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Monday, 17 February 2014 14:56


The interim budget, presented by the Finance Minister Chidambaram today, is a political gimmick to camouflage its continued thrust of pro-corporate economic regime and anti-people bias.

In the run up to the forthcoming general elections, the Finance Minister seeks to project so called “aam admi” orientation by comparing the present expenditures/allocations on health, education and other developmental heads with the figures of ten-years back. By doing so the FM seeks to cleverly hide the truth that in the successive budgets of UPA-II Govt, the budgetary pro-people allocations were not deliberately spent aiming to contain the fiscal deficit. Even in the current year (2013-14), central plan outlay on rural development head has been cut drastically by Rs 5792 crore; in irrigation and flood control by Rs. 800 crore; in transport by Rs 24,359 crore; social services by Rs 28,640 crore and industry & minerals by Rs 11,843 crore; and also the central plan outlay was cut for the Health & Family Welfare Ministry Rs 7000 crore, Education (Human Resource) Ministry by Rs 4000 crore and Social Justice & Empowerment Ministry by Rs 1000 crore. Over all cut in central plan outlay was Rs 66,000 crore only to contain fiscal deficit to 4.6% and claiming credit for stabilizing the economy! All these expenditure would have contributed to income and employment generation to common people.

How the Govt, which is so focused on containing fiscal deficit could continue to allow pilferage in national exchequer by keeping due corporate tax and income tax from the corporate-big business lobby unrecovered? The tax-dues is to the tune of Rs 5.10 lakh crore as in December 2013. These dues are over and above the tax concessions granted to them on “revenue-foregone” account of around Rs 2.8 lakh crore only on account of corporate and income tax. The Govt laments on fiscal deficit only squeeze expenditure on peoples’ welfare.

The interim budget contains nothing on relief to the working people who generates GDP for the country and revenue for the national exchequer keeping the national economy afloat. The written statement of the Prime Minister in the 45th Session of the Indian Labour Conference that the demands of the trade unions were “unexceptionable” and the demands like universal coverage of social security benefits and national minimum wage “are in advance stages of consideration”, found no reflection in the budget reducing the prime minister’s statement to mere sound-bites. Despite assurances on different occasions no relief has been announced for the scheme workers who are not even getting minimum wages.

The budget’s major focus remains on further concessions to corporate and big-business lobby, both domestic and foreign, through tax concessions on the plea of promoting investment. Investment can expand only with expansion of market through increasing purchasing power of people. But, market can no way be expanded by squeezing developmental and welfare expenditures with ongoing gloom and widening poverty, further burdened by increasing food inflation. It was rather necessary to contain non-essential imports by raising import duty to contain current account deficit and also to boost the domestic industries. But Budget refused to take a call.

The UPA-II Govt ‘s blind approach to run the economy only by pampering corporates, both domestic and foreign, is bound to aggravate the gloom and crisis further. This is clear from the very fact that despite sizable growth in agricultural GDP by 4.6%, over all GDP cannot be estimated beyond 4.8 as the non-agricultural sector is in the midst of stagnation heading for decline. Complete reversal of the present economic policy regime is the only way if the country and the people are to advance.

CITU denounces the anti-people interim budget of the UPA-II Govt and calls upon the working people to heighten their struggle for reversal of the anti-people policy regime.

17th February 2014

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions congratulates 10 lakh employees and officers of country's banking sector for their historic two days strike action on 10-11 February 2014 led by the all in united platform of employees and officers-the United Forum of Bank Unions. The main demands of the bank employees and officers had been negotiated settlement on wage revision which has fallen overdue. The Bank employees also demanded to put a stop in mass scale outsourcing of banking services along with hectic deregulation of the banking sector much to the detriment of the interests of the national economy. The UFBU had once deferred the strike dates, demonstrating their eagerness for a negotiated and respectable settlement. But arrogance of the Finance Ministry as well as bank management compelled the employees and officers to go in for countrywide two days strike and the strike was almost total on both the days throughout the country reflecting the firm resolve of the bank employees and officers and their unions to fight to the last for legitimate rights of the employees as well as in defence of the state-owned banking sector of the economy.

CITU resolves to continue all out support to the united struggles of the bank employees and officers while hailing them for the two days historic strike action on 10-11 February 2014. The CITU also congratulates the Central Govt employees for their successful countrywide strike action on 12-13 February 2014 to press for their demands pertaining to scrapping of the anti-employee newpension scheme, immediate action on merger of DA with basic pay, announcement of interim relief, regularization of the gramin-dak-sevaks and filling of the huge number of vacancies in the central' government offices etc. The two days strike was called by the Confederation of Central Govt Employees and Workers and other organizations which has been responded magnificently by the central government employees enmasse throughout the country.

