The trade union election in BHEL, Tiruchi, slated for May 26 has evoked interest among the employees in a changed political situation in the State.
The once-in-three-years election saw the Employee's Progressive Union (EPU) affiliated to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam posting an impressive performance last time. The EPU had three elected leaders among the employees on the yardstick of 10 per cent of votes for each. That was when the district had a strong presence of DMK Ministers and MLAs.
With the Tiruverumbur assembly segment also slipping out of DMK fold now, the performance of the Anna Thozhilalar Peravai (ATP) affiliated to the AIADMK, which could not win in the trade union election so far, will be keenly watched, according to employees.
Other major trade unions in the reckoning include AITUC, CITU and INTUC, affiliated to CPI, CPI (M) and Congress respectively. Interestingly, the AITUC; MLF affiliated to MDMK; and Bharathiya Mazdur Sangh affiliated to the BJP have teamed up as a common front this time, it is learnt. In the previous elections, these trade unions were said to have notched up vote share of five to seven percentage individually.
A non-political trade union Desiya Thozhilalar Nala Sangam, is stated to have larger number of employees in the younger age.
Likewise, the Dr. Ambedkar Union also has high hopes to put up a strong performance, sources added.
“The impact of the State Assembly election results is certain to be felt in the trade union elections,” employees observe.Though contesting in the trade union election has now become expensive what with the culture of throwing parties and offering gifts to attract votes from employees' gaining root, winning is a matter of prestige for the candidates representing the major trade unions representing one political party or the other.
The trade union leaders once elected enjoy the privilege of time-off and have their say in the Plant Council and Shop Council. They are the ones who are invited by the management for talks on wage revision, bonus, and other welfare measures. The representatives of the winning trade unions also become members of other committees including Hospital Apex Committee and Safety Committee.