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‘Recession hits workers more'

Special Correspondent
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CITU president says people's confidence in governing systems has shattered

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) national president A.K. Padmanabhan has said that workers the world over are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis that has gripped the developed countries.

Inaugurating the State conference of the Kerala State Road Transport Employees' Association (KSRTEA) here on Wednesday, Mr. Padmanabhan said the idea of addressing the current crisis through a perspective of the workers and their struggles was now being widely accepted. Capitalist countries were fast plunging into a deep crisis and the collapse of the capitalist system required unity of the ideologically organised working class.

Growing inequality

Quoting from a report of the International Labour Organisation, Mr. Padmanabhan said inequalities were growing and social growth was highly imbalanced. This situation could be reversed through a course correction by changing the priorities of the past decades. The economic crisis being faced by the world stood in sharp contrast to the prediction over two decades ago that all the world's problems were coming to an end with the close of the Cold War, he said, adding that the people's confidence in the governing systems had shattered. Workers who were not responsible for the crisis were now paying the price.

He said the neo-liberal policies introduced in the country two decades ago were billed to increase industrial growth, enhance employment opportunities, and protect agriculture. The policies had produced increased number of billionaires, while 70 per cent of the Indians earned Rs.20 a day. A National Sample Survey report pointed to a decrease in employment opportunities, Mr. Padmanabhan said.

The country was not seriously affected by the crisis owing to the stiff resistance by the trade unions to the government's moves to introduce reforms in the banking and insurance sectors. The trade unions would continue their agitation against fresh moves to accelerate disinvestment and economic reforms, he said.

The central trade unions had come out to join a common platform against the reforms and for a policy change as fresh efforts were under way to deny workers their social security benefits, Mr. Padmanabhan said. The Central government was yet to accept freedom of association and collective bargaining of the workers. The working conditions of the workers was worsening and their workload increasing.

‘Jail bharo' stir

He urged the workers to campaign in support of the ‘jail bharo' agitation called by the confederation of 11 central trade unions on November 8 and the subsequent general strike being planned.

KSRTEA State president and Left Democratic Front convener Vaikom Viswan presided over the function. Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders K.P. Sahadevan and M.V. Jayarajan, All India Road Transport Workers' Federation secretary Ram Ashray Yadav, and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Employees' Federation president S. Presannakumar were present at the inaugural session.

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