There are about 64 main departments of thecentral government establishments spread over 22 states and union territories employing around 14 lakh employees. By the end of the second day, the strike was almost total in 8 states, 90 per cent in 6 states, above 70 per cent in 6 states and around 40 to 60 per cent in 2 states. Such a massive strike action demonstrated the determination of the mass of the central govt employees to defend their legitimate rights and also fight against the trend of mass scale contractorisation and casualisation of jobs keeping several lakhs of vacancies in the central govt establishments unfilled. CITU reiterates its continued support to the struggle of central govt employees while again commending them for their heroic countrywide two days strike action. CITU demands upon the Govt of India to take note of the massive resentment among the workers and employees in both banks and central govt establishments and promptly act in addressing legitimate demands of the bank and central govt employees while reversing their retro e policies on both the sectors.

General Secretary

13 February 2014

Hundreds of mid day meal workers under the banner of The All India Co ordination committee of Mid Day Meal Workers (CITU) organized a March to Parliament on today, 13 February 2014. More thatn two thousand Mid day meal workers from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan UP and Uttarakhand participated in the programme.

Nearly 26 lakhs workers, mostly women belonging to backward sections of society are employed in the Mid Day Meal Programme of the government of India, which provides nutritious food to the crores of school going children in our country. These midday meal workers who work at least 6-8 hours every day are neither recognised as workers nor paid any wage. They are paid a pittance of Rs 1000 a month and that too only for ten months in a year. They are not provided any social security.

The 45th Indian Labour Conference held in May 2013 recommended that the Mid Day Meal Workers be recognized as workers, paid minimum wages and social security including pension. The HRD Ministry had assured the 45th ILC that the remuneration of the Mid Day Meal Workers will be enhanced in 2013-14. But this has not been implemented so far.

The main demands were,
· Implement the 45th ILC recommendation

· Immediate increase in remuneration upto minimum wages

· Payment for all 12 months, through zero balance bank account

· 180 days paid maternity wages

· Stop privatisation of the MDMS by handing over to corporate NGOs

Ensure safety of Mid Day Meal Workers and provide medical insurance. Mid Day Meal Workers must be covered under Janshree Beema Yojna

The March was inaugurated by Com. Tapan Sen MP (General Secretary, CITU) at Jantar Mantar. He called upon the mid day meal workers to carry on the struggles to keep the issues on the agenda of the nation and the political parties.

The Presidium consisted of Satvir Singh(Haryana), Chabi Ram(HP), Manzubhai Kothwal (Maharashtra), Radha Sarangi (Odisha), Charanjeet Kaur (Punjab), Sumitra Chopra (Rajasthan) and Karuna(UP) and Reshmi Bisht (Uttarakhand).

Sitaram Yechury MP and Basudev Acharya MP leaders of CPI(M) assured the gathering that the struggle inside the parliament by the left parties will echo the struggle outside the parliament by the working class.

Those who addressed the gathering include K Hemalata, Secretary CITU, Ranajana Nirula, Convener, ASHA Workers Coordination Committee and Treasurer CITU, Maimorrna Mollah, AIDWA, Avoy Mukherjee, General Secretary DYFI, V Sivadasan, President SFI, Wazir Singh, Vice President STFI.

Mid Day Meal Union leaders Saroj(Haryana), Jagat Ram(HP), Malini Meshta (Karnataka) Nagargojhe Prabhakar (Maharashtra), Isani Sarangi (Odisha), Harpal Kaur (Punjab), Manju Gaur (Rajasthan) and Rampyar Yadav(UP) addressed the gathering.

A R Sindhu, convener AICCMDMW (CITU) concluded the meeting. It is decided that the AICCMDMW (CITU) will launch struggles if the government is not increasing the wages with effect from April 2013 and continue the struggles for regularisation and minimum wages and pension.

Issued by
A R Sindhu
Convener, AICCMDMW (CITU), Secretary, CITU

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 19:03

The New Year and the Struggles Ahead

The year 2013 has faded into history and it is the new dawn now!

For the working people of India, the year 2013 was a year of mass actions and struggles. The year began with the countrywide preparation for the historic 48 hour strike on 20th and 21st February. The strike, at the call of all the eleven central trade unions and national federations of various sections of employees and workers, was historic in its sweep and participation. More than 12 crore workers from almost all sectors of manufacturing, service etc. covering organized, unorganized and self employed sections participated in the massive strike action.

However, the approach and attitude of the Government at the center continued to remain the same as during the last 4 years of joint movement of all the central trade unions. But we all remember that there was a small difference. On the eve of the strike, exactly 28 hours before the commencement of the strike, a Group of Ministers, constituted by the Prime Minister had called the central T.U. leaders for a discussion!

The whole year has gone, without even a meaningful discussion on the Ten point Charter of Demands. These demands are the basic demands of the crores and crores of ordinary masses of the country. This was acknowledged even by the Prime Minister of the country. Dr. Manmohan Singh, while inaugurating the 45th Indian Labour Conference on 17th May 2013 said – “The recent two-day strike by trade unions focused on a number of issues relating to the welfare not only of the working class but also the people at large. These include demands on which there can be no disagreement. For example, demands for concrete measures for containing inflation, for generation of employment opportunities, for strict implementation of Labour Laws, are unexceptionable”. He also said “there can however be differences on the best ways of fulfilling these demands and we are willing to engage constructively with the trade unions in this regard”!

