D. Shaleel, chairperson of the National Working Women Employees of All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), New Delhi, and working president (central) of East Coast Railway Shramik Union (E Co RSU) will attend the 8th Asia Pacific Regional Conference to be held in Hong Kong from May 11 to 17.
The regional conference, held once in four years, is the largest and most important gathering of the affiliates of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in the region. The main theme of the conference is “Organising to build strong transport unions in the Asia – Pacific region”. The conference will discuss among other things ways to improve the trade union movement, focussing on the importance of organising and mobilising workers internationally in the face of global economic slow down, according to a statement issued by the assistant general secretary of ECoRSU B. Damodara Rao.
Ms. Shaleel forayed into the Railway trade union activities in the early eighties when the percent age of women employees in the Railway sector was very little. She mobilised and organised the women employees as a mighty force. Starting her trade union career as an office bearer in a branch, she made her way to the top echelons of the AIRF.
She had represented the Railway Board Negotiating Forum, the highest decision-making body in the Indian Railways. She was also chairperson of the women wing of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha, a national trade union centre without any political affiliation and participated in international seminars in various countries between 1996 and 1999.
She drew inspiration from the late J.M. Biswas, general secretary of the South Eastern Railwaymen’s Union and considers Ch. Gandhi, general secretary of the E CoRSU as her mentor. Shaleel is now the working president (central) of ECoRSU.