CONFEDERATION OF CENTRAL GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES & WORKERS
REPORT ON THE TWO-DAY ALL INDIA WOMEN’S WORKSHOP
HELD AT HYDERABAD ON 9-10 OF OCTOBER 2015
Mehadi Manzil, Income Tax employees Quarters located at Hyderabad has been the buzz of activity with reverberating assertive voice of the women employees of the various Departments of the Central Government, who congregated from all over the country for a two-day workshop. This workshop is organized under the aegis of Confederation of Central Government employees and workers.
The programme commenced with the hoisting of Confederation Flag by Com. Usha Bonepalli, Chair Person, Women’s Sub-Committee accompanied by com. R. Seethalakshmi, Convenor, Women’s Sub-Committee. Led by Com. M. Krishnan, Secretary General, Confederation all the Secretariat members and women delegates paid floral tributes to Com. S. K. Vyasji and other martyrs.
Inaugural Session on 09-10-2015 commenced with the warm welcome address by Com. V. Nageswara Rao, General Secretary, Confederation of AP and Telangana State. Com. Usha Bonepalli with her thought provoking Presidential address set the tone of the Workshop.
Com. Hemalatha, Convenor, All India Working Women’s Coordination & National Secretary, CITU inaugurated the Workshop with her insightful address on the topic “ Indian Working Class – Challenges and Our Task”. Com. Hemalatha, recapitulating the tremendous success of the nationwide Strike on 2nd September 2015, probed the reasons for relating the demands of the strike by different sections of the society and the working class. The strike call was given by 11 Central Trade Unions, independent Federations and Associations.
The last minute of withdrawal by BMS saying that they are satisfied with the positive response of the Government is most unfortunate. The ground reality on the price rise, the minimum wages, bonus, FDI, contract workers, casual workers is entirely different and there is no positive response from the government. Government is openly and brazenly going ahead with the anti worker policies with increased pace.
The participation of the large sections of the people and workers in the strike gauges the resentment of the people at large and workers and employees in particular. The price rise posed a big threat to the women and common worker. The issue of minimum wage is very important issue for the lakhs of Asha workers numbering one crore are not paid any wage by the Government. They are paid only incentive ranging from Rupees 2000 to 3000. The other demands like Casualization, Contract and Out sourcing, Amendment to Labour Laws, FDI in Railways & Defence etc are the issues which are affecting the employees and common people alike. Com. Hemalatha identifying the connecting factor of all these ills, exhorted the employees to fight against that root cause. The germination of all these demands of the workers is the “policy of the successive governments”. The content of the policy has to be understood and attacked. The names coined to dress these policies are very attractive. The phrases like Structural changes, De-regulation, Empowering, Reform etc are deceptive. These policies originated from the philosophy of neo-liberal economics were implemented by the previous governments and being implemented by the Government of the present day more vigorously are the root cause of the misery of the common people and workers. The Trade unions, which are opposing these policies, are branded as anti-development. The result of implementation of these policies is maximization of profit to the national and multinational corporates and reduction of share of wages, joblessness, casualization and controctorisation of permanent employment pushing the large sections of the society to poverty and insecurity.
The biggest challenge to the working class now is to establish the credentials that it is not anti-development. The perception and vision of the development of the rulers is not in the interest of the majority of the population of this country. The Trade Unions are questioning this lopsided development.
The present day labour laws are not applicable to the 94% of the workforce of this country. Now the present Government wants to even deprive the 6% of the workforce the protection of the labour laws. To tilt the balance in favour of the few industrialists and give them the unchecked power to hire and fire the amendments to the existing labour laws are proposed. The untiring effort of the government to amend the Land Acquisition Act is only to favour the corporates. The proposed amendment of labour laws is intended to ban the strikes with the threat to impose a fine of Rs.25000 to 50000 and jail term for going on strike and for encouraging the strike.