Before acknowledging the justness of the demands, PM had also claimed “our Government has paid very serious attention to the issues that Trade Unions have raised time to time”!

We need not go into further details. What has been the result of `constructive engagement’, and `serious attention’ of the Government on these `unexceptionable demands’ is well known.

On 22nd May, the Group of Ministers had asked for a month’s time for constructive discussion and we are still counting the days.

For a proper response

It was this attitude that forced the Central Trade Unions to continue the struggle and that phase has concluded with the massive March to Parliament on 12th December. The participation in the `March’ for exceeded the previous rally on 23rd February 2011. The anger among the workers was fully reflected in the rallies and court arrest programmes in September and the campaigns afterwards.

The year 2013 also witnessed militant and massive struggles of various sections of workers – men and women – on basic issues of livelihood. There was not any section of workers, who have not been in struggle during the year – strikes, demonstrations, rallies – at the work spot level, local, state and national level as well.

There were innumerable struggles of working women also, during the year. Anganwadi workers and helpers, ASHA workers, Midday Meal workers, Artisans and traditional workers, plantation and beedi workers, women in the service and financial sectors, government employees etc have all been on the streets. They not only conducted militant struggles at the state and national level on their own demands but have been a significant part of all the CITU and joint trade union actions.

These struggles created an impetus for the united movement as well.

It was this anger and protest against the callous attitude of the Government on the issues confronting the workers, that brought the lakhs of men and women to the capital, braving the most unpleasant weather conditions and arduous travel from different corners of the country. In addition, lakhs of workers participated in the district level rallies in various states on the same day.

The delegation of central T.U. leaders which met the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister, was not given any concrete assurance on the demands of the workers. But the unions told the Government, rather, gave a stern warning that – “the trade union movement cannot accept the present state of inaction and indifference on the pressing demands of the workers and people lying down and will heighten their united struggle in the face of continuing unresponsiveness”.

Now, it is for the unresponsive government to act. Otherwise the working people all over the country will have to give a fitting response to the ruling class.

Already, the people all over the country up in arms against the Government. In the recent state assembly elections, the main ruling party at the center, the Congress, has been punished by the people.

But the working people will have to be vigilant. The high decibel campaign let loose by the corporates, both Indian and Multinational, to project the leader of the highly divisive communal party, BJP, as the alternative has to be met with a people oriented campaign putting forward a set of alternate policies. The real character of the corporate led campaign has to be thoroughly exposed.

Our tasks ahead

The task in the New Year, which is going to be the year of General Elections, has to be this patriotic responsibility of mobilizing people for upholding pro-people policies. Along with the issue of economic policies, we have to mobilize people to safeguard the secular fabric of the country which is being challenged by various communal forces.

In addition to these, for members of CITU, the coming year has to be the year when we have to make all out efforts to fulfill the tasks finalized by our 14th All India Conference.

It is not necessary to go into those issues again. But, the tasks of increasing our membership, streamlining organizational activities at various levels of our organization, taking up issues of social oppression etc. have to be the priorities in the New Year.

Struggles on issues of unemployment, increasing disparities, denial of democratic rights and attacks on the livelihood of working people are finding more and more support all over the world. The machinations of the imperialists are increasing and at the same time they are under pressure from various sections.

The New Year will witness more and more struggles and it is for the working people of the country to be well prepared for that.

For the millions of members of CITU, it is time to be prepared to be in the forefront of all these struggles and to channelise them towards a massive peoples movement, by “Reaching the unreached” and “Intensifying class struggle for a change in the system!”

Employees Provident Fund related Employees Pension Scheme, being implemented from 1995, is being amended to ensure a minimum Pension of Rs.1000/- and also to increase the eligibility wage ceiling to Rs.15,000 per month from the existing Rs.6500.

The decision on this was taken in a urgently called meeting of the Central Board of Trustees on 5th February.

All the Trade Union representatives in the CBT welcomed the much delayed amendments, but raised various points regarding the Pension Scheme and also on other proposals placed in the meeting. CITU’s representative in CBT, A.K. Padmanabhan attended the meeting.

It has been a long pending demand of Trade Unions to raise the minimum pension and also other amendments to the Scheme. The issue of minimum pension of Rs.1000 was one of the 10 points on which the United Trade Union movement has been agitating and had conducted countrywide strikes. EPS Pensioners organizations have also been conducting various struggles.

This long pending issue, was studied by an expert committee in 2010, and was discussed by CBT. In the year 2012, the issue was referred to the Cabinet and was pending there for the last two years.

From the beginning

The history of struggle against the EPS 1995, dates back to its origin. The working people in the country, especially those who did not have any kind of pension scheme, have been demanding pension as a third benefit in addition to gratuity and Provident Fund. Instead of finding a solution to that Govt. hit upon the idea of this Employees Pension Scheme, which was compulsorily implemented.

