Chennai: The working class continues to toil but their wages and earnings are shrinking day by day, as governments across the world, including the Narendra Modi government, continue to favour the super-rich, K Hemalatha, president of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) said here on Thursday.
Inaugurating CITU’s 16th national conference here, Hemalatha called upon workers to intensify their struggle against the anti-worker policies of the Modi government.
"The last three decades of neo-liberalism has adversely impacted the workers. The wages of workers are stagnated and even declined in some countries in spite of their productivity increasing consistently. The super-rich continue to amass wealth, she added.
The CITU conference is being held on the golden jubilee year of the founding of the trade union and the centenary of the founding of the first central trade union in the country. The conference also gains importance as attacks on the working class and labour rights are rising under the current regime led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Speaking on the importance of the conference being held in Chennai, A K Padmanabhan, vice-president of CITU, said: "The 16th conference being held now in Chennai is historically important in two aspects. The centenary of the trade union movement in India and golden jubilee of CITU is being celebrated this year.”
Padmanbhan also pointed out that working people had been continuously on the streets protesting against government policies, joined by other sections of the society.
The Chennai CITU conference is being attended by over 2,000 delegates across sectors, such as banking, telecom, defence, construction, coal, scheme workers among others.
Addressing the conference, Tapan Sen, CITU general secretary, said: "Declining industrial production had resulted in the loss of livelihood of millions of people. The increasing unemployment since the last 45 years has further aggravated the poverty level. The ruling party has managed to divert the public from these major issues through their divisive policies. The measures taken by the government have not made any positive impact on the public while it has played in favour of the corporates."
Earlier, the inaugural session of the conference was greeted by the president of World Federation of Trade Unions, Michael Makwayiba, as well as leaders of other central trade unions.
On the first day, the conference passed a resolution moved by Hemalatha in solidarity with the French rail and road transport workers who are on strike for over 50 days, demanding the withdrawal of the changes in the pension policy in the name of ‘pension reforms’.
Amid widespread protests across the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), the conference also passed a resolution demanding the repeal of CAA and rejection of NCR and NPR.
Terming the CAA as an assault by the BJP government on the secular foundation of the Constitution of India, the resolution called upon the workers of the country to carry forward the movement, uniting all other toiling and democratic sections of the people till these demands were met.
The opening session of CITU also passed a resolution in solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir calling for restoration of people ’s and workers’ rights.