The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Citu stands by right to strike

Malda, Dec. 27: It may not quite gell with Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s “no-strike” industrial policy. But then, Citu, the CPM’s powerful trade union, is known to do what it thinks right for it, not necessarily for the state.

“You prepare yourself to shut down the banks, colliers, railways and telecommunications. It is necessary to teach the Centre a lesson for its anti-labour industrial policy,” Citu general secretary Chittabrata Majumder said here today, inaugurating a state conference of the State Electricity Board Workmen’s Union.

Bhattacharjee and his power minister Mrinal Banerjee, who are both known for their pro-reform stance, will address the workers tomorrow.

The trade union leader asked the workers to “put pressure on the Centre and create a crisis” by shutting down the vital services. “Otherwise, the country will have to pay a heavy price for the Centre’s anti-labour economic and industrial policy,” Majumder said.

He called on the workers to join in a “march to Parliament” on February 26, 2003, organised to protest the Centre’s policy. “There is no alternative to militant trade unionism. Trade unions must unite to protect the right to strike and oppose the menace of globalisation,” he said, to a burst of applause. The leader said globalisation “promoted the cause of the capitalists and foreign investments can never strengthen the economy of our country”.

He said it was the “fundamental right” of the workers to strike and the Centre was trying to do away with the rights.

The Citu leader saw a “design” in the propaganda against the government undertakings. “There is no basis in the campaign that the state-run units are only making losses and private companies earning profits,” he said.

Majumder said no country could “stand on its feet” unless it had enough domestic investment. He said foreign investments could never make a country self-reliant. But at the same time, he said foreign capital could provide more jobs.

The trade union leader said the World Bank was selling “wrong” theories in its own interest. He said elimination of poverty was the only way to develop a country. “When we distribute land to the landless peasants, the rural economy gets a boost. But the BJP government is heading in the opposite direction,” he said. “The BJP government’s policy is to close down industries, laying off employees and withdrawing agricultural subsidies.”

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