Studying the Scheme in depth CITU has pointed out many problems and demanded overhauling the scheme to ensure benefits to workers. But, the Government put forth many dubious arguments and even Supreme Court accepted those arguments to `prove’ that the Scheme was beneficial to workers. CITU had also conducted a countrywide one day strike on this issue.

When years passed away, the points raised by the unions against the Scheme were found to be genuine. Paltry amounts of `pension’ roused anger among workers. Even now, 2.92 lakhs of pensioners are getting less than Rs.250 per month. Actually the amount now being received varies from Rs. 2 upwards.

More than 27 lakhs of pensioners are getting less than Rs.1000 per month.

In between, in the year 2008, certain important benefits like commutation of one third of pension for 100 months as lump sum and also clause on `return of capital’ were unilaterally withdrawn. These two benefits were the main points through which the Supreme Court was convinced in the case against the compulsory pension scheme.

Finance Ministry’s Demands

The present amendments on minimum pension and increase in ceiling was approved by the Finance Ministry on 21st January. According to the note of Finance Ministry circulated in CBT, the above said proposals for amendments are interlinked and are part of comprehensive proposals.

The following are the major proposals, which were also discussed in the CBT.

  • The proposal for ensuring minimum pension is only for a year (2014-15) and will be implemented from 1st April 2014. To enable the increase a budgetary allocation of Rs.1217.03 crores will be made.
  • Trade Union representative in CBT, protested against the `One year only’ proposal. Even the Labour Dept. felt that the Scheme cannot be amended for one year only. They also pointed out that `once modifications are introduced it would not be possible to roll then back’.
  • Finally, the Labour Minister, Shri Oscar Fernandez agreed that he will ensure that the increased pension not be curtailed after one year.
  • Many of the other proposals of Finance Ministry were such that the workers interests will be affected. CITU and other T.U. representatives emphatically stated that existing benefits should not be curtailed or reduced.
  • The calculation of Pensionable salary is now the average of the last 12 months wages. Proposal was to change this to the average of last 60 months wages. This will surely reduce the pensionable salary and also pension amount.
  • Govt. of India contributes 1.16% of the wages towards EPS. When the wage ceiling is being increased. Govt. wants to limit this contribution. Suggestions are that those who are above wage ceiling and voluntarily contributes to EPF will not be given this 1.16% and the workers themselves to be asked to pay the 1.16% from their contribution. Other suggestions include limit 1.16% upto Rs.15,000 even for those who are members of EPS from a lower wage level.
  • Trade Unions wanted all the existing practices in the case of ceiling of 6500 to continue, when ceiling is raised to 15,000.
  • Now, the members who have not rendered eligible service for pension at the time of their exit are entitled to a lumpsum withdrawal benefit. Finance Ministry wanted the deletion of the option for withdrawal.
  • The worker representatives protested and even the Labour Ministry said that it “would not be justifiable, given the fact that the government at present can not guarantee continuity of service or alternative job/work for any member who lose his employment”.
  • Another suggestion was to increase the age limit for Pension to 60 from 58. T.U. representatives made it clear that this can not be accepted unless the superannuation of workers are increased to 60, which in many industrial establishments is 58.
  • Another proposal is to increase the reduction rate which is 4% per year to 6%. This rate was earlier 6%, which was reduced to 3% and then increased to 4% in 2008. Reduction rate is applicable when pensioners get “early pension”.
  • This will also lead to reduction of existing benefits.
  • Finance Ministry wanted to change the existing investment pattern of corpus in EPS. Trade Unions had earlier rejected the proposals to investment funds in share market. Once again this was rejected by T.U. representatives and it was insisted that investment guidelines should be decided only by CBT.
  • The proposal for fixation of pension after changes in ceiling is that from 1st April 2014, pro-rate pension will be calculated, instead of calculating total pension on the basis of wages at the time of retirement.

There is also a proposal to add a proviso that “Central Govt. may make such rules as it may deem necessary for increasing, decreasing, continuing or discontinuing such subsidy or part there of in respect of all or any category of family pensioners”.

CITU objected to this vehemently as unilateral decision by Govt. will only result in negating benefits. Labour Minister was justifying the proposal of Govt.

On Commutation

CITU’s representative took up the issue of continued exploitation of those pensioners who are getting commuted pension even after the period of 100 months, for which they had commuted their pension. CITU has been demanding restoration of the original pension after the amount is recovered.

Employers Demand

Employers representatives said that they are against increasing wage ceiling to 15,000 in one stretch. They wanted it to be raised only to Rs.10,000 now and to 15,000 at a later stage. They had also raised that the small and medium enterprises will be affected due to increased expenses. All these points were sufficiently refuted by T.U. representatives.

Though the issue of Minimum pension is accepted by Govt., what they will finally do with other proposals will be known only when the Govt. finalizes the notification on this.

