Karnataka: 17th All India CITU Conference Starts in Bengaluru
Bengaluru: The 17th all-India conference of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) commenced on January 18, 2022. Delegates from across the country landed in Bengaluru for the event. After paying respects to the martyrs of Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), a guard of honour was provided by the red volunteers for CITU president, Dr K Hemalata.
The honorary president of the reception committee, K Subba Rao, delivered the welcome address. The general secretary of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), Pambis Kyritsis was one of the guests at the program. There were 1525 delegates at the conference from across the country.
Addressing the inaugural session of the conference, Tapan Sen, CITU general secretary, underlined the importance of trade union movements in the backdrop of mounting attacks on working people.
K Hemalatha mentioned that the CITU conference will deliberate strategies to change the trajectory of policies which serve corporate interests. Addressing the audience in the post-lunch session, K Hemalata says, "the share of the world's poorest half today is about half of their share in the 1820s. This is how much inequality has increased over the last 200 years. The situation is such that even the world bank and IMF are talking about this crisis. Their own projections say that due to the present economic slowdown, 1/3rd of the world economy is going to contract further. The prescription of the international financial institutions is - a cap on wages, removal of subsidies, and removal of restrictions on exports. Capitalism has no answer for the present crisis and countries that follow the neoliberal path are doomed to fail."
The sessions were translated into six languages in real-time through the use of headsets for simultaneous translation.
Speaking to NewsClick, Vjk Nair, 85, former president of CITU Karnataka, explained the martyrdom of Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) workers in police firing in 1946. He said, "in the 40s, the Communist party was quite strong in the region (that is now Karnataka). In Kolar Gold Fields where gold mining was being carried out, the Mysore mines employees union was organised and led by communists. The workers received word that the leader of the union, comrade KS Vasan, was in police custody. It was not true, but such a rumour reached the workers. When they heard the news, they walked out of the mines and protested against the police. Six workers were martyred in the ensuing police firing. The place where they died was turned into a communist Cemetary which remains even today."
He also spoke about the protests of workers against the British rule over KGF mines even after independence. He said, "the KGFworkers were all Tamil Dalits. In the early 1950s, they protested against the British company, John Taylor and co. which continued to own mines in KGF even after independence. In 1956 the company's administration was
taken over by the Mysore government. British companies looted around 400 tonnes of gold from KGF alone."
Addressing the conference, Pambis Kyritsis of the WFTU condemned all forms of warfare. He said, "the world is going through a phase of extreme intensification of political, economic and military antagonism. The aim is to control and exploit the economic resources of our planet. As always, the people pay the price of imperialist wars
and interventions. After the Russian war in Ukraine, the United States, NATO and the European Union attempted to present the situation as a war between liberalism and authoritarianism. But can their criminal role in the developments be hushed up? So many bloody wars to promote their own selfish, imperialist interests are clearly visible - In Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Cyprus among others. The WFTU is in favour of dissolution of nato, and all military coalitions including economic warfare through sanctions."
The inaugural session saw addresses from leaders of several unions - R Chandrashekharan (vice president, INTUC), Amarjeet Kaur (general secretary, AITUC), Naganath (gen sec, HMS Karnataka), K Soma Shekhar (president, AIUTUC), B Rajendran Nair (national secretary, TUCC), Ashok Ghosh (gen sec, UTUC), Sonia George (SEWA), Clifton D'Rosario
(nat sec, AICCTU) and V Veluswami (nat sec, LPF).
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