Port Blair, Nov 17: The 2-day Andaman and Nicobar State Conference of CITU began at Port Blair yesterday. The Open Session/Inaugural Session of the Conference was inaugurated at Tiranga Park, Aberdeen by Mr. AK Padmanabhan, All India Vice President of CITU at 4.30 p.m. today. Prior to this, a massive procession was taken out by the workers which began from Tiranga Park and making a round of the important points of the Port Blair town culminated in the Open Session/ Inaugural Session at the same venue. Mr. AK Padmanabhan hoisted the CITU’s flag at the venue of the Open Session amidst sloganeering by the participants. Thereafter, leaders and workers paid tributes to the martyres at a specially erected Martyrs Memorial Column at the venue of the Open Session.
Mr. SP Kalairajan, Chairman, Reception Committee welcomed the gathering. Addression the Open Session/Inaugural Session, AK Padmanabhan recalled the high voltage campaign conducted by Mr. Narendra Modi just before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when he had said that he will be with youth, kisan and women. But after the elections, Mr. Modi forgot these sections of the people. Referring to the sky-rocketing price rise, Mr. AK Padmanabhan said that the central trade unions jointly calculated the minimum wages and now demanded that the minimum wages should be 21,000/- instead of the earlier demand of Rs. 18,000/- per month. He said that the CITU had conducted protracted struggles in the past with the demand for fixing minimum wages as Rs. 18,000/- for the workers. He said that the Supreme Court recently has upheld the increase in the minimum wages fixed by the Govt of National Capital Territory of Delhi led by Mr. Arvind Kejriwal. Now the minimum wages for the unskilled workers in Delhi is Rs. 15,000/- per month.
He said that throughout the country, government employees are forced to fight against the governments for their genuine demands, mostly pay revision. He recalled the trade union movement in the country and said that hundred years have completed after the formation of the All India Trade Union Congress(AITUC) on 21st October, 2020. He also said that the CITU was formed in May, 1970 to fight for the working class in the country in an effective manner. During these 50 years, CITU had to face a lot of attack from the ruling class, corporates and others. He regretted that the history of trade union movement and participation of workers in the freedom struggle are being subverted by the Modi government and a distorted version of history is presented before the new generation.
He said that Modi government is bent upon to amend/demolish 44 labour laws in the country at the cost of workers and to help the corporate as the Modi government has decided that corporate should not face any difficulty in their business in the country due to the pro-worker existing labour laws and termed the Modi government as anti-working class. He said that the central trade unions have jointly decided to fight against these policies of the cenrtral government and a total strike will be conducted on 8th January, 2020 in which crores of workers from all spheres of work will participate.
In Andaman & Nicobar also, the workers, cutting across ideology, should come together to fight against the anti-working class policies of the Modi government. He paid tributes to Comrade R. Pious D’silva, former President of CITU A & N State Committee who passed away on this day 13 years ago.
Mr. B. Chandrachoodan, General Secretary, CITU A & N State Committee while addressing the Open Session criticized the Andaman & Nicobar Administration for creating unnecessary difficulties for the workers working in various departments particularly the daily rated mazdoors. He said that there is no response from the Administration to the issues raised by the trade unions and others. Mr. TS Sreekumar, General Secretary, Non-Gazetted Govt. Officers’ Association while addressing the Open Session briefly explained the issues on which the central government employees’ organizations are fighting.
Mr. NKP Nair, General Secretary, A & N State Committee of AICCTU also addressed the meeting.
The Delegate Session of the Conference will begin at 9 a.m tomorrow at Hotel ACC Auditorium, Mohanpura in which delegates and observers from the Unions affiliated with the CITU will participate.