The Inspiring Conference of TUI (P&R) at Kathmandu
The Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the Trade Union International (Pensioners & Retirees) held at Kathmandu on 3rd December 2016 has adopted a detailed Declaration of Demands of the Retirees and Pensioners and also Action Plan for organizing the pensioners in the region.
The Conference was held in the spacious Convention Hall of the Nepal Agricultural Development Bank, Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. The natural beautiful surroundings, the pleasant climate and the very convenient accommodation in the same complex made the stay of the delegates very comfortable. The Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world, towering in the background covered in white pack of ice was a majestic sight.
About a total of about 200 Delegates from India, China, Bangladesh and Nepal participated. From India Comrades K.K.N.Kutty (NCCPA), K.Raghavendran (AIPRPA) participated to in addition to Com.V.A.N.Namboodiri, Member Technical Committee of TUI (P and R), and representing AIBDPA. Delegates from SAIL retirees and AITUC also participated.
The Open Session was held in the morning of 3rd December 2016 presided over by Com. V.N.Nirala, President, REAN (Retired Employees Association of Nepal) which took initiative to hold the Conference. A minute’s silence was observed paying homage to Com. Fidel Castro, the former President of Socialist Cuba and the great Revolutionary leader, who passed away recently and martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of the toiling masses. Com. Ram Sharan Wagle, General Secretary, REAN, welcomed all and honored the guests and leaders on the dais by putting shawls and presenting gifts.
The National Anthem of Nepal, International Song and WFTU Song were sung before start of the Conference. Com.Bamdev Gautam, Former Dy. Prime Minister of Nepal and Sr. Vice – President of Communist Party of Nepal – UML inaugurated the Conference by lighting the ornamental lamp. In his inaugural address, Com. Gautam spoke of the great traditions of Nepal, about Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Budha, about the many hills, plains, lakes, rivers etc. in the country. Nepal has never been colonized in its four thousand years of history, upon which many kings ruled over. A Hindu kingdom, Nepal has converted in to a Federal Republic country in 2006 overthrowing the long rule of kings. It is now declared as a Independent, Sovereign, Federal, Secular Republic with socialism oriented state. The new constitution seeks eradication of exploitation, guarantee of social security etc. He stated that CPN-UML played a great role in this process. He also said, that however, it will take a long time to reach the goals.
The neo-liberalisation has made rich people richer and the poor, poorer. Poverty and employment is growing. Socialism is the final remedy to these ills. He supported the demands of retirees and pensioners and told that they are the wealth of a nation. He wished the Conference all success.
Many leaders of the TUI(P and R), CPN-UML, REAN and leaders of the delegations were present in the dias. The Conference was addressed by Comrades Dimos Koumpouris, President, TUI (P and R), Mohan Bahadur, Vice-President, TUI (P and R), Mohanman Swnar, Finance Committee Member, WFTU, Premal Kumar Khanal, WFTU, Zheng Haixim ACFTU, China and V.A.N.Namboodiri, Tech. Committee, TUI (P and R) and Swapan Kumar (SAIL) and Nizamuddin Patway (Bangladesh). A Souvenir with valuable articles was released in the Conference.
The Delegates Session started about 14.00 hours. Com. Dimos Koumpouris, President TUI, presided. Many delegates addressed the session including Coms. K.K.N.Kutty, K.Raghavendran and V.A.N.Namboodiri from India.
On the basis of the discussion a detailed Declaration was adopted by the house which was presented by Com. Mohan Bahadur, Vice-President, TUI(P and R), giving the back ground of the Conference, the formation of TUI( P and R), the aims and objectives, the work done so far, the need to bring more and more unions/association to the fold of TUI etc., the action plan for the future etc. It mentioned the special needs and current concerns for social security benefits, health care, housing, recreation, transportation, retirement policy, against privatization etc. The declaration reiterated the commitment to fight for the rights of pensioners with the concept of assertive struggle as a way to raise awareness of the causes, which are the essence of capitalist system and the exploitation of man by man.
A Secretariat of the Asian Pacific Region was formed for continuing the work and enlarging the TUI with associations from the other countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia etc.
Com. V.A.N.Namboodiri, on behalf of the Indian delegation, invited the next Conference to be held at New Delhi. President TUI (P and R) assured that the invitation will be considered by the TUI (P and R) head quarters.
A Closing Session was also held after which the conference concluded with shouting of slogans: Long live the Working Class! Long Live the Class Oriented Trade Union Movement! Long Live WFTU! Long Live TUI (P and R)!
Visit to the CPN – UML Office
All the foreign delegates were taken for a tour to the historic Bhaktiarpur City, which has been partly destroyed by earthquake. The delegates were given a warm welcome at the office of the Communist Party of Nepal – UML and a meeting was held there. The President and General Secretary of CPN –UML greeted all. Com. Koumpauris and V.A.N.Namboodiri on behalf of the delegates thanked for the reception.
Reception at TEAN Office
Com.V.A.N.Namboodiri, Patron, BSNLEU was given a warm reception by the Central office bearers of the Telecom Employees Association of Nepal (TEAN) at their HQ Office in the Nepal telecom building. Com. Namboodiri was honoured by a memento and traditional shawl. Coms. Raj Bahadur Rawal, General Secretary, Tankalal Shreshta, Advisor, Sunil Kumar Pokhrel, Worker Director Nepal Telecom and others spoke. Com. Namboodiri thanked all and spoke about the latest developments in BSNL and the struggles being organized by the workers against disinvestment, formation of tower company etc. Com. Namboodiri conveyed the invitation of the General Secretary BSNLEU to TEAN comrades to attend the All India Conference of BSNLEU to be held at Chennai from 31st December 2016 to 3rd January 2017, which they gladly accepted.
The close friendship of BSNLEU and TEAN during the last fifteen years was once again cemented through the present visit.
The Regional Conference was the first meeting of the TUI(P and R) in the region and it is hoped that the organization will benefit and improve with the inspiration and enthusiasm of the Conference.
Our thanks to Retired Employees Association of Nepal and Com. Mohan Bahdur, Vice-President, TUI(P&R), who organized the successful Conference.