First Telangana CITU Conference Calls for Demands Day on Oct 6
V V R Shastry
THE first conference of Telangana CITU was held from September 5-7, 2014 in Khammam city with great enthusiasm. The whole Khammam city was charged with conference atmosphere and support of the local people was visible. The conference was held in the background of the bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. It was held in the background of the fall of the UPA government at the centre and coming to power of the BJP government with absolute majority aided by a media blitzkrieg supported by corporate moneybags. The public meeting was held at Alluri Satyanarayana Nagar (Pavilion maidan) and presided over by M Saibabu, state CITU president. Basudeb Acharia, vice- president, all India CITU and former MP, speaking as the chief guest said that a powerful movement is needed to combat the neo- liberal economic policies. He reminded the audience that the CITU had from day one been opposing these policies and so far 15 all India general strikes had been conducted with more and more people participating. 11 central trade unions have been fighting against these policies. Workers were made to suffer inhumanly as in the case of Maruti but scamsters were let off. Again labour laws were being changed to heap burdens on the workers and big business being given huge concessions. Hemalatha, all India secretary of the CITU speaking on the occasion said the promises made by the previous governments should be fulfilled by the present governments. All the parties during elections had made a lot of promises but after coming to power, had forgotten about it. She also demanded that all those working in state or central government schemes had to be recognised as employees. S Veeraiah, state CITU vice president said that the new government of the state had to come out to explain to the people its way of working. The recent comprehensive survey conducted in the state had created a lot of doubts in the people’s minds and they were apprehensive about being put to a loss because of it. Recently pattas were given to some people but so far no land was allotted to them. Sunnam Rajaiah, MLA said that people’s and workers’ voice will be made to be heard in the state assembly. Sudha Bhaskar, CITU state general secretary said that the new Modi government was in the service of the rich people only. In the state though the TRS government was parading itself as a champion of the people so far it had taken up nothing. A committee was appointed to give suggestions for regularising the services of the contract workers but it is obvious what its recommendations will be. M Saibabu, state president of CITU said that labour policies had to change, security of employment for unorganised workers had to be provided. It was the goal of the CITU to conduct uncompromising struggles for the sake of the workers. Other state and district leaders of the CITU were present on the occasion. The meeting was preceded by a huge rally. It was led by artists presenting tribal dance, with slogans of demanding the bringing down of the prices of essential commodities in pictures, emphasising communal unity by wearing colourful dresses etc. Greetings were extended by fraternal organisations such as the Rural Doctors Welfare Association, BSNL Employees Association, RTC union and the AIDWA. DELEGATE SESSION In the delegate session, chairman of the reception committee Karnati Veerabhadram expressed the hope that pro- worker CITU should get strengthened. Tapan Sen, all India general secretary of the CITU inaugurated the conference. 670 delegates from all over the state coming from 54 affiliated organisations attended. The presidium comprised of M Saibabu, S N Reddy, Chukka Ramulu, M Chukkayya and P Vijayalaxmi. Office bearers of the state committee officiated as steering committee. In the inaugural session held as part of the conference, Tapan Sen said that 90% of the people were affected by the neo-liberal policies. After 100 days of the Modi government only bad seems to be ahead for the people. Workers’ rights were being sought to be trampled upon, public sector was sought to be dismantled, and natural resources were being given over to the rich. Lakhs of workers were on the streets as thousands of industries closed. The closing of Nokia had thrown 27,000 workers on to the streets. In Telangana, Hindustan Cables had closed. In public sector units, oil and coal disinvestment was under way. Petroleum products were decontrolled. Capitalists were getting their profits. The Modi government is not bothered about 99% of the people and is working for 100 corporates. He cautioned that Telangana could not develop with the neo-liberal policies but alternative policies have to be adopted. The people have to build up strong movements for that purpose. The neo-liberal era has benefited the rich only. The spirit of Telangana armed struggle and struggle for separate state has to be used for forcing the government to implement pro-people policies. United struggles have to be built up. The neo-liberal policies were responsible for poverty getting intensified. The rulers knew that the market would not welcome these struggles and hence labour laws were being changed to give more freedom to the employers. The Rajasthan government has already changed the labour laws drastically hitting the workers. The Telangana government also had hinted at such an action. The people of the state have to fight it with the government. Tapan Sen further critisised that MNC’s were being invited to the detriment of the local economy. The prime minister had in Japan recently said the foreign investors would have red carpet, not red-tape. It was dangerous for the country. He demanded that contract workers should be paid equal wages for the same work, project workers should be recognised as employees, minimum wages should be Rs 15000 per month. He informed the conference that on September 15, a national convention of trade unions was going to be held in New Delhi. The convention would come up with future course of action to resist the onslaught of the government. The inaugural session was attended by CITU national secretary Hemalatha, AP state general secretary M A Gafoor, leaders of AITUC, BMS, INTUC, TRSKV. The conference elected a new secretariat with 19 members with Chukka Ramulu as the president and M Saibabu as secretary, a working committee with 77 members and a state council with 135 members. The conference demanded that promises given to the people should be implemented within one month. In the name of contracting and outsourcing, workers were exploited inhumanly and the CITU would build strong movements taking along others to resist it. It has been decided that if the state government does not take any action towards the demands put forth by the conference within a month, a demands day will be observed through the state. The conference ended on a note of preparing for bigger struggles to the face of the onslaught of the anti-people policies of the government both in the state and at the centre.