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In the background of the increasing aggression by the US Government and its allies to destabilise the democratically elected government in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Indian affiliates of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) organized a “Workers’ Convention in Solidarity with the people of Venezuela, Against the Imperialist Aggression” on 19 March 2019 at CITU Office, BTR Bhawan, New Delhi. The convention organized at the call of WFTU, was attended by nearly two hundred people from CITU, AITUC, AIUTUC, AICCTU, UTUC, TUCC and other WFTU affiliates AISGEF, BSNLEU, CCGEW, AIIEA and BEFI.
The Convention was jointly presided over by a Presidium composed of Swadesh Dev Roye(CITU), Deputy General Secretary, WFTU, B V Vijayalakshmi(AITUC), Santosh Roy(AICCTU) and M Chaurasia(AIUTUC).
The Convention was addressed by Amarjeet Kaur, General Secretary, AITUC, Tapan Sen, General Secretary, CITU, Rajeev Dimri, General Secretary, AICCTU and R K Sharma, AIUTUC. Tapan Sen said that it is the same neoliberal policies under the imperialist forces which make the life of the working class of our country miserable that is directly attacking the sovereignty of Venezuela and making the life of the people unbearable. So it is all the more important for the Working class of India while intensifying its struggle to change the policies, to come out on the streets in solidarity action with Venezuelan people.

The convention adopted a Resolution expressing the solidarity of the working class of India with the people of Venezuela. The convention denounced the attitude of the Modi Government deviating from India’s most popular foreign policy, refusing to come out categorically in defence of Venezuela’s sovereignty and the right of its own people to decide their political leadership. Further, India’s own national interest in bringing oil from Venezuela is coming under severe strain due to US sanctions.

The convention demanded the government of India must reiterate its long cherished policy of long standing friendship and mutual co-operation with the Venezuelan people, and not to succumb to the pressure of Donald Trump’s calls against Venezuela.
Convention appealed to the Indian working class and the patriotic people of the country to mobilize mass of the people in support of the people of Venezuela.

A delegation of WFTU affiliates will meet the newly appointed Ambassador of Venezuela Ms. Coromoto Godoy on 22nd March 2019.

19 March 2019, BTR Bhawan, New Delhi

Resolution

We, the class oriented trade unions in India affiliated to the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) representing the overwhelming multitudes of the Indian Working Class in this convention held on 19 March 2019, at BTR Bhawan, New Delhi, firmly and unequivocally

 Condemn US-led imperialist aggression in the internal matter of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela scuttling the sovereign rights of the people of Venezuela, continuing its criminal tradition of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries

 Declare that the planned campaign and action by the US and its allies against the democratically elected Maduro government, creating dual power in the country is totally against the ‘Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations’. It is not only illegitimate, uncalled for and undemocratic but also the part of a strategy of creating a situation of civil war endangering the sovereignty of Venezuela to pursue the imperialist economic interests.

 Recall that USA in 2002 also tried a coup against the mass leader Hugo Chavez and continued to impose inhuman economic sanctions.

 Condemn the acts of USA freezing $7 billion of Venezuelan state oil company’s (PDVSA) assets and giving access to the Venezuelan state assets to the UK, blocking the legitimately elected Maduro government from withdrawing $ 1.2 billion worth of gold deposited in the Bank of England which are brazen violation of international laws.

 Denounce the attitude of the Modi Government deviating from India’s most popular foreign policy, refusing to come out categorically in defence of Venezuela’s sovereignty and the right of its own people to decide their political leadership. Further, India’s own national interest in bringing oil from Venezuela is coming under severe strain due to US sanctions.

 Demands the government of India must reiterate its long cherished policy of long standing friendship and mutual co-operation with the Venezuelan people, and not to succumb to the pressure of Donald Trump’s calls against Venezuela.

 Firmly believe that the imperialist efforts in Venezuela will be foiled by the people and the working class of Venezuela and congratulate them for bravely fighting the imperialist aggression defending the sovereignty of the country and the democratically elected President Maduro.

 We denounce and condemn the biased and prejudiced coverage by the international and Indian media with misleading stories to support the group rival to the elected Bolivarian Government of Republic of Venezuela. This actually helps the imperialist forces to destabilize the elected governments in various parts of the world, which has been witnessed even in earlier times.

Finally, the Convention appeals to the Indian working class and the patriotic people of the country to mobilize mass of the people in support of the people of Venezuela.


