social security. It has introduced ‘hire and fire’ through notifications and programmes like fixed term employment, National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM), National Employment through Apprentice Programme (NEPAT) etc, which make it impossible for the workers to get organised and fight. Despite its claims of increased GDP, employment has declined. It is resorting to organised transfer of public funds to the corporates/business houses. It has found new methods for this like the Insolvency Bankruptcy Code to be presided over by the National Company Law Tribunal. Through this procedure, the public sector banks are compelled to undergo ‘haircuts’ of the NPAs instead of taking firm measures to recover the loans from the corporate defaulters.

While reviewing the implementation of earlier decisions, the general secretary’s report appreciated the efforts made by the various committees of CITU, but at the same time self-critically noted that much more could have been done if all the committees internalised the understanding of the updated document on organisation and applied it while campaigning for the September 5 ‘Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally’. Tapan Sen emphasised the need to activate the lowest level union committees and involving largest numbers of cadres, activists and members in the campaigns of CITU. The shortcomings identified during that campaign must be overcome in the campaign for the two days’ country wide general strike. The objective should be to create awareness among the mass of the workers about the need to defeat the neoliberal policies, protect unity and strengthening united struggles of the workers and also of all toiling sections including the peasantry. Specific attention must be paid to reach all the workers irrespective of their trade union affiliations directly and through their specific issues.

Tapan Sen stressed that the entire campaign for the strike has to be understood as a political campaign against the neoliberal policies and the present ruling party, the BJP which is most brutally implementing them. In addition, the divisive and disruptive agenda of the BJP and RSS also has to be explained. The working class must be made aware of the immediate need to defeat the anti-worker, anti-people and anti-national BJP and continue to fight for the decisive defeat of the neoliberal policies as well. Whatever government assumes power must be given a strong message that the working class is no more ready to tolerate these policies.

The importance of solidarity actions to the ‘Long March’ of peasants, particularly by the committees of states around the national capital was highlighted in the report in view of developing close relations between the workers and peasants, the two important classes of society who produce the wealth of the country. Such close relationship and joint struggles were necessary to force change in policies and take the struggle to higher levels aiming to end exploitation.

The general secretary also emphasised the need to strengthen work among working women. He said that this was the responsibility of the entire CITU committees and should not be considered the task of working women cadres alone. The CITU state committees must ensure that the specific issues of working women including equal remuneration, maternity benefits, crèches, sexual harassment etc are addressed by the concerned unions from their own platforms. The campaign on working women’s issues that was decided earlier must be taken up as part of the campaign for the two days’ strike leading to the mobilisation of larger sections of women workers in the strike.

The future tasks related to the organisational preparations and campaign programmes were presented through a power point presentation by Hemalata. The importance of activating the lowest level union committees and involving all members of CITU in the campaign was emphasised. The credential report was placed by ML Malkotia, treasurer of CITU.

50 members participated in the discussion on the report, endorsed the formulations and the proposed tasks and also gave very rich inputs and suggestions. Tapan Sen summed up the discussion after which the general secretary’s report including the future tasks were unanimously adopted. In her concluding address, the president thanked the Steel Plant Employees’ Union, Visakhapatnam City committee and Andhra Pradesh state committees of CITU for the excellent arrangements.

A huge and attractive rally with thousands of industrial workers and workers from various other sectors was organised in Gajuwaka in the city on November 1. It was presided over by Ch Narasinga Rao and addressed by Hemalata, Tapan Sen and MA Gaffoor, general secretary of Andhra Pradesh state committee of CITU and one of its national secretaries.

Future Tasks

• Two days’ meeting of all CITU state committees to plan campaign and preparation of campaign material  – to be completed in November
• Meetings of district committees of CITU and of the state committees of state level unions to concretise the plan in the concerned areas and sectors – to be completed by end of November
• Meetings of lowest level committees of unions and general body meetings – to be completed by first week of December
• Solidarity actions to the ‘Long March’ of peasants – on November 30
• Survey among unorganised workers on the coverage of benefits under Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, to expose BJP government’s false claims through concrete facts – November
• Week long campaign on the specific issues of working women – December 13-19

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