Air India, a Govt of India undertaking, has been fully taken over by Tata by today, 27th January 2022. It is sold to Tata for a mere 18,000 crore by the government. with a large number of air fleet, many offices and land assets in centre of big cities, this amount is nothing but less than one tenth of the market price. The government is selling assets of the people one after another.
The 8th General Strike on 21st May 2003.
National Protest day on 14th March 2002.
As per the call of the Central Trade Unions AITUC, BMS, CITU, HMS, TUCC, UTUC and UTUC-LS the following action programmes were organised against the neo-liberal policies and anti-people, anti-worker decisions of the central government:
1. Massive Joint Conventions in the metropolis and industrial centres in February 2002.
2. National Protest Day on 14th March 2002 through massive joint demonstrations.
CPSTU Convention on 5th March 2002 – Strike on 16th April 2002
The All India Convention organised under the auspices of Committee of Public Sector Trade Unions (CPSTU) at Sapru House, New Delhi was participated by a large number of workers from the various PSUs. Com.E.Balanandan(CITU), Chittaranjan (AITUC) and other leaders presided. Com.V.A.N.Namboodiri addressed on behalf of BSNLEU along with many other leaders.
A detailed Resolution against the anti-worker policies of the government with specific mention about the attacks on the working class in various PSUs was adopted by the Convention. It was decided to organise a Countrywide Strike on 16th April 2002, AGAINST:
1. Outright sale or disinvestment of shares of PSUs
2. Downsizing /Retrenchment and uncalled for closure of sick PSUs
3. Attack on TU rights – Pro-employees changes in labor laws
4. Looting the working class and people by heavier tax burden.
The strike was a good success with massive participation.
CTU’s meeting on 15th July 2002
A meeting of Presidents and General Secretaries of Central Trade Unions AITUC, BMS, CITU, HMS, INTUC, AICCTU, TUCC, UTUC and UTUC(LS) as also Independent Federations was held at the the office of the HMS, Babar Road, New Delhi, presided by Com.Umraomal Purohit (HMS).
The Convention unanimously decided to consolidate the unity of the trade unions so far achieved and carry forward the unified struggle in support of the minimum demands in which all the CTUs are in agreement. A National Convention was decided to be held on 15th July 2002 for this purpose. The importance of this meeting was that more central trade unions have joined the common platform.
The National Assembly of Workers on 15th July 2002
On 15th July 2002, the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi witnessed the National Assembly of Workers with more than 5000 representatives who have gathered to chalk out sustained struggles against the anti-labour and wrong economic policies of the NDA government. All the Central Trade Unions except BMS participated. Representatives unions of Central, State, PSU trade unions were also present.
The National Assembly decided to make the widest mobilisation of the masses against the anti-people policies of the government. V.A.N.Namboodiri participated and addressed representing telecom workers. The following action programmes were decided:
1. 19th August 2002 to be observed as Day of Pledge with continuous propaganda from 19th to 24th August 2002.
2. District level mobilisation on 23-28 September 2002
3. State level joint rallies on 18-23 November 2002
4. Massive Sathyagraha in all states.
These programmes were organised with massive participation.
Workers March to Parliament on 26th February 2002.
As per the call of the AICCTU, AITUC, CITU, HMS, INTUC, TUCC, UTUC, UTUC (LS) and Independent Federations, lakhs of workers from all parts of India marched towards Parliament on 26-02-2003 protesting against the wrong policies of the government and focussing on the demands of the workers. About 300 comrades from BSNLEU also participated. The march was stopped at the Ranjt Singh Flyover by police, where the rally was held. M.K.Pandhe, (CITU), Umraomal Purohit (HMS), Gurudas Dasgupta (AITUC) and other leaders addressed.
A detailed resolution was adopted against the anti-people policies of the government. It was decided to hold a wider consultation meeting on 12th March 2003 to decide the date of the strike and other details of the Charter of Demands.
The National Consultation Meeting of Trade Unions held on 12th March 2003 at New Delhi finalised the Charter of Demands and called upon the workers to go on a Countrywide General strike on 21st May 2003 with intensive campaign and preparatory action programmes.
