CITU for Stronger Resistance to Centre’s Policies
CITU for Stronger Resistance to Centre’s Policies
CONCLUDING on September 3, 2013, the 13th state conference of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) resolved to intensify its movement for implementation of alternative policies in the country, as against the policies of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation that are the weapons of imperialism today.
PEOPLE SEEING THE CONGRESS-LF CONTRAST
The conference commenced on September 1 after a huge mass rally at Dharmanagar, a subdivision bordering Assam. On the occasion of the mass rally, the venue, i.e. the BBI School ground, was named as Baidyanath Majumder Nagar as a mark of homage to one of the departed trade union stalwarts of the state. The entire town was befittingly decorated. Much before the schedule, the ground overflowed with vibrant masses even from the neighbouring state of Assam where the people are practically experiencing the differences between two governances --- one run by the Congress and the other by the Left Front.
The mass rally, presided over by state CITU president Manik Dey, was addressed by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar, the CITU’s all-India general secretary Tapan Sen, and state CITU general secretary Piyush Nag.
Referring to the national situation, particularly the fast deteriorating economic situation in the country, Manik Sarkar said though the BJP is trying to project itself as an alternative to the Congress led UPA government, it is nothing but another side of the same coin. The real alternative requires an alternative pro-people programme like the one being implemented by the Left Front government in Tripura. Elaborating the various welfare programmes for the people, undertaken by the Tripura government, Sarkar said the government of Tripura sides with the working people, in sharp contrast to other states where the governments are with exploiters. Explaining the significance of September 1, the anti-imperialist day, Sarkar said US imperialism is now preparing to target Syria and is ready to flout all international laws, norms and ethics for the purpose. Unfortunately, the Manmohan Singh government always tries to appease the US imperialists without uttering a single word against their designs. All policies of the UPA government are designed to serve imperialism at the cost of the Indian people. To save the country from the imperialist onslaughts, it is imperative to establish a government with alternative policies, Manik Sarkar asserted.
Hailing the heroic people of Tripura for voting the Left Front to office for the seventh term, defeating all adverse factors, CITU general secretary Tapan Sen explained the deplorable employment situation in the country. He added that it would further aggravate when an estimated four crore people will lose jobs following the entry of foreign direct investment in retail trade. While the central government says it has no resources for universal rationing, for ensuring social security of the working class, for incentives to the peasantry to arrest the wave of peasant suicides, the same government had no hesitation to forgo taxes amounting to 10 lakh crore rupees for the capitalists. Whose property they are doling out, Sen asked.
Prior to the rally, CITU state president Manik Dey hoisted the 13th state conference flag in presence of several hundred delegates and volunteers at the conference venue.
The first session of the conference started on September 1 at Dharmanagar Town Hall. The dais of the hall was named in memory of three legendary trade union leaders --- Comrades Samar Mukharjee, M K Pandhe and Dipankar Mukherjee. At the outset, state CITU vice president Tapan Chakraborty moved a condolence resolution, followed by the formation of an eight-member presidium and a 12-member steering committee.
Tapan Sen delivered the inaugural speech, laying stress on the task of explaining to the vast masses the alternative policies, in contrast to those of the Congress and the BJP. The corporate controlled media will not do this. Howsoever hard it may be, the working class will have to undertake this task along with intensification of united class struggles. Refuting the prime minister’s juggleries about the economic downfall, Sen said: if lack of economic ‘reforms’ were the reason behind the sliding down of the Indian economy, how can he explain the economic slowdown in European countries and the US where sufficient ‘reforms’ had been undertaken? The so-called reforms adopted by the Congress led government are basically designed to serve the interest of the corporate sector, Sen asserted. He stressed organising the vast sections of unorganised workers without whom no worthwhile trade union movement is possible today.
CITU state secretary Piyush Nag presented the draft political organisational report before the house. The salient issues that found place in the report were: effects of rampant privatisation and disinvestment, evaluation of achievements and failure of earlier movements, increase in unemployment and retrenchments, reduction in the number of organised workers, encroachments upon trade union rights, price rise, imposition of harsh working conditions on workers, reduction of per capita food intake for the common masses, semi-fascist attack let loose on the Left parties in West Bengal, and the working people’s condition in the neighbouring countries. The documents also alerted against fundamentalism, secessionism and extremism, and urged upon preservation of the working class unity and building up of a bigger movement for unorganised workers who are the most neglected and exploited section of the society. The report added that the pro-people programme which reflects the alternative policy framework of the Left Front government of Tripura should be highlighted throughout the country.
Depicting the position of CITU organisation, the document said the state CITU, with 40 affiliated units, enrolled 2,04,944 members in 2012, as against 1,63,876 till the preceding conference in 2009. Referring to the position in unorganised sector, the report said while there are more than five lakh unorganised labourers in the state, the CITU could enrol only 1.58 lakh. That shows that a vast section of these workers is still untouched. The report strongly urged for drawing them into the organisation’s fold.
On September 2 morning, Manik Sarkar said our ultimate objective is to establish a system that is exploitation free. In the name of trade union movement, we should not confine ourselves only to economic demands. It would be tantamount to axing our own feet if we compromise with any kind of opportunism, malpractice and corruption. Our prime task at the moment is to sharpen the class consciousness of the working people, which is possible only through relentless political struggles. Though we are in office in Tripura, we should not forget that 47 per cent of the populace is still in the opposite camp. On class view, most of them are our friends. They are victims of illusion with cosmetic slogans of the opposition parties. They must be won over, Sarkar asserted.
Forty one delegates participated in the discussion on the political organisational report. The delegates stressed more upon creating pressure through workers’ movements rather than persuading the administration on certain issues. They pinpointed some organisational drawbacks that should be mended immediately. They raised the problems of working women and of migrant workers working in various sectors of the state after coming from Bihar and UP, of transport and tea plantation workers etc, the problems of workers engaged in construction, jewellery, tailoring, sweetshops, brick kiln, carpentry, sandal stick, handicrafts and so on. They also mentioned the non-cooperation of a section of the labour department in dispute negotiations with owners. They suggested conducting a social movement against domestic violence against and murder of women. They highlighted the need of a drive against degradation of social and moral values and of creating an alternative cultural atmosphere in favour of collective welfare and against narrow selfishness.
In replying to the discussion, Piyush Nag thanked the participants for their constructive and rich presentation and assured the conference about taking corrective measures to remove the weaknesses pointed out by the delegates. Manik Dey and Tapan Chakraborty, the CITU’s state president and vice president respectively, also dwelt on the deliberation of the delegates.
The conference adopted eight resolutions on issues like price hikes, food security bill, ruling class attacks on trade union rights, semi-fascist attacks on the democratic people in West Bengal, tortures on women, building up a movement against the anti-people policies of the UPA government, improvement of rail and road connectivity in the state etc.
Out of 537 delegates including 71 state committee members and six observers who participated in the conference, 137 (25 per cent) were women. While Indubala Bala Das (81) was the oldest delegate, Shyamla Chakma (23) was the youngest one.
In the last session of the conference on September 3, the outgoing secretary Piyush Nag moved a proposal for three-tier committee formation, and indicating the strength at each tier. This was passed in the house unanimously. Thereafter the conference elected 96 members of the CITU state council (five more to be coopted later) and 50 members of the working committee with one to be coopted later. The new team will have 21 officer bearers. In its first working committee meeting, Manik Dey and Sankar Prasad Datta were elected president and general secretary of the state CITU amid high applauses. The working committee also elected nine vice presidents and eight secretaries. On behalf of the presidium, Tapan Chakraborty thanked all comrades who helped in the successful conduct of the conference and declared the conclusion of the conference.