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City support for Citu on decline
- Union loses 10 per cent of members in three years, not militancy

Calcutta, Aug. 30: The number of Citu members in the city has dipped by nearly 10 per cent.

The Calcutta district committee of the union, which had 1.76 lakh members in 2001 has lost about 16,000 in the past three years, figures released by the union today revealed.

At the end of the 7th conference of the Citu’s district unit, the membership stands at 1.6 lakh. At the end of the fifth conference, a marginal fall of 1,700 had been detected.

Sources said at the root of the shrink in membership is a combination of factors — lock-outs and closures, absence of younger leaders and the union’s inability to confront the Left Front government.

“We are concerned at the fall,” said new Citu president Rajdeo Goala. “The drop is because of closures and lockouts in industrial units. We will have to take effective measures to arrest the decline.”

According to the sources, the dip is also a reflection of the fact that some workers have lost confidence in the Citu as an effective minder of its interests. “For a section of workers, it came through as devoted to the cause of the government than the worker.”

Out of 104 new Citu Calcutta district committee members, only 30 are new faces. But none of them has been inducted to the 22-member working committee, which continues to be crowded with veterans.

Goala said the district committee would work hard to increase membership by 20 per cent in the next three years.

However, even as the Citu’s city membership went down, the number of members across the state went up.

A union leader in the city said: “We could not undertake a sustained movement against Delhi in the interest of an industry-friendly image. After Jyoti Basu, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is striving to create an industry-friendly atmosphere and aggressive unionism is frowned upon. Membership cannot be expected to rise.”

However, strikes and shutdowns are possibly not going to be the way to rejuvenation.

Shibani Sengupta, Citu’s Calcutta vice-president, said: “We are working out a strategy to create jobs. Our activities are not confined to organising bandhs and strikes but exploring the possibility of employment generation. We are confident that the working class will be attracted to our organisation once we succeed in creating jobs for them.”

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