Com. Hemalatha, in her analytical address appealed to the workers and employees to face this challenge by safeguarding the unity in spite of the attempts to divide the workers in the name of religion, region community, caste, gender and language. The unity emerged at the national level, she said that, should percolate to the grass root level. The unity should be achieved by crossing the barriers of organized, unorganized, central, state and private employees. Concluding her speech com. Hemalatha gave a call to the entire women employee to play a larger role in building up such a united movement to safeguard the interest of this country.
The Second lecture is delivered by an eminent and well-known Social Scientist Professor, G. Haragopal, Fellow ICSSR, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and a visiting Professor National School of Law, Bengaluru. His talk is on “Neo-liberal economic model – Women”. In his inimitable way he explained how the assumption of the capitalist philosophy that the human beings are driven by self-interest. They are self centered, egoistic, autonomous is erroneous and more particularly in the case of women. Women gives life, nurtures that life sacrificing everything and by any stretch of imagination women can be called a human being driven by self-interest. He explained how the capitalism rocks the women of her essence, dignity and equality. He thoroughly exposed the hollowness of the assumption of the capitalism that human beings are driven by self-interest etc. In the Capitalism the labour of millions of women is going unrecognized because of the value system. The violence against the women became structural. Patriarchal values extended to work place and harassed and attacked the women dignity. The neo-liberal model has gone one step ahead and defined human being selfish and concern for others come from the weakness of the incomplete human being. It replaced the meaningful life with comfortable life. It has dehumanized the human being. Such philosophy is dangerous and more disasters for women. In that frame work every relationship becomes a commodity. Prof Haragopal very emphatically declared that the neo-liberal economic model is the negation of the essence of human life and hence it has to be discarded. Human beings should work for collectivism and for a better society. Women are by nature humane. They should not only humanize the family but also should act change agents to make the society a better place to live in.
In the afternoon session, Ms. Shyamasundari, Advocate has taken a class on the awareness on the women’s Law. She has explained the various legal provisions and constitutional rights of women.
Com. Mallu Swarajyam, the living legend of Telangana Armed Struggle addressed the women delegates and inspired them. She narrated how the common people including women fought the injustice and atrocities of the landlords, Zamindars and Nizam. She described the valiant fight of the great women Ilamma to protect her four acre land. She exhorted all women to fight the present day exploitation with determination.
The first day session concluded with scintillating street play “Veera Telangana – The Peasants Armed Struggle” by Praja Natya Mandali.
The Second day of the Workshop is presided by Com. Seethalakshimi. She has brilliantly narrated the present day problems of the women and need for participation of women in the union activities.
Com. Girija, Assistant General Secretary, All India Insurance Employees Association has taken class on the topic “Role of Women in Trade Union and Society.” She has narrated how the working women are subjected to discrimination. She told about the absence of Committees at many work places against the Sexual harassment of women. She vividly explained the need for women to jointly fight with men against the anti-employee policies. She emphasized the need for women to take part in the union activities and responsibilities. Com. KKN, Kutty, President addressed the delegates and briefed the latest developments. He stressed the need for making the struggle on the demands of the central government employees a grand success by active participation of the women comrades. In the interactive session all the members of Secretariat of Confederation spoke and greeted the delegates. Women delegates from various states participated in the discussion and expressed their opinion. About 20 delegates addressed the workshop with clarity of thought, conviction and confidence. About 200 delegates attend the workshop. The youngest delegate is 24years of age and the oldest delegate is 59 years of age. The Workshop ended with vote of thanks by Com. Manushi Choudary, Member of Women’s Sub-Committee, NFPE.
The entire proceedings were conducted in a disciplined manner. The enthusiasm shown by the women delegates, their involvement and participation proved that the purpose of the workshop is attained. The Reception Committee made all the arrangements for stay and to conduct the workshop in a serene and congenial atmosphere. It is sure that the Hyderabad Workshop shall be remembered for its rich content, hospitality and brilliant participation for times to come.