AICCTU National Council Meeting Towards 7th National Conference
The National Council meeting of AICCTU was held on 18-19 April 2008 at Rourkela, the steel city in Orissa. The meeting was presided over by a 5-member presidium comprising Comrades S. Kumaraswamy, Swapan Mukherjee, Subhash Sen, S Balasubramanium and R N Thakur. Comrade D.P. Buxi, PB member of CPI(ML), was also present in the meeting. The meeting began with 2-minute silence in the memory of Comrade Yogeshwar Gope, former President of AICCTU and other departed leaders.
The major decisions of the meeting include the following:
1. May Day- AICCTU has given a call to observe May Day preceded by a campaign which will focus on the demands to check skyrocketing price rice; strengthen PDS; immediate reversal of private trade in essential commodities and total crackdown on profiteers and hoarders; distribution of 25 essential commodities through PDS; declaring minimum wage recommended for lowest category of government employees by 6th CPC as the national floor level minimum wage including all sections of contract and unorganised sector workers as well as NREGA workers. Some of the other demands are - Enacting a comprehensive legislation in this session of Parliament for the unorganized sector workers; Immediate implementation of 5-year wage agreement in CPSUs; Declaring 200 days job for NREGA workers; Increase the minimum wage 5478/- as recommended by 6th CPC to 10,000/; Immediately come out with a plan to revive sick PSUs like Sindri Fertilizer, HEC, IDPL etc.,
2. 7th May Strike - AICCTU has given a call to actively participate in the 7th May strike of CPSUs focusing on the demands of: Immediate implementation of the 5-year wage agreement in CPSUs like coal, steel etc.; inclusion of contract labour of these units in the wage agreement; Contract labour in PSUs must be paid the minimum wage fixed for that particular sector; Stop outsourcing and privatization in CPSUs.
3. 7th National conference of AICCTU: will be held on 2-4 August 2008 in Chennai. Chennai will be named as Comrade Yogeshwar Gope Nagar and the Conference Hall will be named after Com. Pelliyappan.
4. The National Conference will be preceded by a campaign to observe 100 years of the first political strike by Indian working class in Mumbai against British imperialism, which will culminate in nationwide Rashtriya Sankalp Diwas on 23 July.
5. The founding National Conference to launch the National Federation for Construction Workers will be held on 28-29 June at Patna.
Massive Demo Against Price Hike and Demand for Increase in Wages for Handloom Weavers in Puducherry
A joint demonstration by CPI(ML) and AICCTU was held on 15 April 2008 in front of the Registrar of Co-operative societies of Puducherry. The demonstrators demanded that the UPA Government and the Puducherry Congress Government led by N Rangassamy take effective steps to curb the spiralling price rise of essential commodities. And they also demanded the arrest of black marketers, hoarders of essential commodities. The demonstrators exclusively demanded the withdrawal of recent milk price hike which affected children and women.
The gathering, largely from among handloom weavers, demanded an increase of wages and waiver of loans to weavers. The demonstration was presided over jointly by Comrades Vadivelu and K Murugan, and hundreds of workers, especially women workers in Unions affiliated to AICCTU participated.
Comrade S Balasubramanian, Secretary of Puducherry Party State Committee, S Mothilal, Secretary AICCTU, P Shankaran, National Council Member AICCTU, C Sagayaraj, President, Movement for Protection of the Homeless addressed the demo. A memorandum was submitted to the Registrar of Co-operative societies.
1st Orissa State Conference of AICCTU
The first Orissa State Conference of AICCTU was held on 17th April 2008 at Rourkela. 657 delegates from the districts of Sundargarh, Raigada, Puri, Kendrapara, Keonjhar and Bhubaneswar attended the Conference.
Comrade Radhakanta Sethi presided over the Conference, which was inaugurated by Comrade D P Buxi, PB member of CPI(ML). Discussing the organizational report, delegates spoke of the anti-workers policies pursued by the BJD-BJP State Government as well as the UPA Government at the Centre, as they pampered corporates with SEZs. The unorganized workers’ plight was worst. Delegates spoke of the challenges AICCTU faced as it organized workers in Sundargarh, Raigada, Puri, Kendrapara and Keonjhar, and made an entry into Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur. AICCTU General Secretary Swapan Mukherjee called upon the delegates to resolve to expand AICCTU in Orissa.
Comrades Jatish Chandra Barik, Rupesh Rajhans, Santi and others spoke of the condition of workers in contract, construction and other unorganized sectors and demanded Rs. 200 per day as wages for them. Comrade Kedar Pradhan, Secretary of Ispat Labour Union spoke of the struggles of workers in Rourkela Steel Plant and demanded an early wages settlement in the steel industry.
The Conference elected a 12-member State Committee, with N K Mohanty as President and Radhakanta Sethi as General Secretary.
A procession of workers marched from the Railway Station, culminating in a mass rally at Telephone Bhawan, Sector-6, Rourkela. Apart from the AICCTU leaders, the Rally was also addressed by CPI(ML) State Secretary Khitish Biswal.
RYA’s Open Letter To The Speaker Of Lok-Sabha
Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) Punjab wrote a letter to the Speaker, Lok Sabha, demanding that Parliament initiate an open debate on the ‘Life, Contribution and Though of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’. Accusing Parliament of trying “to honour him as a character of history, so as to avoid honouring him as an ideologue, as a visionary of a socialist India instead of the India which the ruling class has built”, RYA demanded that Bhagat Singh be depicted in Parliament with Batukeshwar Dutt, in the pose of throwing voice bombs; the slogan "Long live revolution", and "Down with imperialism" be inscribed on the statues in all Indian languages; and the statues be inaugurated on 8th April of coming year, the day when the revolutionaries threw the bomb in the Parliament.
AIPWA Team Meets Women Agitating in Patna Remand Home
An AIPWA investigation team comprising Meena Tiwari, Prof. Bharati S Kumar, Shashi Yadav and Anita Sinha visited Patna-based Remand Home on April 3, where women had been on hunger strike for the last 3 days demanding speedy trial of their cases. The administration, instead of heeding their just demand, summoned the police which resorted to a lathi-charge, forcing them to break their hunger strike. Only 3 months back, there had been an incident of lathi-charge in the home when the husband of some detainee came to meet her. He was dragged inside the home and beaten. When the girls protested, they too were beaten. On that occasion, one lady constable had complained that girls from the Home are taken out to 'serve' the big-wigs. When AIPWA leaders inquired about it the officials said that the complainant had been removed immediately and the Government had constituted an inquiry committee which had submitted its report to the Government. The detainees told the investigation team that despite proof that they had become adult they were forcibly kept here in the name of being minors. There are pregnant women, children and their mothers too in the home but there is no arrangement of doctors. There are neither fans nor cots in the Home. Despite tall claims of women empowerment, the Chief Minister and the State Women’s Commission are least concerned for these hapless women. The ‘reform home’ has been converted into a prison. AIPWA has demanded action against the officials responsible for the lathi-charge, speedy trial of the cases and other reforms in the Home. Meanwhile, after the AIPWA intervention was widely covered in the press, the High Court too has intervened and summoned the women detained under the charge of (love) marriage despite being minors.