The Eight General Strike on 21-05-2003
The General Strike on 21st May 2003 was participated by crores of workers, the biggest strike since the struggle started against the neo-liberal policies. Even the national dailies reported the strike in a very positive way mentioning about its success.
Com.E.M.Sasi (65), youngest son of Com. EMS Namboodiripad passed away today at Mumbai due to heart attack. Heartfelt condolences.
- The Sixth General Strike on 11th May 2000
NPMO All India convention on 20-01- 2000
An All India Convention called by the National Platform of Mass Organisations was held at Constitution Club Hall on 20th January 2000. More than 5000 delegates from Central- State Government-Public Sector, Kisan, Agricultural , Youth , Students, Women etc. participated.
The Presidium included Coms. E.Balanandan (CITU), J.Chitharanjan (AITUC), A.D.Nagpal (HMS), Swapan Roy (UTUC), N.N.Krishna Das (DYFI), V.A.N.Namboodiri (Telecom) and others. The Convention was addressed by Coms M.K.Pandhe (CITU), A.B.Bardhan (AITUC) K.Varadarjan (Kisan Sabha), A.Vijaya Raghavan (Agricultural Workers Union), Brinda Karat (AIDWA), S.K.Vyas (Confederation) R.L.Bhattacharjee (NFPE) and others. In his speech Com. VAN announced the decision of telecom workers to go on One Day Strike on 15th February 2000 against corporatisation, which was received with loud cheers.
The Convention adopted a detailed Resolution calling upon the mass organisations to organise country wide campaign and agitational programmes against the neo-liberal, anti-people policies being implemented by the BJP government. A Charter of Demands on major issues was adopted with the following programme of action:
- Holding of State district level conventions by February 2000
- Massive Rally before Parliament on 9th March 2000.
- Countrywide General Strike during Budget Session, the date of which will be decided later.
National Convention of Central Govt. Employees and Workers.
A National Convention of the CG E and W was held at New Delhi on 8th March 2000 to discuss about the Parliament March and also to take decision on the Charter of Demands for the strike. The Convention was presided by Coms. Barda Bhattacharya, T.Narayanan, V.A.N.Namboodiri and others. The Convention was addressed by leaders of CG employees including Coms S.K.Vyas, K.K.N.Kutty, R.L.Bhattacharjee, VAN and other leaders. The Convention gave a call to organise 19th April as Anti-Down Sizing Day.
Workers March to Parliament on 9th March 2000
The massive March to Parliament organised under the auspices of the National Platform of Mass Organisations was attended by tens of thousands of workers. National leaders of trade Unions addressed the Rally held at the conclusion of the March. The Rally called upon the workers to organise One Day General Strike on 11th May 2000 on the Charter of demands already approved in the earlier Convention.
The General Strike on 11th May 2000.
It was a mighty and extremely successful General Strike on 11th May 2000. In Assam, W.Bengal, Kerala, Bihar and A.P., the strike was converted in to a bandh. The train services in many states were stopped by picketting. In all the states strike was widespread. More than 2.5 crore workers participated all over India.
The Strike had its echo in the Parliament. 175 M.P.s belonging to CPI(M), CPI,RSP, Forward Block, RJD, SP, NCP, AIADMK, BSP, AGP,RPI, Muslim League and JD(S) observed Dharna at the main entrance of the Parliament House. Though demanded for a discussion in the Parliament, it was denied by the government. Hence the proceedings were stalled.
The strike has shown that the working class with the support of the people are determined to fight against the disastrous economic policies of the BJP Government. The General strike was a warning to the government of sustained struggles for achievement the demands of the workers.
.The Fifth General Strike on 11th December 1998
National Convention of Mass Organisations on 15th July 1995
A National Convention of mass organisation of workers, peasants, agricultural wokers, women, youth, students, employees and other sections of working people was held at Mavlankar Hall, New Delhi on 15th July 1995 to discuss about the serious situation arising out of the disastrous economic and industrial policy of the government which was creating havoc in the country as a whole. The Convention was attended by thousands from all over the country.
It reviewed the earlier struggles by the working class and the present situation arising out of the anti-people policies of the government. Bitter result of the GATT agreement could be seen by increased exploitation and loot of the people. The new economic policy has brought much hardship. There is not a single section of the working people who remain unaffected by them.
