DTC Workers’ Struggle against Privatisation

The DTC workers’ Unity Centre (affiliated AICCTU) has formed a joint struggle committee with the BMS union in the name of DTC Bachao Sangharsh Samiti. After the first phase of struggle which started with dharnas and effigy burning at all depots, in the second phase, it was decided to launch a mass campaign against privatisation focusing on problems faced by commuters in Delhi and its outskirts.

On 14 December, a seminar was organised on the topic ‘People’s Transport for Common People or Private Transport for Personal Gain’. Preceding this programme around 30,000 folders were distributed among citizens of Delhi; depot gate meetings and mass meetings at prominent places and bus terminals were also conducted. The folder appealed to citizens of Delhi to pressurise the Government to stop the privatisation of transport and enumerated almost a dozen shortcomings of the private bus service which directly affected the lives of commuters in the metropolis. The folder carried contact phone numbers of DTC leaders so that other unions and citizens’ forums could establish contact and build solidarity networks.

In the seminar, besides leaders of the RYA, Jhuggi Jhopri Sangharsh Samiti, AISA, Forum for Democratic Initiative, Delhi Primary Teacher’s Association, Delhi Transport Mazdoor Sangh, there were other speakers, including the General Secretary of Delhi BMS, leaders of Delhi Water and Sewage Sansthan Union, Delhi Electricity Board, MTNL, Delhi Water Supply Board, Delhi Secretary of AICCTU Com. Ranjan Ganguly and General Secretary Com. Swapan Mukherjee, who was also the main speaker. Com. Swapan Mukherjee decried in unequivocal terms, the policy of economic liberalisation which was being implemented at break-neck speed by both the BJP-led Government at the Centre as well as the Congress Government in Delhi. He dwelt at length on the government bid to privatize key sectors in the country as well as on the anti-people verdict of the Supreme Court which had ordered scrapping of DTC buses in the name of controlling pollution.

The Struggle Committee resolved to continue the struggle for saving DTC, against closing down small industries in the name of providing a pollution-free environment and to support the Postal strike.

NTC workers’ struggle against mills closure

On the 5th of December, about 2000 NTC and BIC workers staged a day-long dharna and held a protest meeting at the Udyog Bhavan in Delhi. Preceding this they organised rallies and demonstrations at all the NTC and BIC Centres in the country.

It was after continuous struggle by the Joint Action committee of Textile Workers that a unanimous agreement had been arrived at between the Government and the central trade unions in 1995 that 79 textile mills would be revived. After the BJP government came to power, not a single meeting was called by the Government despite verbal assurance being given by the Textile Minister and the P.M. himself. The Government unilaterally rejected the agreement instead, and announced its decision to close down the mills. There was no such proposal in the modernisation scheme agreed upon by the TUs. The leaders vehemently opposed the proposal to privatise the NTC and BIC mills as the 1995 agreement had ‘no privatisation’ as one of the 8 points of the agreement.
During talks with the Textile Minister, Kansi Ram Rana, the leaders demanded :

Since the Government itself admits that 25 mills are fully functioning and 51 partially, efforts be made to revive these 51 mills at the earliest. As the Government states that 43 mills are ‘non-working’, they demanded discussion on each of these mills.
They demanded regular payment of wages to the workers, pending since the last few months.
They demanded withdrawal of liquidation case of BIC mills, which is pending in the Allahabad High Court and revival of BIC mills as well as immediate payment of salaries to workers.

The participants came under the banners of AICCTU, CITU, AITUC, HMS, UTUC, and INTUC. The mass meeting was addressed by Udai Bhatt (Kamgar Agadhi, Maharashtra), Com. Pagare (Ahmedabad, Gujrat), P.K. Ganguly of CITU, Hari Singh, Vice President, AICCTU, and Babulal of UP), K.L Mahendra, GS, AITUC. Nirmal Ghosh of INTUC, and Vasudev Acharya, CPI(M) and J. Chittaranjan of CPI (both from MP).


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