Thampan Thomas, Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) leader and former MP, has said that if India had recognised the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) regarding protection of fishing workers, Italy could have been held accountable for the Enrica Lexie incident.

Inaugurating the State convention of the HMS here on Sunday, Mr. Thomas said the organisation had been in the forefront to get these conventions passed in the ILO. However, with the Indian government refusing to recognise and ratify them, workers in India were deprived of the benefits and protection they offered, as proved by the Enrica Lexie incident. Earlier, Mr. Thomas said the nationwide strike on February 20 and 21 had given trade union activities in the country a new direction, giving strength and recognition to a labour-class politics and uniting the labour class. It was a new chapter in the history of labour-class struggles. The two-day strike had helped efforts of the HMS to bring together all trade and labour unions in the country, cutting across political affiliations.

State Planning Board member C.P. John, CITU leader Anathalavattom Anandan and others spoke. The conference on the Putharikandam ground will continue on Monday.