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Trade Unions will have to be prepared to see that no existing benefit is curtailed. Our struggle for implementation of the long pending demands of increase in Pension to all Pensioners, linking pension to Cost of Living Index, Restoration of Commutation of Pension and Return of Capital benefits have to be taken up effectively.

National Secretariat of the CITU, meeting in Delhi on 31st January and 1st February has called upon all its affiliates to conduct countrywide campaigns and agitations on two important issues confronting large number of workers in the country.

The meeting took note of the fact that despite being discussed in the highest level tripartite meetings and consensus based decisions being taken, the Govt. of India has not been refusing to take steps to control the increasing exploitation of workers under the ever growing contractor system. It is also a fact that Public Sector as well as Private Sector are equally responsible for this cruel system of exploitation.

While the Labour Department of Govt. of India had accepted the necessity of amending the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, the governmental machinery has been inactive in taking steps towards implementation of that decision.

Struggles are being conducted in various sectors in different parts of the country by the Contractor Workers. More than 50 to 60 percent of the workers in the organized sector in the country are now under Contractor system, without getting proper wage and also without various statutory benefits.

CITU Secretariat has decided to conduct a weeklong intensive campaign from 15 to 21st February which will converge in statewide demonstration/rallies and mobilizations on 20th or 21st February.
On Scheme Workers

45th Indian Labour Conference in May 2013, had reached a consensus on the demands of more than 1 crore of workers in various schemes of the Govt. of India. In Schemes of various states also such workers are there in large numbers.

Govt. has refused to take follow up actions on the decisions which are for recognizing them as workers, fixation of minimum wages, pension and other Social Security Benefits to all the Scheme Workers.

A weeklong intensive campaign from 10th to 17th February will be conducted through demonstrations and rallies in all States.

In the meanwhile Mid Day Meal Workers will organize a massive demonstration before the Parliament on 13th February, protesting against non implementation of the assurance to increase their wages. Workers from the nearby states will be participating in this demonstration.
On March 8

CITU Secretariat has called upon all the State Committees, Federations and Unions to observe 8th March – the International Women’s Day. CITU has decided to focus on three major issues – ensure equality in all aspects for all working women, ensure safety for all working women and effective measures to curb all kinds of violence against women, pass the women’s reservation Bill immediately.

These issues are to be highlighted among both men and women workers during the observance of the Day.

Greetings to Tamil Nadu Committee

CITU Secretariat greeted and congratulated its Tamil Nadu State Committee for the State wide campaign on the struggle of Maruti Workers and for collecting Solidarity Funds for the workers in the Manesar Plant of Maruti. 147 workers are in Jail for more than 18 months and thousands have been thrown out of job in that plant.

In a function organized by Gurgaon CITU, on 30th January, A. Soundera Rajan, President of Tamilnadu State Committee had handed over Rupees Five lakhs to the Maruti Workers Union. Tapen Sen, General Secretary CITU and leaders of Haryana State CITU were present.

Tamil Nadu CITU has also contributed Rs. 50 thousand to the Haryana State Committee for their struggle fund.

CITU has called upon its committees to emulate Tamil Nadu State Committee in strengthening the Solidarity activities.

Workshop on Working Women

A national workshop on working women was organized by CITU on 29th and 30th January. Attended by members of the All India Working Women’s Co-ordination Committee (CITU) and also the President/General Secretary of the CITU State Committees, the workshop decided on organizational activities among working women. This workshop was a follow up to the decisions of the All India Conference of CITU in April 2013 and the All India Convention of working women in Puri in October 2013.

Secretariat called upon all the State Committees to take necessary organizational decisions to implement the workshop’s recommendations.
On Political Campaigns and Solidarity

Secretariat held discussions on the political situation in the country. It condemned the continuing attacks on the democratic movement in West Bengal by the Goons of the ruling party in the State. Secretariat decided to continue the campaign and struggles upholding the alternate policies to the neo-liberal policies of the ruling classes.

CITU Secretariat welcomed the decisions of Untied Forum of Bank Union (UFBU) to go for a 48 hours of strike on 10th and 11th February and also the 2 day country wide strike of the Central Govt. employees on 12th and 13th of February. This strike has been called by the Confederation of Central Govt. Employees and Workers. CITU also expressed solidarity with the struggle of Defence Production Workers and the indefinite strike from 17th February called by the three national federations. CITU called for solidarity actions for these struggles.

CITU Secretariat, prior to taking up other agendas paid homage to leaders of CITU and other democratic organizations, Kali Ghosh, Mrinal Das, Soumen Kundu, Daulat Ram, Shyamali Gupta, Suman Sazgiri, Shanti Shekhar Basu, Abdul Kareem Mia(Assam), Suresh (Plantation Federation), T.S. Rajan (Telecom) who had passed away recently. Meeting also paid homage to Nelson Mandela and Pete Seeger.

