WFTO LETTER TO INDIAN PRIME MINISTER
WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS
Athens, February 24, 2012
Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon. Prime Minister,
Government of India, New Delhi, India
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
We address you this communication from the World Federation of Trade Unions, the premier International Trade Union organization representing workers in 120 countries from all the continents. Needless to add that we also represent about 10 million workers in India encompassing major Central Trade Unions like AITUC and CITU as well as TUCC, AICCTU, AIUTUC etc. besides number of workers in various sectors and industries.
We are concerned to write to you because we observe that the various economic policies being pursued by Indian Government are adversely impacting the living conditions and livelihood of the common masses of workers. We are aware that India is a fast emerging economy in the world and its more than 400 million workers are a great human asset in shaping the country as a strong and vibrant economy.
But it is distressing and disappointing that the workers are being denied of their legitimate and justified share out of the prosperity and progress. On the other hand workers are confronted with problems of huge job losses, retrenchments and lay-offs, underpayment of wages, elongated working hours, denial of basic trade union rights, violation of labour statutes, outsourcing and contractualsing regular jobs, denial of social security benefits, denial of maternity benefits for women workers, exploitation of unorganized workers, increased peril to jobs and job security, etc. In short workers are being treated unfairly and without equity and justice.
It is also a matter of intrigue that while India is a founder member of ILO, Resolutions like Conventions 87 and 48 relating to right of association and organizing trade unions, etc. are yet to be ratified by the Indian Government.
Further, in the anxiety to pursue the policies of globalization and liberalization, the welfare of workers is being ignored. Labour is said to be an equal partner in development and progress but ostensibly, the scales are not held evenly.
It is in this situation, after repeatedly drawing the attention of the Government to correct the situation and having failed to get any positive outcome, the entire trade union movement and workers class of India has risen as one man to register their stout opposition to these policies through a General Strike on 28, February, 2012.
The fact that all the Central Trade Unions have come together and jointly given the call for the strike action itself is a pointer to the deteriorating conditions of the labour class in India and the concern of the trade unions to espouse their cause. It is expected that nearly 100 million workers will be joining this protest action to press their 10 point charter of demands.
From the World Federation of Trade Unions, we express our full support to the working class of India and total solidarity with the trade unions who have given the call for the strike. We urge upon the Government of India to appreciate the genuine concerns of the trade unions and take all steps to protect the interests of the workers and address the demands of the traded unions.