On behalf of Indian Working Class
AITUC | CITU |  AIUTUC |  AICCTU |  TUCC |  UTUC

 

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions extends support and solidarity to the indefinite strike by 2.5 lakh workers of 59 Jute Mills in West Bengal from 1st March 2019. All the major 21 trade unions representing almost the entire jute mill workers have jointly decided to go in for strike to press for nine point demands, mostly relating to implementation of basic labour laws. The unions waited for years together for just implementation of the tripartite agreement of 2015 in the face of rampant violation of the agreement virtually with direct patronage of the state government run by Trinamool Congress(TMC).  The TMC Govt while turning a deaf ear to the complaints of violation of the tripartite agreement of 2015, has been directly patronizing the jute barons in carrying on indiscriminate and unlawful retrenchment /lay-off of workers, mass scale contractorisation while forcing the regular workers out of the Mill with the help of local TMC goons, nonpayment of statutory retirement dues of the retired workers like PF, gratuity, nonpayment of overdue dearness allowance to workers  etc.

In such a situation the jute mill workers and their unions have been compelled to decide for indefinite strike from 1st March 2019 against the loot and exploitation perpetrated on them by the Jute mill owners despite consistently earning high profit.

The jointly formulated charter of demands by 21 trade unions functioning in 59 jute mills of the state are inter alia, 1)Minimum Wage of Rs 18000 per month, 2) Pension at the rate of Rs 6000/- per month on retirement, 3) same wage for same and similar work for the contract and badli workers 3) Dearness Allowance of Rs 2.50 per point, 4) Regularisation of all Badli and special Badli workers, 5) immediate payment of long accumulated statutory  dues of the retired workers on account of PF and Gratuity with a guarantee for non-occurrence of such statutory dues in future, 6) clearance of all dues of the employers on account of ESI resulting denial of ESI benefits to workers, 7) introduction of grade and scale in respect of wages/salary, 8) regularization of all contract workers etc.

Preparation for the indefinite strike in Jute Mills is being carried on jointly by the unions and workers braving all atrocities and repression. CITU, while reiterating its support and solidarity to the struggle of the Jute Mill workers in West Bengal, calls upon the entire trade union movement  irrespective of affiliations and the working class in general to stand by the struggling jute mill workers and organize solidarity programmes in support of the striking workers.

Issued by
( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions denounces the hectic move to hand over six airports of the country mostly in the state capitals cities to chosen private player on the terms which clearly appear to be a big bonanza to the most favoured private corporate-the Adani Group, which incidentally had no exposure to airport or aviation related sector. The airports at Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Trivundrum, Mangalore and Guwahati have been put on fast track privatisation with a target to complete the deal well before election is announced.

All these airports, rather the national assets under sale were developed and modernized  by Airport Authority during the span of last decade spending thousands  of crores of rupees of tax-payers money. Now, the Modi Govt is in a visible haste to hand over these readymade functional as well as profit making airports to the private hands at a time when the Govt’s tenure is coming to end within months.

And for handing over the these readymade modernized airports with huge real estate assets, altogether new modalities have been discovered by the BJP Govt, may be to celebrate its latest pre-election deal with corporates,  which is  quite innovative to ensure a big bonanza to the most favoured private buyer. The private operator will be required to pay the Airport  Authority an amount  ranging from Rs 115/- to Rs 174/- per month per passenger. And there will be no sharing of the huge non-aeronautical commercial revenues out of the real estate and huge commercial space annexed to every airport, which is always much higher than the aeronautical revenues for almost all the airports under sale.

It is reported in the media that post-privatisation of these six airports, Airport Authority will be getting an upfront payment of around Rs 2500 crore within 90 days and thereafter Rs 525 crore annually as concession fee. Can these paltry return to AAI be compared with the total amount AAI has spent towards modernization and development of these six airports. If this comparison is made and also the incremental  prospect of revenue generation from these airports in the background of fast expanding aviation sector is taken into account honestly, then this major pre-election deal by Modi Govt is going to be big bonanza to the favoured private player at the irreparable cost of the national exchequer and national interest too.

CITU opines, as such, there has been no urgency to fast track the privatisation of these six airports so far operational and financial efficiency is concerned. The Airport Authority of India successfully developed and modernized with huge investment by itself almost all the major airports of the country and has been operating this crucial infrastructure quite efficiently, both financial and operational. A private new entrant operator like Adani Group, which have no experience in airport management,  is now being handed over these airports only to benefit the new operators, and not for better airport operation in the least.

CITU vehemently condemns this hasty pre-election deal of handing over country’s six airports to favoured private operators  by the Govt which is nothing but a loot of national assets and infrastructure by private corporate. CITU calls upon the working class in general and the trade union movement in particular to oppose and resist the privatisation of these six airports through countrywide agitation and struggle.

( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

Dear Sir,

I seek to draw your pointed attention to the media report that thousands of crore rupees of EPF funds invested in tradable bonds in IL&FS group have been put on risk of being lost as the group companies are facing near bankruptcy situation and presently in the midst of resolution procedures in National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under section 53 of the Insolvency Bankruptcy  Code Act (IBC).

As per the report, over 50 EPF funds of various companies, both in PSUs and number of private sector giants involving the post retirement savings and benefits under EPF of over 15 lakh employees have been put in such risk following their exposure to IL&FS. And since the tradable bonds of IL&FS in which the EPF funds of such huge dimension has been invested are being considered as unsecured debt of IL&FS and thereby losing priority vis-à-vis debts from the banks and financial institution in the resolution process under IBC, the risk of loss has become more imminent.

Kindly recall, the workers’ representatives in Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of EPFO have been consistently opposing the investment of EPF funds in any speculative tradable instruments, but the Govt of India bulldozed the unanimous opposition of the workers representatives and channelized a part of EPF funds for investment in speculative instruments. Now, you will see the results as the life-times savings in EPF of the concerned workers and employees of the affected establishments, it being pushed to the possibility of imminent loss of even the invested amount itself, not to speak of interests.

I strongly feel, the Govt must draw the appropriate lesson from such happening and review the decision imposed by the Finance Ministry to invest EPF fund up to 15% in speculative trade instruments of all kinds.  Govt must also take the responsibility of protecting the EPF savings of the employees/establishments which have already been pushed to risk of loss owing to their exposure with IL&FS  group along with interest since concerned workers should not be subjected to loss of their savings for no fault of theirs but for wrong unilateral decision of the Govt.  

I would also urge upon you to send us the details of investment exposure of EPF funds with IL&FS bonds both for the funds under CPFC and also  for the exempted establishments entity-wise  so that actual situation can be ascertained and dealt in a transparent manner in the interest of fairness, transparency and propriety. 

Awaiting expeditious response,

With regards
Yours sincerely,
( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

 

To

Shri Santosh Gangware
Minister of Labour & Employment
Govt of India
Sharam Shakti Bhawan
Rafi Marg, New Delhi

 

The united platform of all the unions of employees and officers of BSNL has jointly decided to go in for three days countrywide strike in all BSNL establishments in the country against the blatant violation of the assurance given by the Government of India to sort out the long pending just demands of the employees and officers.

The joint action committee of the employees and officers unions has long been agitating for allotting 4G spectrum to BSNL to strengthen the operation and viability of this strategic public sector telecom company. The Government has been denying unjustly the 4g spectrum to BSNL while liberally allowing the private telecom company to the same facility thereby putting Government’s own company BSNL in extremely disadvantageous position vis-à-vis its competitors in the private sector companies  operating mostly with foreign collaboration. Such retrograde and discriminatory policy of the Govt towards BSNL is detrimental to national interests and BSNL employees are fighting to defend the interests of BSNL as well as the national interests.

It is for this discriminatory and anti-PSU policies of the Central Government  only to benefit the private operators, the BSNL has been put in severe financial difficulties and in a disadvantageous situation  . And on the plea of losses being incurred by BSNL owing to such discriminatory policy of the Government, the employees and officers are being denied their wage revision which has fallen long overdue since 1st January 2017. The employees and officers of BSNL can no way be held responsible for incurring of loss by BSNL, since it is only because of the dedicated services of the BSNL collective, the company has been earning operating profit during last four/five years and huge burden of previous accumulated loss has put the balance sheet of BSNL in loss.  BSNL employees are demanding immediate resumption of meaningful wage negotiation and withdrawal of the embargo on wage revision of the employees and officers imposed by the Government through the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE).

In the face of BSNL employees and officers’ Joint Action Committee preparing for indefinite strike action demanding allotment of 4G spectrum to BSNL and wage revision for the entire workforce, the Ministry of Communication assured for positive consideration on their demands and strike action was deferred. But the BJP Government at the centre, as usual, has not honored the commitment and assurance given to the employees and officers and therefore the united platform of officers and employees of BSNL has been compelled to resume their united struggle in order to defend the BSNL as well as defend the legitimate rights of the employees and officers through three days strike action on 18-20 February 2019 to start with.

United Platform of Central Trade Unions, which met on 12th February 2019 at New Delhi resolved to extend full support to the ongoing struggle of the BSNL employees and officers and demanded upon the Government to see reasons and concede to the just demands of the BSNL collective both on allotment of 4G and expeditious wage revision for all concerned.

The Central Trade Unions call upon the working people of the country and the trade union movement in particular to extend full support and solidarity to the three days strike in BSNL on 18-20 February 2019.

