The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Naxalite inroads into labour politics

Hindmotor (Hooghly), Oct. 30: A union comprising Naxalites, breakaway leaders of the CPM’s labour front, Citu, and a CPI faction today created ripples in Bengal’s labour politics by defeating the trade union wings of more established parties in two companies in this industrial belt.

The Sangrami Shramik Karmachari Union — former Citu leader Gyan Chakraborty is one of the SSKU leaders — won more than 50 per cent votes in the court-ordered polls yesterday to elect “bargaining agents” for Hindusthan Motors and Hyderabad Industries Limited, signifying the deep inroads made by Naxalite factions in the industrial belt across Hooghly.

Calcutta High Court had ordered the election of bargaining agents, who will now have the sole authority to represent employees in all discussions with the management. Other contenders in the tension-fraught elections, which triggered intense speculation and sent the political temperature in the Hooghly industrial belt soaring, included Citu, Intuc (the labour arm of the Congress) and the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (the BJP’s union).

The SSKU, contesting on the rising-sun symbol, won over 52 per cent votes in Hindustan Motors and nearly 60 per cent of the votes cast by Hyderabad Industries Limited workers. This is the first time that a union influenced by Naxalites has notched up outright wins in two establishments in Bengal’s industrial belt.

Victory over, the SSKU camp said it will stress on the “genuine demands” of workers, besides trying to convince them that work culture had to be improved. “If we are to win the management’s trust and respect, we must work full time every day,” SSKU unit secretary Dipak Bakshi said.

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