Srinagar October 28: The 5th State Conference of J&K, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) was held today in Srinagar. The conference deliberated upon various issues and problems confronting working class, with thedetermination to intensify struggles to fight anti-working class and anti-people policies of the government.
The conference started with flag hoisting ceremony by Comrade Mohammad Subhan, senior trade union leader. The conference was inaugurated by K. Hemlata, National President CITU and Abdul Gani Bhat presented the welcome address. 200 delegates representing different affiliated unions participated in the day-long conference. Condolence resolution was presented by CITU State President Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami in memory of former Cuba President, Fidel Castro, CPI (M) leader Samar Mukherjee, CITU leader Uma Nath, J&K CITU leader Ghulam Mohiuddin, senior Kissan leader Ghulam Rasool Sheikh and all others who were victims of violence, particularly in Kashmir.
Inaugurating the conference, K. Hemlata said that the continuation of neo-liberal economic policies of the Modi government coupled with demonetization and implementation of GST have serious ramifications on the lives and livelihood of the working class people. The onslaught of the BJP-led government on working class has to be fought unitedly and vigorously. She asserted that only unity of the working class and democratic forces can fight back the repression of the present dispensation.
Underlining the necessity for wider unity among the working people for resisting the anti working class policies of the government, she said that there was no room for any illusion, and only united struggles of the toilers can force the government and employers to concede their genuine demands. The focus of the communal politics in the name ‘Gaw Rakhsa and Love Jihad’ is aimed to divide people on communal and religious lines. Working class has to be vigilant enough against this mechanisation and greater unity of Dalits, OBCs, minorities and working class people is bound to face the challenge firmly. K. Hemlata emphasised the working class people to participate wholeheartedly in ‘Maha Padaw’ joint call by National Trader Unions, near Parliament from November 9 to November 11, 2017.
Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami in his address said the social security benefits like pension, provident fund, health insurance etc. are hard won rights of the working class secured through decades of struggle. These gains are now being reversed through privatization of pension funds, provident funds and cuts in subsidies and welfare benefits and such measures being implemented across the world today specifically target the social security benefits in order to pass on the burden to the working people. Stressing for implementation of the basic labour laws in the State, Tarigami demanded amendment in the Minimum Wages Act and fixation of statutory minimum wage of not less than Rs 18,000 per month.
Despair among the young generation entering the employment market is increasing rapidly. The utter collapse of public distribution system, commercialisation of education system has made life miserable for common people. The prices of essential commodities have gone up sky high hitting hard below the belt the poorer strata of the society. It is but natural that the discontent among the working class is increasing rapidly. The present situation demands that the working class must champion the vital interests of all the toiling sections of the society, so that it can play a leading role in the struggles to oppose the policies of the government, Tarigami stressed.
He stated that the social security benefits like pension, provident fund, health insurance etc. are hard won rights of the working class secured through decades of struggle. These gains are now being reversed through privatization of pension funds, provident funds and cuts in subsidies and welfare benefits and such measures being implemented across the world today specifically target the social security benefits in order to pass on the burden to the working people. Stressing for implementation of the basic labour laws in the State, Tarigami demanded amendment in the Minimum Wages Act and fixation of statutory minimum wage of not less than Rs 18,000 per month.
While referring to the passing of Jammu and Kashmir Public Property (Prevention of Damage) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, Tarigami said, it will trample the legitimate democratic rights of people, especially working class. Our past experience tells us that such laws have always been misused and administration, including police, always sides with employers during the genuine protests of working class. Labor laws are not implemented and whenever working class protests against the employers, they become victims of police lathis. BJP led government is taking care of policies which only benefit corporate sector.
Om Prakash presented the General Secretary’s Report for discussion. It was discussed thoroughly and certain useful suggestions were made by the delegates to update this report. Later on the report was adopted unanimously.
The conference adopted important resolutions including the resolution on ‘Trade Union Rights, Working Women, Food Security, Price Rise, Unemployment, against Privatization of Centuar Hotel Srinagar, against rising communalism, early regularisation of Contractual, Daily Wager, casual/need based, Adhoc Employees, demanded Class III and Class IV grades for Anganwari Workers and Helpers respectively, minimum wages of Rs 18,000 to all employees, pension, gratuity and implementation of 45th Indian Labour Conference recommendations. A resolution was also adopted on ASHA Workers. Constitution of Welfare Board on the pattern of construction workers for handicraft sector workers.
Besides, the conference also passed on a resolution on Human Rights violations saying the delegates were of opinion that arrests under black laws, killings, custodial deaths, fake encounters, enforces disappearances, rape and third degree torture used on detainees has alienated the people and there is deep anger and resentment. This conference demands that no innocent person should be subjected to violence, oppression and human rights violations. This conference also urges the Government to punish the people involved in killings, custodial deaths, fake encounters, enforced disappearances and rape incidents since 1990.
Others who spoke on the occasion include Sham Prasad Kesar, Mohd Afzal Parry, Ab. Rashid Najar senior CITU leaders.
The conference concluded with thunderous slogans which reflected the enthusiasm and determination of the delegates to carry forward the message of unity.