INTUC | AITUC | HMS | CITU | AIUTUC | TUCC | SEWA | AICCTU | LPF | UTUC

Dear Shri Suresh Prabhu ji,

It is shocking to note that the Govt of India has decided to privatise six  more airports of the country now functioning under Airport Authority of India through so called PPP route.  The airports proposed to be privatized at the moment are at Trivundrum, Guwahati, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangalore as per the reports received.

The CITU hereby records its vehement opposition to such a move of privatization of these six airports. You are aware, all these six airports have been modernized through huge investment from public exchequer under the supervision of Airport Authority of India and the quality of modernization of these six airports are no way inferior, if not superior, to that made in the airports, of Delhi, , Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore under private sector operators, thereby decisively proving competence and capability of the public sector Airports Authority of India.

And now after modernizing these six airports with public money under AAI, handing over them to private hands through PPP route tantamount to a undue bonanza to private players at the cost of public exchequer, besides being totally unjust and extremely unfair which may please be taken note of.

Such retrograde and unfair decision has created serious resentment among of mass of the employees of the Airport Authority of India which has been reflected in overwhelming majority of employees of AAI endorsing through strike ballot, the resolve of the Airports Authority Employees Union to go for industrial strike against such privatization move.

The union accordingly decided to go in for strike in AAI from 20th February 2019 and the country’s trade union movement has extended full support to their struggle against privatization.

In view of the foregoing, I request you to please appreciate the gravity of the issue and in particular the impropriety and blatant unfairness of the Govt move for privatization of these six airports and appropriately intervene so that the Govt refrains from such retrograde move of privatization of airports in the interests of fairness and propriety and to avoid industrial unrest.

Soliciting expeditious corrective action from your end,

With regards,

Yours sincerely,
( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

Shri  Suresh Prabhu
Minister of Civil Aviation
Govt of India
New Delhi

 

The extended meeting of the Office Bearers of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), held in New Delhi on 5-6 January, 2019 - Condemned the state government of Rajasthan for preventing free movement of the high level team of the central trade unions led by CITU General Secretary Tapan Sen, former member of the Parliament, and consisting of CITU national secretaries E. Kareem, MP (Rajya Sabha) and Shankar Datta, MP (Lok Sabha); other national and state leaders of CITU, AITUC and HMS with all India leader of Kisan Sabha Amra Ram, former MLA of Rajasthan; and physically preventing the team to meet the management of Daikin Air-Conditioning factory in the so called Japanese Zone in the RIICO area of Neemrana in the Alwar district of Rajasthan in the course of their fact finding on 4th January, 2019 on the police barbarous lathi charge and teargas shelling on the peaceful assembly of the workers in front of Daikin factory gate during nationwide two days strike on 8-9 January, 2019, called jointly by the 10 central trade unions and almost all independent national federations; injuring several workers, filing false cases against the workers and arresting many of them. The police was assisted by the private army of the Daikin company.

 “Japanese Zone” and “South Korean Zone” set up, being operated at Neemrana, marked by signboards, by the former and present state governments of both BJP and Congress; is an illegal set up. This illegal set up is being operationalised by deployment of large contingent of police force always at the service of the managements of these MNCs. In these ‘Japanese Zone’ and ‘South Korean Zone’ Indian Citizens rights are being curbed, even in public place, by Rajasthan government’s police force.

Inside the establishments, the rule of law is being grossly violated by the managements with the help of police, administration and private army; none of the labour laws is implemented; no union is being allowed to be formed by the workers and for such attempt large number of them were and are being thrown out of jobs; permanent workers are being replaced by contract workers and by apprentices.

The meeting demands of Gehlot government to immediately dismantle the illegal set-up of ‘Japanese Zone’ and ‘Sourth Korean Zone’; remove the sign boards; withdraw the large contingent police force deployed at the service of the private companies in this area; and

Establish the rule of law by enforcement of all labour laws including the provisions of Indian Trade Unions Act and Industrial Disputes Act; Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act etc and Supreme Court’s judgements on Equal Wage and Minimum Wage;

Withdraw all false police cases against the workers; hold judicial enquiry on the police attack on the workers on 8th January in front of Daikin factory.

The meeting greeted the valiant workers who faced victimisation and repression, but continued with their fight for trade union rights.

Issued by

( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

The Interim Budget 2019, the last before the term of this BJP government ends, is a fraudulent attempt to cheat the people in a desperate bid to attract votes when defeat in the ensuing Parliament elections is staring at its face.

