Aug. 28: Days after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee criticised Citu, while addressing a galaxy of industrialists in Mumbai, for encouraging militant trade unionism, the organisation’s leadership claimed they would not stand out as a threat to the state’s industrialisation.
“I do not think that Citu is a threat to industrialisation. Our organisation does not indulge in militant trade unionism that hampers production. It is the media that presents us in a poor light,” said state Citu president Shyamal Chakraborty, a transport minister in the Jyoti Basu cabinet.
“The chief minister did not criticise Citu’s role in globalisation and industrialisation while addressing industrialists in Mumbai. The media has misquoted him,” alleged Chakraborty, who attended the 5th state conference of the Citu-affiliated West Bengal Workmen’s Federation — at the Durgapur municipal corporation hall today — along with present transport minister Subhas Chakraborty.
The Bengal Citu president also referred to the resolutions being discussed at the three-day conference of the organisation’s Calcutta district committee in the state capital.
“We are playing positive role in industries, but we have to become more moderate. We have to give up our old forms of movements. The trade union movement is changing all over the world. Demands will have to be settled at the negotiation table,” he said.
“We will not oppose foreign investments, but not at the cost of our own industries. Foreign investment is welcome if it does not hamper our national technologies or interest.”
Chakraborty said he was not aware of a rise in militant trade unionism in the steel and coal belt of Durgapur and Asansol.
On Wednesday, a group of contract workers led by Citu activists ransacked the office of the personnel manager of the RPG-owned Philips Carbon Black Ltd in Durgapur, over the recruitment of contract workers. Trinamul Congress workers got involved in a scuffle with Citu activists, stalling production for hours.
On Thursday, armed miscreants allegedly led by local Citu leader Ajit Pal ransacked the security office of a private sponge-iron factory in Durgapur and beat up the guards. A month ago, Citu workers gheraoed the manager, agent and an engineer — for more than 15 hours — of the Eastern Coalfields Limited’s Shankarpur open-crust mine at Andal.
In Calcutta, leaders expressed serious concern over the fate of state-run Great Eastern Hotel. “The government is not specifying its plan on what to do with the financially crippled hotel,” they said.