CITU Secretariat paid homage to the SFI leader Saifuddin Mollah killed by TMC goons and to other Martyrs and victims of brutality in West Bengal.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014 18:51

8th March and our tasks

It is hundred and four years since the International Women’s Day is being observed all over the world. The day, which used to be the day of working women, has now become International Women’s day, focusing on the demands of women as a whole.

It is also to be noted that, as on other occasions nowadays, this day of struggle is being commercially exploited by vested interests. This, at the same time, is also utilised to divert the attention from the realities – the class exploitation and oppression being perpetrated against women.

The call for the observance of the day internationally had come from Clara Zetkin, a well known Socialist leader from Germany. It was aimed at focusing the contributions of women and also as an occasion to press the demands of women. It was sought to be an opportunity for women workers and other women to strengthen the struggle against the exploitative system in existence and to move towards a progressive, socialist society!

It is to be noted that initially March 19 was decided as the date for holding the first International Women’s Day. This day was chosen as it was on this day in 1848 that intense working class struggles broke out in Prussia forcing the King to agree in principle, to universal suffrageWomen’s Day on 19th March 2011 received tremendous response from women in several countries in Europe. The day was observed demanding `women’s right to work, to equal wages, to vote, to hold public office and to end other forms of discrimination. In 1913, the observation of International Women’s Day was shifted to March 8, the day when women garment workers in New York went on strike in 1857.

It is interesting that the Russian Revolution too started off with huge demonstrations on International Women’s Day on 1917 with thousands of working class women marching in the cold snow covered streets of St Petersburg demanding bread for their hungry children and the return of their men from the War.

If we look into the demands raised on the occasion of International Women’s Day in 1911 and the demands being raised by women today, we can see that the situation has not changed much. Even more than a hundred years later, in 2014, the demands are almost the same as in 1911.

CITU and Women Workers

CITU can be proud of the fact that it was the first among the central trade unions, to organise a national level Working Women’s Convention in April 1979 and to form an All India Co-ordination Committee of Working Women (AICCWW). This sub-committee of CITU was formed, fully understanding the necessity of taking a new initiative to correct the imbalance in the trade union movement and also rectify many prejudices that existed.

Explaining the background of formation of AICCWW, founder President of CITU, Com. B.T. Ranadive said – ‘The CITU had to take the decision to call a special conference because it was found that the grievances of working women were unattended; the government was indifferent; the employers were hostile; and even the trade unions were not very enthusiastic about their demands. In the so many strikes that the working class fought there were very few instances when the special demands of the working women were given prominence.

It was also found that women, even in industries and occupations where they formed a sizeable section were hardly represented in the leading bodies of the union.

This state of affairs was partly due to the disabilities, which women suffer from in a society like the Indian society. The inferior status assigned to women in both Hindu & Muslim communities is known to all. That discrimination doggedly pursues the working women and it is the elementary duty of the trade unions to fight against it. We cannot say that our workers and some of our trade union leaders are free from this discriminatory outlook towards women.’ (Presidential Address – 4th All India Conference of CITU)

It is gratifying now to find that many of the Central Trade Unions in the country and also various independent national federations have formed working women’s committees. Various problems of working women at their place of work and other issues have come to the fore during this period.

Another achievement during this period has been unionisation of large number of women workers in various sectors – unorganised, organised and large chunk of exploited working women in various schemes of the central and state governments. Militant struggles have been conducted by these women workers who were able to snatch some gains from the unwilling hands of the government and employers.

Miles to go

CITU is also proud of the fact it could mobilise lakhs of women workers under its banner, conduct struggles and develop a good number of women workers as active cadres and leaders of the organisation.

But, CITU is also aware the limitations of the gains achieved and that is has miles and miles to go to achieve its aims and objectives outlined on various occasions from 1979.

The 14th All India Conference in April 2013 and the 10th All India Convention of AICCW in September - October 2013 critically analysed the achievements and also the tasks ahead. Several short comings that need to be overcome urgently have been noted.

On the whole, the involvement and the guiding role of CITU committees at various levels need further strengthening. Issues of working women need to be on the top of the agendas for unions and federations in which there are women workers in considerable numbers.

It was with this aim a national workshop involving central and state leaderships of CITU and the members of AICCWW was held a few days ahead of the International Women’s Day, where serious discussions were held and decisions taken as called upon by the All India Conference of CITU.
CITU expects that these decisions will pave the way for strengthening the women workers initiatives, their improved involvement in trade union activities and moving further up on the ladder to leadership positions in the unions and committees.

AICCWW will also be working with working women’s sub-committees of fraternal organisations in strengthening the class oriented functioning among women workers.
8th March 2014

CITU has called upon all its affiliates to organise meetings, demonstrations, dharnas, deputations etc on the occasion of International Women’s Day this year, focusing on some important demands. It has called upon all its committees and affiliated unions to ensure that these observations involve both men and women in large numbers. The issues being raised can not be considered as women’s issues alone and unless these are not addressed, the entire society and working class in particular will continue to suffer.

