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CM rally to close Citu meet

Chennai, Dec. 3: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will address a rally here on December 13 at the close of the 11th all-India conference of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (Citu).

Besides the Bengal chief minister, Citu has roped in top-notch leaders from various central trade unions and ministers from Bengal and Tripura to mark a “defining moment for the trade union movement in the country”.

The five-day conference from December 9 comes in the backdrop of disputes over key labour-related issues, including the Supreme Court’s ruling against workers’ “right to strike”. Veteran Marxist leader and chairman of the conference’s reception committee . Sankariah said 2,200 delegates will attend the meet, besides 52 “fraternal delegates” from 25 countries, including China, Vietnam, North and South Korea, UK, France and South Africa.

For the first time, a delegation from Pakistan will be participating, Citu’s all-India vice-president T.K. Rangarajan said, adding that this diverse representation indicates that the “policies of globalisation and liberalisation have affected all countries” and not just the poor ones.

The conference, being held in Chennai after 24 years, has an added significance in the context of the dismissal of nearly two lakh government employees and teachers by the Jayalalithaa government and her offensive against the media, said W.R. Varadarajan and A.K. Padmanabhan, Citu’s all-India secretaries.

A large plot of private land just outside the city limits has been rented for the meet to be addressed by Bhattacharjee and other leaders as Chennai police have banned rallies and processions within Chennai, the leaders said.

Pointing out that Citu’s membership has grown from 8 lakh in 1970 — when the trade union was founded — to 34 lakh, the duo said the conference would review the “important developments and movements” since its last all-India meeting in Hyderabad.

After the inauguration of the conference, the participants will break into six groups to discuss threadbare “imperialism, globalisation and national sovereignty, unemployment, fight for genuine social security, child labour, attacks on the rights of workers and problems related to the unorganised sector”, the Citu leaders said.

There will also be a discussion and a declaration adopted on problems faced by working women, they added.

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