The public distribution system has virtually collapsed. Number of unemployed are increasing. Due to closure of industries more than one crore twenty four lakhs workers are rendered jobless. Unemployment in rural areas are much more.
Reduction in agricultural subsidy has seriously and adversely affected the peasants. Public Sector Units are being closed or disinvested. Giant foreign companies are capturing the markets.
Communal forces have become more agressive, with the government sitting silent. Women are the worst sufferers due to the new economic policy. Attacks on trade union and democratic funactioning continue.
After speeches by the national leaders and discussion, a Charter of Demands including all major demands was adopted with the following agitational programmes:
- State/District level conventions by September 1995.
- Protest Rallies in District head Quarters on 15th September.
- Organising Padayatras in states.
- Massive Dharna in front of Parliament in November 1995.
- Preparing for a Nationwide industrial and other actions by all constituents of the National Platform of mass Organisations.
The programmes were implemented effectively.
Another National Convention under the auspices of the National Platform of Mass Organisations was held at New Delhi on 12th August 1998 and the following programme of actions was decided:
- Holding of State/District level Conventions to be completed by October 1998
- Massive rallies at State capitals in November 1998.
- Nationawide General Strike on 11th December 1998.
General Strike on 11th December 1998
As per the decision of the National Convention, the General Strike was organised with participation of more than 4 crore workers. It completely paralyed the industrial activity in the country. Industrial workers, employees of Central and State government and public sector, teachers, peasantry, agricultural labourers – all participated in this massive strike action. The Swadeshi, anti-MNC mask of BJP while in opposition was exposed when it came in to power. It was surrendring to the IMF-World Bank combine as like the earlier Congress government.
The successful December 11th General Strike has shown that the workers and common people are determined to resist and defeat the anti-people policies of the government.
- The Fourth General Strike on 29th September 1994
Despite the strong opposition from the workers and their unions against the neo-liberal policy and three general strikes in 1991,1992 and 1993, the central government was moving forward with its IMF prescribed economic policies which was making the life of the people miserable. The Government had signed the diabolic GATT agreement which is a complete sell out of the national interests and provides for unhindered loot of the Indian people by the multinational companies in colloboration with the Indian monopoly capital.The WTO-IMF-World Bank combine continues its exploitation of the third world countries by its anti-people conditionalities for taking loans or getting financial assistance.
The Public Sector was being dismantled systematically by the central government. While sick units are being referred to BIFR, profitmaking PSUs are being disinvested or privatised. Various sectors are indiscriminately opened to greedy multinationals. Many welfare schemes are being winded up resulting in loss of jobs for tens of thousands. Recruitment in central services are almost banned. Unemployment is increasing, with lakhs of youngsters roaming the streets in search of jobs to maintain their families.
Due to strong resistance from the workers, government has been unable to pass the anti-worker Industrial Relations Bill, but the same has not been abandoned. The New Recognition Rules for the Central Government Employees’ Unions will take away many of their existing rights and privileges.
National Convention on 21st June 1994.
The National Convention called by the National Platform of Mass Organisations (NPMO) held on 21st June at Talkatora Stadium New Delhi and attended by thousands of workers nationwide and addressed by the central trade union leaders, discussed all these issues in detail and adopted a lengthy resolution in which the major demands were spelt out and programme of action finalised.
- Extend full support to the All India Dharna before Prime Minister’s Residence on June 22 and the All India Strike of the central PSU workers on 14th July called by the Committee of Public Sector Trade Unions (CPSTU).
- State/District/Industry wise conventions to be completed by middle of August 1994.
- National Protest Week to be organised from 3rd to 9th
- All India Rail Roko on 20th September 94
- Countrywide Torch Light Processions on 27th September
- One Day countrywide General Strike on 29th September 1994.
All the programmes were effectively organised. State Conventions were held with masive participation.