Equality in all aspects

One of the issues to be focused is equality in all aspects. This issue is not confined to equal wages for equal work, though it is a very important demand of women workers. Equal status to women is today being denied in every aspect of life. Discrimination begins from the birth of a girl child and goes on in education, employment, wages, promotion opportunities, social life and in the political sphere.

As far as wages are concerned a recent study on Gender Pay Gap in formal sector 2006-13 gives an idea about the Indian situation. “According to the report the gender gap in India in 2013 increased with age, higher education and qualifications. Women with education of below 10th class earned 9.37% less than men while women with professional qualification like CA/CS/ICWA or equivalent earn 44.25% less than men! Women with work experience of 16 to 30 years earned 24.96% less than men whereas women with work experience of 31 years or more earned 78.23% less than men!”

If this is the situation in the formal sector, the situation in informal sector is worse. “According to the data provided by the Labour Bureau in April 2013, the gap between the wages of men and women in some activities has widened in the last decade. The data show that while men were paid Rs.212 a day for ploughing women were paid Rs.123; for sowing men were paid Rs.185 and women Rs.148; for harvesting the wages were Rs.179 for men and Rs.149 for women. The wages paid for well digging for men were Rs.254 whereas they were a mere Rs.145 for women. In case of unskilled non agricultural work the wages were Rs.179 for men and Rs.135 for women.” (Documents of 10th Convention of AICCWW)

It is very important that the trade unions take up these issues very seriously and ensure equality in all aspects of life.

Violence and Safety

There has been a horrendous increase in violence against women. Shocking incidents of violence are reported almost every hour from different parts of the country.
The report adopted in the 10th convention of AICCWW noted “one third of all women are reported to be victims of sexual or physical violence. 38% female murder victims are killed by intimate partners. Every three minutes, a crime is committed against a woman; every nine minutes, a woman suffers cruelty from her husband or relative; every twenty-nine minutes, a woman is raped; and every seventy seven minutes, a dowry death takes place in the county. According to the report of the National Crime Records Bureau released in 2013 there was 902% increase in cases of rape between 1971 and 2012. In 2010, the number of rapes, molestations, harassment and abductions of women in India, was more than 2.13 lakhs, i.e. 585 cases every day. This is most certainly only a fraction of the real number, because women often do not report these crimes and prefer to suffer in silence. These shocking statistics mirror the status of women in our country.”

The neo liberal policies of globalisation, and commercialisation and commodification of women aggravate the violence. Added to this general situation is the sexual harassment, which the women workers face not only at the work spots but also during their travel etc.

Though the much delayed legislation on sexual harassment of women at work places has been enacted, there are a several deficiencies in this legislation. These harassments, especially at work places, can be resisted only when the trade union leadership and workers as a whole are sensitised on the necessity of collective intervention. This is where much improvement has to take place.

Reservation in legislatures

CITU is again focusing on the issue of women’s reservation in legislature. The bill which was adopted with much fanfare in Rajya Sabha has not been taken up in the Lok Sabha for `want of consensus’ which is not going to happen. This issue exposes the lack of commitment of the leading political parties in the country. It is a fact that only the Left parties and a few of the regional parties are for enacting this bill and many others do only lip service.

CITU calls up on all the unions to take up these important issues during the campaign and observance of the International Women’s Day this year. CITU also calls upon all its committees and affiliated unions to take up continuous activities for the implementation of the organisational tasks identified by the 14th All India Conference and the 10th All India Convention of Working Women.


The Interim Railway Budget presented by the Union Railway Minister has disappointed the people of our country. The extension of network, modernization of the system, filling up of large number of vacant posts, replacement and rehabilitation of old and worn out plants and machineries and rolling stock, track renewal, all these works suffered. The Operating Ratio increased to 94% by the Railway Ministers has failed to bring back the railway even to earlier position. The policy of economic reforms, the present government is pursuing vigorously, also reflected in the interim budget. The independent Tariff Regulatory Authority is being created which will be the independent freight and fare determining body. The main purpose is to minimise, rather phase out the cross subsidy which is the existing since the inception of railways. Thereby, the burden on common man will be increased. 80% of the passengers who travel in second class sleeper are the poor and the middle-class. If the cross subsidy is phased out, the burden on these sections of the people will be increased enormously. Creation of Freight Regulatory Authority was announced in 2012-13 Railway Budget when Shri Dinesh Trivedi was Railway Minster. Now the freight is linked with the price of fuel. The freight rate is being adjusted with the increase of price of fuel. Last year the freight rate on different commodities was increased a number of times and it had its impact on inflation.

