The united trade union movement should cautiously carry forward its struggle till the Centre approved the charter of demands and should also take the initiative to protect the lives of women, children, and minorities, CITU president A.K. Padmanabhan has said.
Inaugurating the 29th national conference of the All India Postal Employees Union Group-C affiliated to the National Federation of Postal Employees (NFPE) here on Sunday, Mr. Padmanabhan described the 48-hour national strike on February 20 and 21 as a rare show of unity and strength of the working class in which 12 crore workers in different sectors participated. The unit ed trade movement comprising the entire workforce of the country should continue their relentless pursuit to get the 10-point charter of dema nds approved by the Centre.
When the Centre had initiated neo-liberal policies in the early nineties, the trade unions had sensed the danger and the ramifications in pursuing the polices. The build-up against the movement began since then and it reached its culmination with the national strike. The UPA government being engaged with the confidence building measures among overseas investors, had no time to discuss the crucial issues pertaining to the proletariat in the country. Hours before the strike, it made an appeal through the media to give up the agitation and said the strike would incur heavy loss. When the four-member Cabinet sub-committee comprising among others, Defence Minister A.K. Antony held discussions with the joint action council leaders, Mr. Antony had admitted that the demands were justified.
The government plea was rejected as the unions were not ready to accept any assurance, but wanted only a settlement. History was created when the workers in different sectors joined hands to reiterate the just demands of the workers. India was one of the founders of the International Labour Organisation. But the core conventions such as right to organise and collective bargaining had still not been approved by the government, he said.
He said the Labour Ministry had brought the issue to the notice of the Prime Minister’s Office, but it chose to ignore the issue. Along with this, the lingering fear and uncertainty gripping women, children, and minorities were crucial issues which the trade unions cannot afford to overlook. The united trade union movement should take the responsibility to get the basic rights approved by the Centre and also ensured the safety of the weaker sections, he said.
Mayor K. Chandrika, who is also the reception committee chairperson, welcomed. AIPEU leader M. Krishnan presided.