(A gist of the speeches delivered by me in the AIC of BSNLEU held at Chennai from 31st December 2016 to 3rd January 2017)
Respected President Com. Balbir Singh, General Secretary Com.P.Abhimanyu, Deputy General Secretary Com. Swapan Chakroborty, Treasurer Com. Saibal Sen Gupta, Vice-Presidents Coms. P.Asoka Babu, Animesh Mitra, K.R.Yadav, B.Narayan, Jagdish Singh, Om Prakash Singh on the dias, CHQ office-bearers, Circle secretaries, Delegates from all parts of the Country, Dear Comrades,
First of all, My Best Wishes for the New Year 2017 to all of you! Let the new year be an year of Better Life to all! We are now in the centenary year of the Great October Revolution, which changed the entire world for the better. The memory of the great Revolutionary Fidel Castro who left us this year, will always inspire us for the forward march!
My Thanks and Greetings to the Reception Committee headed by Comrades T.K.Rengarajan, S.Chellappa, Babu Radhakrishnan, other leaders and workers who have made all arrangements for the conduct of the conference in an excellent way.
We are meeting after two great strikes, one on 2nd September 2016 called by the Central Trade Unions against the anti-worker, anti-people neo-liberal policies of the government and the second on 15th December 2016 by BSNL Employees unitedly against the formation of the Tower Company by fragmenting BSNL. My hearty congratulations to you, BSNLEU leaders and workers for fully participating in both these strikes.
16 years of BSNL Employees Union, since its inception on 22nd March 2001, on the Death Anniversary of the great leader of the Indian Working class Com. A.K.Gopalan, has been a saga of sacrifices and determined struggles to save BSNL and its workers. 16 years – 8 AICs, It shows the democratic functioning of the Union.
BSNLEU has got a great tradition and background. In the background is long period of 50 years of struggle against revisionism, against compromises with the Government – It is a continuation of the great tradition of the more than 100 years of the P and T Trade union movement, led by the Pioneers Henry Barton, Babu Tarapada Mukherjee, V.G.Dalvi, Dada Ghosh, K.G.Bose and others.
Number of BSNL Employees have been reduced from 3.5 lakhs to 2.1 lakh during the last 16 years. Urgent recruitment is required through Regularisation of the casual, contract workers, Compassionate Ground Appointments and regular recruitment from out side. Fresh blood is required. There should be no discrimination against them in pension etc.
BSNL Revival is our main target. ‘Service Before Self’, ‘Service With A Smile’ and ‘Customer Delight’. Best Service to the Customer is our motto for which we are making all out efforts. This should continue.
During the period, we have made major achievements – 78.2% IDA Pension Fixation, Removal of unjustified condition of 60:40 for paying pension by Government, Bonus after 7 years, Change of designations etc.
The immediate task before us is to ensure a better wage revision from 01-01-2017. Removal of Stagnation, Pension Revision, Pension for BSNL Recruited employees – the list is long.
AIBDPA, BSNLCCWF – our sister organisations have to be strengthened. BSNLEU took initiative to build these organisations. The brutal exploitation of casual contract workers should end. Build wide unity of all unions/associations so that BSNL can be saved from the attacks to destroy the same.
P and T Unions always had close international connections. BSNLEU continues the tradition. It is part of WFTU, TUI etc. We shall continue this close relations and learn much from them.
The united fight against anti-people anti-worker policy of the government will continue. There are dark forces working behind to divide the people, create communal tension and so on. The intolerance and autocratic policies have to be defeated.
BSNLEU has got big tasks before it and has to work hard to realise them.
I am staying in Delhi for the last 25 years, a quarter century, attending trade union activities. I came to Delhi after elected as the President of E.III Union in 1991, continued as General Secretary, E.III Union, Founder General Secretary of E.III(N) Union, Founder General Secretary of BSNLEU, President BSNLEU and Patron BSNLEU. I have been the Asst. General Secretary of E.III Union for a long period, till I resigned the post along with Com. Moni Bose and contested in AIC Bhopal. This has been a long period, full of struggles and advancements.
During my 38 years of service, I got the chance to participate in the 5 Days Historic Strike of 1960, One Day Token Strike of 1968, 1974 Bonus Strike and many such all India and local struggles. I had to face severe victimisations like many other comrades – Suspension, arrests, transfer, charge sheets, punishments and so on. I was almost 7 years out of service for participating/leading these strikes and also transferred to Lakshadweep Islands. The history of P and T TU movement is full of such struggles and sacrifices.
In all these activities, I got your full support, love and affection. You Comrades are my strength, you are my inspiration and energy. This camaraderie had given strength to face all eventualities and achieve results.
The sister organisations we built, AIBDPA and BSNLCCWF have become stronger. But more support is required from BSNLEU comrades.
Now I wish to go back to Kerala, to my home. My wife’s health requires a change of of place from Delhi. I seek your permission to shift to Kerala. I am sure you will consent.
Shifting to Kerala does not mean going away from our union activities. I will always be with you and your activities. Thanks to all of you.
“Unity for Struggle, Struggle for Unity, Unity and Struggle for Progress!” (2nd Jan.)
I am overwhelmed by your love and affection showered on me in your speeches appreciating my humble work. It is only with your support and active participation that I could do all these. I am only one of you, a humble worker of the union.
Many of you, in your speeches have requested that I should continue at Delhi as the Patron of the Union. I have already stated yesterday that myself and wife have to return to Calicut. As regards ‘Patron’ of the Union, it was a honour you have bestowed on me while vacating the post of President to comrade Balbir Singh, a comrade of the next generation. We do not have any such post in the Constitution of the Union. I accept your kind gesture, but it will not be proper to continue in the post any further. Declining the post does not mean that I am ignoring your wishes.
I have always followed the correct line taken by our founder leaders. Vacating the positions for the younger generations is the correct line. It may not be out of place to mention here that I worked four terms as Branch Secretary , Four terms as District Secretary, Four terms as Circle Secretary. I worked as Asst.General secretary for two terms in E.III Union. You know that I vacated the post of general Secretary of BSNLEU after four terms, the President after 9two terms, honorary position as Patron for one year. All our great leaders of the past have vacated their positions for the next generation in due time. I have followed their great tradition.
As such let me allow to decline the honorary post of Patron for a second time. Let me also allow to leave Delhi for Kerala, my own state.
With Best Wishes and Revolutionary Greetings!
BSNLEU Zindabad! Workers Unity Zindabad! Inquilab Zindabad!
(Reply to the presentation of momento and honouring at the end of the AIC on 03-01-2017)