Kerala Catholic church to strengthen its labour union

April 26th, 2009 - 7:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, April 26 (IANS) The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) Sunday issued directions to the laity across the state to strengthen the labour union under the church and also set up labour self-help groups, in an apparent attempt to create a parallel labour movement in the Left-ruled state.
The Kerala Catholic church, which is miffed at the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government after a Left leader used harsh words against the bishops and also on the government’s stand on the education sector, issued a pastoral letter which was read out in more than 3,000 churches.

The KCBC asked the laity to strengthen the labour union, which is functioning and known as the Kerala Labour Movement (KLM).

The KCBC is a permanent association of the Catholic bishops in Kerala. It includes the three sections of the church in Kerala - the Latin, the Syro Malabar and the Syro Malankara.

KCBC spokesperson Fr Stephen Alathara told IANS that the movement would be extended to the IT sector too.

“There are issues in the IT sector which have to be tackled from the point of view of an employee when it comes to protection of rights,” Alathara said.

This new development is an apparent attempt by the Catholic church to distance itself from the Left government after the harsh words used by Pinarayi Vijayan, the state secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, against the bishops on a few occasions.

Fr Alathara said the KLM has been functioning since 1960 and in 1979 the KCBC formed the Labour Commission with the aim of organizing the unorganized workers in the state.

The vision of the KLM is that it visualizes a just society where all labourers enjoy dignity, equity, harmony and fullness of life.

“At the moment we have 5.3 million Catholic faithfuls and since we do not have any estimate of the actual number who could be classified into these labour groups, we will soon be undertaking a survey,” said Alathara.

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