The interim budget vainly tries to give the misleading impression of providing so called  ‘sops’ to different sections of people. In fact, it does not waver a bit from the pro-corporate neoliberal agenda which has caused so much distress to the workers, peasants and the poor who have come out in their lakhs protesting these policies in the last few months compelling the government to talk about their issues. The acting finance minister laments that he could not reach the fiscal deficit target because of the money promised to the peasants. During the entire period of its five year tenure, the BJP government led by Modi feigned sleep, forgot the workers and peasants who create wealth for the country and was busy aggressively implementing the so called ‘reforms’ to serve their corporate master, domestic and foreign and fill their kitty looting the people and national resources.

The budget has nothing to improve the sagging economy through public investment, employment generation and improving the purchasing power of the people. Rather the arrogant announcement of continuing with the disinvestment and privatisation of PSUs and other “reforms” in the pipeline reflects the real intention to pave the way for destruction of self reliance and national economy as a whole.

It does not address the alarming levels of unemployment, which have reached forty five year high and which the BJP government has sought to suppress by not releasing the data and manufacturing data in its favour.  There is no concrete proposal except the rhetoric of ‘job seekers becoming job providers’, which those in government have been repeating ad nauseum without any visible action at the ground. The lack of any concrete plan becomes clear with the acting finance minister declaring the ‘employment generation is not confined merely to government services or factories’. Probably he wants to reiterate the advice of his colleagues in BJP to the youth to sell pakodas, set up pan shops or rear cows.

The interim budget has nothing to improve the wages of workers and incomes of peasants. It ignores the demand for loan waiver to the peasants. It does not ensure appropriate price for the farmers’ produce, nor the ensured procurement mechanism for all the crops.  It does not even mention minimum wage of Rs 18000 for workers. The allocation for MGNREGA has in fact been reduced compared to last year, even when the number of days of work has drastically come down and workers continue to be unpaid for several months. The unpaid wages for the work done under MNREGA crossed Rs 5150 crore in 2017-18 itself as per official data.  

The pension of Rs 3000 for unorganized workers is another exercise in deceit without there being any scheme. The allocation of a meagre Rs 500 crores itself is an indication of the lack of seriousness and honesty in covering the more than 40 crore unorganized workers in the country. And they will receive this pension only by contributing continuously up to the age of 60, which most of them cannot do. The real fraudulent intention behind announcement of this programme becomes clear when the cow-protection receives a bigger allocation of Rs 750 crore.

Increase in the exemption limit of earnings for income-tax payment had been long overdue and nothing to boast about.

Similarly the promise of Rs 6000 per year to the peasants having less than 2 hectares of land is a cruel joke on the peasants. Probably the minister wants the peasants who provide food for the country to satisfy their hungry stomachs with peanuts that the princely amount of Rs 15 a day can buy. There is no intention to address the agrarian crisis in a meaningful way.

As one of their colleagues in the union cabinet revealed recently, this time too, the BJP, leading the government obviously feels they have nothing to lose as they are not going to come to power anyway. People cannot be perpetually cheated by such dubious exercises.

Issued by:
Hemalata
President

 

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions heartily congratulates the defence sector civilian employees and their federations for the heroic countrywide three days strike on 23-25 January 2019 in all defence sector production, research and service establishments to defend country’s defence sector production and service network against the onslaught of outsourcing and privatization by the present BJP Govt at the centre.

All the defence employees’ federations including All India Defence Employees Federation have jointly given the strike call to protest against and resist the most dangerous and disastrous move of the government of India to gradually dismantle the defence production network consisting of 42 Ordnance factories, DRDO, numerous Military Engineering Service (MES) Centres, Army Station Workshops etc through outsourcing of more than 275 products, which are so long being produced by the Ordnance factories,  in favour of private corporates, both foreign and domestic. This move of the government of India has already rendered half of the Ordnance Factories becoming redundant, paving way for their closures or sell-out. Many defence procurement deals are also being hurriedly concluded or going to be concluded with foreign companies for supply of aircrafts, naval frigates etc giving rise to big scams and huge loss to the national exchequer.

Around 3.4 lakh civilian employees in the defence sector joined the strike in 42 Ordinance factories, DRDO, numerous Military Engineering Service (MES) Centres, Army Station Workshops etc making the strike almost total in all the three days thereby demonstrating their patriotic determination to resist the destructive policy of privatization and outsourcing being pursued by the Govt of India. The entire trade union movement of the country extended full support and solidarity to this strike action by holding rallies, demonstrations along with striking defence sector employees in different parts of the country.

CITU hails the defence sector employees and their federations for the said united countrywide action and urges that united struggle by the working class against such disastrous policy regime must continue till they are reversed and defeated in the interest of the entire Nation.

Issued by
(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary

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