Left, Congress trade unions flay Mamata governmentSeptember 12th, 2011 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Sep 12 (IANS) The labour arms of the Left parties and the Congress Monday accused West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee government of committing atrocities on the working class and cold-shouldering trade unions.
At a joint media meet, Kali Ghosh, state general secretary of the CPI-M-dominated Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), and his Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) counterpart Ramen Pandey opposed the state government’s proposal to enact a law to bring to an end shutdowns, strikes and blockades. Other trade union bodies like All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) were also present.
“Strikes and bandhs are the ultimate weapons in the hands of the working classes. We will never let go of these weapons,” said Ghosh.
“We strongly oppose the move. Right to strike is a right of the workers. The owners have money and everything else, but workers’ strength is only unity and if they are victimised, they go for protests like strikes. She (Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) is violating the workers’ right to freedom of association and collective bargaining recognised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO),” said Pandey.
“Can she bring in foreign direct investment if the ILO asks businessmen not to invest,” he asked.
Ghosh said the regime was committing fascist-like atrocities on the workers.
“They are taking control of trade union offices by force. They are attacking rival unions and murdering workers belonging to other labour unions.
“The government must veer away from its anti-labour stand and stop using muscle power,” Ghosh said.
Pandey said there have been over 50 incidents of attacks on INTUC workers. Several offices of the union have been forcibly occupied by Trinamool Congress activists since the new government came to power in May, unseating the 34-year-old Left Front regime.
Pandey accused the state government of ignoring the trade unions’ democratic rights. “The government recently unilaterally announced 20 percent bonus for workers. Before that, the government did not talk to the trade unions. This is a violation of the democratic process of the land,” he said.
He said all established trade unions had asked for an appointment with the chief minister two months back to discuss the plight of workers, but there has been no response.
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Tags: chief minister, citu, collective bargaining, democratic rights, foreign direct investment, freedom of association, general secretary, india trade, indian trade unions, international labour organisation, intuc, labour unions, left parties, muscle power, national trade union congress, rival unions, shutdowns, trade union congress, trinamool congress, west bengal