The General Strike on 29th September 1994 was a great success with very good participation nation wide. The central employees, including telecom workers, participated in large numbers. It was a warning to the central government which was continuing its anti-people, anti-worker policies
The Co-ordination Committee of BSNLEU, AIBDPA & BSNL CCWF had given a call for Black Badge wearing Demonstration and submission of Memorandum to the GMs and CGMs on 25-01-2022. The issues raised for the protest action are; (1) Immediate payment of IDA arrears (2) Immediate payment of medical benefits to BSNL retirees (3) Timely holding of LICEs and (4) Immediate payment of wage arrears to the contract workers. However, the situation all over the country is not condusive for conducting the programme due to alarmingly spreading the Omicron variant of Covid-19. Therefore, the Co-ordination Committee has decided to defer the Demonstration on 25-01-2022. The next date of the programme will be announced by the COC in due course based on the positive change of the pandemic situation.
The Third General Strike by Indian Working Class on 9th September 1993
The General Strike called by the Sponsoring Committee of Trade Unions and Independent Federations on 16th June 1992 was a great success. Maximum campaign was organised on the demands finalised by the committee.
However, the central government continued its attack on the working class by imposing restrictions as dictated by the IMF-World Bank combine. The New Economic Policy hit hard all sections of the society. Prices have risen very high increasing poverty of majority of the people. The deregularisation of the economy had strengthened the grip of the capitalists and big business at the cost of the small scale sector. Public sector is being systematically dismantled through disinvestment, privatisation and closure of sick units. The Exit Policy has endangered jobs of millions of workers. Students and youth are facing a bleak future with dwindling job opportunities. Communal and divisive forces are taking upperhand, with the government silent on the attacks on secular, democratic and patriotic forces.
Under these circumstances, sustained struggles by working class with the support of the people at large became unavoidable. The National Convention of Mass Organisations held at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi on 15th April 1993 reviewed the situation after the two General Strikes on 29th November 1991 and 16th June 1992 as also the Massive Rally held before Parliament on 25th November 1992 decided to constitute the “ Platform of Mass Organisations Against Govt.’s Economic Policies and Communalism” and called upon the mass organisations to rally the toiling masses behind the important issues facing the people and workers. A 20 Point Charter of Demands was adopted and the following programmes of action decided:
1.Statewise/ Districtwise etc. Joint Conventions to be completed by 15th June 1993.
2. Statewise Jathas, Padayatras, Rallies, Demonstrations to be completed by July
3. Massive Court Arrrest on 19th August 1993.
4. Bharat Bandh and Countrywide Industrial Strike on 9th September 1993.
A National Convention of the central government employees was held on 12th July 1993 at the Constitution Club, New Delhi participated by more than two hundred delegates from AIRF, NFIR, AIDEF, NDEF, Confederation, NFPE, FNPO, NFTE, FNTO etc. Coms. J.P.Chaubey (AIRF), P.N.Sharma (NFIR), S.K.Vyas (Confederation), Augustine (AIDEF), O.P.Gupta (NFTE), V.A.N.Namboodiri (E.III – NFTE), P.Balakrishnan (NFPE) and other leaders addressed the Convention. The Convention unanimously adopted a resolution calling upon the Central Government Employees to go on strike on 9th September 1993.
Bharat Bandh and General Strike on 9th September 1993.
The Bharat Bandh and General Strike on 9th September 1993 was a grand success. As per the estimates of the Trade Unions, it was much better than the last General Strike on 16th June 1992. The wider participation of the peasants and other rural masses, the youth, women and the students apart, from the working class made the General Strike a historical event. The people came in protest against the New Economic Policy of the Narasimha Rao Government and against forces of Communalism. People raised their voice against the blatant surrender to capitalist pressures and threat to the sovereignty of the country.
The Central government employees all over the country exhibited their determination by an unprecedented extent of participation in the strike through out the country.
40th Anniversary of the Historic General Strike of 19th January 1982
The decision of the BSNL Employees Union to observe the 40th Anniversary of the historic General Strike of 19th January 1982 is a timely decision, especially on the eve of the General Strike being organised on 23-24 February 2022 as per the call of the 10 Central Trade Unions and Independent Federations including that of Central and State Government employees. On this occasion, it will be appropriate to to look in to the reasons that caused the strike in 1982, the demands and the actual strike action all over India.
