September 17, 2023

CITU Working Committee Meeting calls for Equipping the Organisation for Head-on Combat

Arka Rajpandit

THE working committee of CITU which met in Rourkela, Odisha from September 4-6 called upon the working class of India to heighten the militancy of struggles against the anti-people, anti-worker policies of the BJP led Modi government. The working committee also called upon the working class of the country to actively participate in nationwide joint protest actions called by the Central Trade Unions and SKM in the months of October and November, 2023.

K Hemalata, president, CITU hoisted the red flag and presided over the meeting. Lakshman Munda, chairman of the reception committee and vice president of Odisha state committee of CITU delivered the welcome address.

In her presidential address, Hemalata highlighted the systemic nature of the ongoing crisis and its resultant fallouts in declining growth, real wages, inflation, and inequality. Finding no way to come out of this crisis, contemporary capitalism is unleashing unbridled attacks on working class for profiteering. Highlighting the IMF report she said, global growth will decline from estimated 3.5 per cent in 2022 to 3 per cent in 2023 with the continued decline in 2024. 93 per cent of the developed countries are projected to register lower growth rates this year. Quoting from the global wage report 2022-23 of the ILO, she said that global monthly real wages fell by 0.9 per cent in the first half of 2022, the first negative growth since 2008. If China is excluded from the computation, the fall in real wages is estimated to be 1.4 per cent. In the G20 countries which account for around 60 per cent of the world’s wage employees, real wages in the first half of 2022 have declined by 2.2 per cent in advanced economies.

Emphasizing on rising inflation, Hemalata said that the IMF expects inflation to be high through 2023. Food price inflation exceeded overall rate in nearly 80 per cent of the 163 countries. It is widely acknowledged that corporate greed is fuelling inflation and is termed as ‘greedflation’. Hemalata gave several examples of the growing resistance of the working people across the world against contracting of real wages, growing unemployment and the cost of living crisis, reform of pension laws and austerity measures etc. Workers in countries like the USA, UK, Greece, France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Slovakia, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Spain etc have gone on big struggles including strikes and demonstrations with the participation of millions of workers.

Hemalata pointed out that the experiences of the working class and the people in our country were also similar with some specific features. In this situation, RSS and its parivar, with the patronage of Modi led BJP government at the centre and in states where it is in power, are working to polarise society on the basis of religion, raising issues one after another with the politics of hate and division. At the same time, the growing united struggles of workers in different sectors was a positive feature which should be utilised to strengthen joint and independent struggles by the CITU with conscious efforts to ‘link up the day-to-day issues of the workers with the policies of the government and expose the politics behind the policies’.

Tapan Sen, general secretary of CITU placed two separate reports. Part one of the general secretary’s report dealt in detail the developments at the global as well as national level and the activities of CITU during the last seven months since the 17th conference and proposed certain tasks related to joint and independent campaigns and struggles of CITU. Part two of the general secretary’s report focussed on organisation and dealt in detail the implementation of the organisational tasks laid down by the 17th conference. He pointed out that the pace of neoliberal policies has increased under the BJP regime during the last nine years which has resulted in compromising the national interests and the interests of the people. In addition to the working class, all sections of toiling people are adversely affected.

Part one of the general secretary’s report dealt with the continuous restructuring of employment relations and massive growth of platform based work practically without any labour rights. This has become a new global feature representing more than 34 per cent of the European Union and 23 per cent of the Latin American work force. The estimated total global working hours in the first quarter of 2022 remained 3.8 per cent below the level of the last quarter of 2019 with low-income countries lagging 5.7 per cent behind. The global monthly wages have fallen sharply to -0.9 per cent in the first half of 2022 even while productivity has increased. The report noted that imperialist forces led by international finance capital and the US based energy and armament corporations are looting the nations and the people amidst such critical situation for the people.

Tapan Sen said, the bankruptcy and desperation of RSS led Modi government is expressed through the pro-corporate authoritarian restructuring of economic, societal and political management through its anti-people, anti-worker and anti-national bills placed and passed by the parliament. These bills were passed without discussions amidst the din on the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur and the atrocities and killings of minorities in Haryana. This aggressive legislation exercise for a destructive pro-corporate direction, in an authoritarian manner, trampling underfoot all basic parliamentary procedures and practices is organically linked with similar authoritarian exercise in the economy-management and restructuring of employment relations towards more fragility aimed at eliminating all labour rights – all for sustaining and facilitating the corporate loot on the people and the nation as a whole.

The report noted that the intervening period has witnessed all three pronged tasks – independent struggles of CITU, united struggles from the joint trade union platform, and joint struggle of CITU-AIKS-AIAWU – being undertaken with better efforts across the country. This has prepared the ground for the recent coming together of Samyukt Kisan Morcha and joint trade union platform in the national joint convention on August 24 in Delhi to give a joint call for united actions – to observe Black Day on October 3 and massive mahapadav at state capitals on November 26-28,  2023. This is to be followed by a combative movement with the clarion call to oust the Modi regime to ‘Save the Nation and Save the People’.

Placing the part two report on organisation, Tapan sen said, the 17th conference of CITU called for reorienting our functioning to achieve our constitutional objective of changing the society. It emphasised the importance of activating our committees up to the primary level. It called upon our cadres and activists to internalise the understanding about the current challenges before the working class and the need to heighten united struggles to defeat the corporate communal nexus in governance.

The report underlined that reporting of the 17th conference up to the lowest level committees was an important task. However except Kerala, very few state committees took this up seriously. Reporting in some states was limited to the state committees only. This shortcoming reflects the lack of understanding about the necessity to take the understanding arrived at meetings up to the lowest level of organisation which is aimed at raising the consciousness of our members.

CITU treasurer M Saibabu placed the statement of accounts and the details of the membership and annual returns received until the meeting. The working committee deliberated on the two parts of the general secretary’s  report separately after which the general secretary’s report and accounts were unanimously adopted. 32 members participated in the discussion on part one and 36 participated in the discussion on part two.

The meeting of the working committee tier of the All India Coordination Committee of Working Women (CITU) met on September 3, 2023 at Rourkela, prior to the working committee meeting. 18 participants took part in the discussion on the report placed by AR Sindhu, convenor of AICCWW.

K Hemalata, president, CITU launched the website of CITU journals.

The CITU working committee took up the following movemental tasks:

1. State CITU leadership to take initiative to discuss with AIKS and AIAWU state leadership to plan implementation of the calls of the national convention of workers and farmers on October 3 and November 26-28. Serious efforts should be made to plan the campaign to ‘Reach the Unreached’ and ‘Link up the issues with policies and expose the politics that determine the policies’.

2. Effective implementation of the national convention against privatisation focussing on electricity and railways organised by CITU – planning at the lowest level, district conventions, campaign during October 24-November 2 and demonstrations at district level on November 3 and in front of the railway stations in the same week. Efforts should be made to approach electricity consumers and railway passengers.

3. The emerging possibility of united sectoral struggles must be fully explored to develop combative struggle in the concerned sectors in the background of aggressive pursuit of privatisation through National Monetisation Pipeline route in the infrastructural sector viz., electricity, coal, petroleum and other PSUs etc.

The meeting ended with the concluding remarks by the president and vote of thanks. The working committee heartily thanked the Odisha state committee of CITU, the Sundergarh district committee and all the volunteers for their contribution in making the working committee meeting a success.