The main thrust has been given on Public Private Partnership (PPP); namely rolling stock manufacturing units, modernization of stations, freight terminal, freight train operation and dedicated freight corridors. The Railways will now depend on private investments, but PPP, as in other areas has not been successful in railways. In addition to PPP, now Government has allowed FDI in Railways and that too in high speed corridor. The foreign investors will not only invest but they will undertake construction and as well as operation of trains in high speed corridor and this has to be restricted.
There were large number of vacancies in Railway and it is estimated to be 2.5 lakhs. There is acute shortage of safety related staff. As a result of this, the maintenance of coaches and locomotives are not done properly. The increase in the investment for the year 2014-15 is about one thousand crores and if we add inflation, there is hardly any increase of investment over the previous year 2013-14. And that is why no new projects has been announced in the budget; namely, new lines, gauge conversion, doubling etc. Thus, there will not be expansion of railway network. The Minister has, perhaps left this to new government. But, he has failed to show on which way the Indian Railways will go in future. The Indian Railways is not only a commercial organization, but it is also a social outlook. But, by allowing PPP in number of activities, by allowing FDI and FII for the first time in railways, the Railways is going to be converted to completely commercial organization. This is most unfortunate for the common people of our country. CITU denounce such retrograde approach.

Issued by,
12th February 2014

This 14th conference of CITU, being held from 4th to 8th April, 2013 at Kannur, condemns the Water Policy, 2012 of the Government of India directing the state governments to realize water charges on ‘production cost’, privatization through PPP route and to establish independent regulatory authority and, thereby, withdrawing from government’s responsibility of providing water for drinking, household use and agricultural use particularly by the toiling sections.

The UDF government in Kerala decided enactment to corporatize this vital service sector by establishing Kerala Drinking Water Supply Company Ltd with majority private shareholding and bringing entire state under its coverage. Similar steps are being taken in other states also like Delhi Jal Board is being privatized beginning in four areas under slogan of 24/7 supply; Maharashtra government doing the same beginning at Nagpur; Karnataka government in Hubli and Dharwar etc.

People have their basic right on this natural resource for protection of their lives and livelihood which must not be allowed to be used by corporates for business and profits.

The conference calls upon the working class of the country to rise in defending the people’s right on this vital natural resource water.

The 14th Conference of CITU, being held on 4-8 April 2013 in Kannur reiterates its commitment to carry forward and strengthen the work among working women that CITU has started nearly 35 years ago.

The conference notes that CITU has made considerable advances in organising working women since 1979 when it organised the first all India convention of working women in Chennai and constituted the All India Coordination Committee of Working Women. The membership of women in CITU which was less than 7% at that time has gone up to 31.96% in 2011. In several states it is more than 50%. Women’s presence in the mobilisation of CITU, in its day to day activities, in the conferences at the state and national level, in the decision making bodies has also increased since then.

While expressing its satisfaction at this progress, this conference also is conscious that many weaknesses that have been repeatedly pointed out by the successive conventions of the All India Coordination Committee of Working Women (CITU) as well as the successive all India conferences of CITU are yet to be overcome.

The general weakness of unions, particularly in industries where both men and women work like plantations, beedi, brick kiln etc, in raising the specific problems of working women like equal wages, maternity benefits and crèches, sexual harassment etc from the union platform and mobilising both men and women on these issues, still continues. In several states, even where women membership is above the national average, resistance to elect women as delegates to conferences and to the decision making bodies continues. This was evident in many of the recently concluded state conferences also.

Our work among working women is not reviewed in the state committees. Proper attention is not paid to identify, train, develop and promote women cadres. No action is taken by the state committees to ensure formation of women’s sub committees in our unions in sectors with considerable women workers and to see that they function effectively. Holding the state conventions and constituting state level coordination committees is observed as a periodic ritual in some states while in some states even this is not done.

This conference reiterates that our work among working women is part of our objective of uniting the entire working class and mobilising it to play its due role in leading the struggle against all exploitation. It firmly believes that overcoming the weaknesses and improving our work among working women will contribute to strengthening the CITU and trade union movement as a whole. The basic weakness lies in the influence of the class divided patriarchal society along with the lack of consciousness on the urgency of organising and activating working women in leading bodies of CITU at all levels. The CITU as a whole has to make conscious and sustained effort to overcome these weaknesses. The convention of All India Coordination Committee of Working Women, which had to be deferred due to unavoidable reasons and will be held shortly, will also discuss these issues in detail and make the necessary recommendations.
This 14th conference of CITU calls upon all the state committees of CITU, its industrial federations and affiliated units to rededicate to the task of strengthening the work among working women by –

 Discussing our work among working women as a specific agenda in the first state committee meeting immediately after this national conference

 Identifying the affiliated unions in sectors with considerable number of women workers and constitute women’s sub committees, make them functional and take up women’s specific issues from the union platform

 Allot a state office bearer of CITU to monitor the effective implementation of the above at all levels of the organisation

 Organise separate trade union classes for working women activists and develop them to take up more responsibilities in CITU and its affiliated unions

 Pay special attention to recruit women full timers

The Conference resolves to convene a national workshop with the participation of the president/ general secretary of all the state committees of CITU, after the national convention of All India Coordination Committee of Working Women to chalk out further concrete measures to strengthen our work among working women.

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