The General Strike on 19th January 1982
A Working People’s National Convention was held at Bombay on 4th June 1981 under the auspices of the Central Trade Unions to discuss about the grave situation arising out of the anti-people, anti-worker policies of the Central government and to prepare for a serious struggle opposing the same. CITU, AITUC, HMS,BMS, UTUC, TUCC,INTUC (Dara), UTUC (LS) as also about 40 Independent Federations, including that of Central-State Government employees participated. Confederation of CG Employees & Workers and NFPTE were represented by their All India leaders. In all, about 2000 delegates and 1000 visitors participated.
The National Campaign Committee (NCC) of Trade Unions was formed to organise sustained struggles against the attacks on the working class. A 13 point Charter of Demands including supply of essential commodities at reasonable price, remunerative prices for the peasants, minimum wage for agricultural workers, stringent action against black-marketeers, Repeal of National Security Act of 1980 & ESMA 1981, Need based minimum wage for working class, full neutralisation in the cost of living, Bonus to all workers, ban on retrenchment and closures, withdrawal of all victimisation, Recognition of unions on the basis of secret ballot, full guarantee of collective bargaining and trade union rights etc.
The Convention called for agitational programmes including State/Region wise conventions, Rallies all over India on 3rd November 1981, March to Parliament on 23rd November 1981 followed by One Day Token General strike on 19th January 1982.
The March and Rally organised on 23rd November 1981 at the Boat Club was massive, participated by lakhs of workers, including central- state government employees from all parts of India. The workers marched through the streets of New Delhi and assembled at the Boat Club. (At that time, processions and rallies were allowed up to Boat Club, very near to Parliament). A huge pandal was constructed in which the leaders sat and addressed the mammoth rally. After the Inauguration, the central trade union leaders went to the Parliament, submitted the Charter of Demands, returned and addressed the rally.
On the same day, Confederation and NFPTE met and discussed about successfully implementing the strike decision. While the progressive section in NFPTE led by Com. N.J.Iyer, K.Adinarayana and others were for joining the strike called by National campaign Committee, the group led by Com.O.P.Gupta, SG NFPTE was for solidarity action. The SG NFPTE announced that solidarity demonstrations and dharna will be organised. But the progressive section was for strike.
The strike was a big success all over India affecting all sectors. In Kerala and W.Bengal, the entire P and T Workers went on strike. There were partial strikes in other circles also. In all centres, solidarity actions were organised by central government employees. One hour walk-out was observed by Audit and Income Tax employees.
The strike was ruthlessly met by the government. 10 workers were killed on the day and became martyrs. Thousands were awarded with dies-non and break-in-service. It took many years to vacate the victimisation.
The 19th January 1982 strike was a starting point for subsequent united struggles of the working class. The progressive section in NFPTE and Confederation were appreciated by the workers for their correct stand.
40 years are over after the great 1982 united strike. In the last General Strike called by the 10 Central Trade Unions, more than 25 crore workers participated. The central, state and PSU employees also participated in full. The strike in BSNL was full with BSNL Employees Union and other unions calling for strike.
While preparing for the two days General Strike on 23-24th February 2022, the memory of the First general Strike in 1982 will certainly inspire the workers.
The Second General Strike by Central Trade Unions and Independent Federations on 16th June 1992.
The second strike against the anti-people, anti- worker policies of the Central Government was organised on 16th June 1992 as per call of CITU and a few other Central Trade Unions and Independent Federations of CG Employees, State Govt employees etc.
For registering a total opposition to the IMF/World Bank oriented policies, the danger arising out of indiscriminate privatisation of P&T services, PSUs including Banks, LIC etc, closure of govt departments, the strike call was given. The Confederation of CG employees raised the issues of 51% DA Merger, regularisation of EDAs & Casual Labour, implementation of Arbitration Awards etc.,
The central govt employees, as also P&T employees, participated in large numbers in the strike, though the dominating leadership of NFTE was vaccilating. The progressive section in NFTE led by Com. Moni Bose fully participated. Though on the last occasion, full strike was limited to certain circles, this time it was full almost in all telecom circles.
The irritated central government initiated victimisation, but mostly limited to Dies-non and Break-in-service. These were taken by the unions for being vacated.
The number of participants in the second General Strike was much more than in the First General Strike. More and more workers were responding to the strike call given by Central TUs.