Bengal Jute Mill Workers Union's Conference Calls for Intensified Struggle Against Centre and State Govts
Kolkata: The 67th State Conference of the Bengal Chatkal Mazdoor Union (BCMU) has concluded. As many as 331 men and 13 women delegates from across the state participated in the conference held on May 13 and 14. There were 348 delegates from 58 jute mills in the state.
A total of five resolutions were tabled at the conference, including the demand for repeal of the anti-worker labour code. Putul Biswas was the youngest representative at this conference held at the Premchand Centenary Building in Kakinara, North 24 Parganas; 45 representatives from 50 units participated in the discussion.
The delegates’ discussion revealed that the jute mill owners understood that the central government and the state have the power to protect their interests. However, they pointed out that the workers are being oppressed in the jute mills with the authorities’ direct support, increasing the deprivation of workers and the jute mills owners' comfort. The two governments are attacking people from all walks of life, and the struggle against this must be intensified by building unity among all levels of working people, they said at the conference.
In the editorial report, the state general secretary of the organisation, Anadi Sahu, highlighted the growing picture of exploitation by the owners in the jute mills and said, "The mills were paying different wages. Co-working does not follow the rules of co-pay. The mills are closed at the owner's will. The number of permanent workers is decreasing. The number of contract workers is increasing. The owner is not accepting the demand for the regularisation of workers in the ratio of 90:20%."
"The owner does not want to implement the tripartite agreement. The state government is not putting any pressure on the owner to enforce this agreement. The owner did not pay the salary during the lockdown. PF and gratuities to workers after retirement are not properly paid by the employer. The workers must protest against the repression of the owner. The Centre has repealed 29 labour laws. They are seeking to take away workers’ rights by introducing four labour codes. We have demanded that Shramkov be cancelled," Sahu said.
On Sunday, the public gathering of the conference was held at Jagaddal Golghar Park. CPI(M) State Secretary Mohammad Salim, BCMU newly elected president Anadi Sahu, and other leaders addressed the rally of thousands of workers.
Gargi Chatterjee, secretary of the 24 Parganas district committee of CITU, said, "Modi and Mamata's governments want to take away the rights of workers. All the workers should build a united movement to protect the workers' earned rights."
Addressing the workers’ rally, Md Salim said, "Modi's loot is going on in Delhi, and Didi's loot is going on in the state. Both groups are lying to people to carry out this robbery. These two robbers must be overthrown from the country and the state. The red flag should be strengthened to save the country and the state."
Talking about the situation in the state, Salim said, "BJP will not exist in this state without Trinamool. Mamata Banerjee follows the RSS's Mohan Bhagwat. Mamata Banerjee stepped in to rescue the BJP when it fell into disarray. This Trinamool made it easy for the BJP to win by going to Meghalaya, Goa, and Tripura. There is no TMC in Karnataka. That is why Mamata Banerjee could not reach there. And the BJP lost in Karnataka."
"There was corruption in all recruitment processes in the state. It should be properly investigated. People want to know the truth. A mountain of money has been caught from the houses of the girlfriends of Trinamool leaders and ministers. The investigation is trying to cover up. This corruption has been going on for twelve years. Mamata Banerjee doesn't know it can't be. She wants to live by going to the Supreme Court because he knows everything. Now you won't see any festoons with symbols of integrity. This festoon was first installed by Subhendu Adhikari. Now he is in the BJP. A history of corruption has been made. They want to break the unity of people with religious sentiments. In this regard, Trinamool and the BJP are walking on the same path. This corruption and malfeasance must be put to an end." Salim said.
While inaugurating the conference on Saturday, CITU West Bengal Committee President Subhash Mukherjee said, "The Jute Mill Workers' Struggle Movement has a long political history. In the course of that history, the chattel workers are still continuing their struggle. At present, there is a dire crisis in the jute mill. Central and state governments are indifferent to solving this problem of workers. The exploitation of agile workers is increasing. The owner seeks to maximise profits by changing exploitation strategies. The rights that the workers have gained through long struggles are under attack. At one time, there was a struggle for rights. Now, we have to fight to protect that right.”
He accused PM Modi and CM Mamata Banerjee of being on the same path to take away workers' rights. “They do not work in the interests of workers. These two governments are working to protect the owners' interests and destroying democratic institutions. New industries are not coming up, old industries are either closing down or being sold to private owners. Unemployment is increasing. They do not obey the Constitution. Modi is trying to establish Hindutva independence in the country. They are trying to break the unity of the workers by using the politics of division. There will be a fight to collect the claim. If this struggle is not fought, the exploitation and deprivation of the workers will not end.”
The conference elected Anadi Sahu as President, Gargi Chatterjee as Executive President, Mangal Ben Banshi as General Secretary, Tirthankar Roy as Organising Secretary, Ranjit Mondal as Joint Secretary, Zulfikar Ali as Joint Secretary, and Vishwakarma Yadav as Treasurer. A total of 31 members of the central editorial board and 151 members of the central committee have been elected.
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