Friday, January 16, 2015

India - Coal Miner’s Strike Called Off – Press Release from Khan Mazdoor Karmachari Union (KMKU)

January 11, 2015
Press release issued by union Khan Mazdoor Karmachari Union (KMKU) on the recently concluded Coal miner’s strike, that was called off without any tangible gain for the working class.
Received from
Central Committee Member
KMKU (IFTU-Sarwahara)
Press Release
Khan Mazdoor Karmachari Union (affiliated to Indian Federation of Trade Unions – Sarwahara) expresses its following concerns and comments on the Coal India workers’ strike that unfortunately has already been called off abruptly in the middle on flimsy grounds and without any tangible gain except for few hollow, useless and old assurances given by the Coal Minister Piyush Goel
• First of all, we strongly condemn the barbaric lathicharge (baton charge) against the striking coal workers in the Rajmahal area of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL). As is well known, in this barbaric incident three workers have been injured and they are still hospitalised.
• Khan Mazdoor Karmchari Union as also the coal workers at large are aghast at the way the Central Trade Unions’ have called off the successfully ongoing Coal India workers’ strike in the late evening on 7th Jan 2014 itself just on few flimsy, completely unsubstantiated and hollow assurances delivered by Coal Minister in his meeting with five TUs leaders. The minister as well as the leaders of the five TUs is keeping mum on issues pertaining to scraping of Coal Ordinance, stopping of Privatization move of CIL and altogether an end to the system/policy of contractualization of work force in CIL. The Coal Minister reportedly gave an assurance that there was no move on the part of the central govt. to privatize CIL, while the Coal Ordinance unambiguously speaks that ‘a company or a joint venture…may carry on coal mining operations in India in any form either for own consumption, sale or for other purposes in accordance with the permit…’ (quoted from the ordinance) which amply shows the real intention of the govt.
Notwithstanding what the Coal Minister assured the TUs leaders, anyone can clearly see privatization creeping in here in the guise of Coal Ordinance. Only those who don’t want to see can overlook this.
• Apart from this, the way the central TUs ignored the issue of labor laws reform in this strike was also appalling and brought to light their doubtful behavior as well as their collusion with the govt. from the very beginning.
• This has shown that the mainstream Central Trade Unions (BMS, HMS, INTUC, AITUC and CITU etc.)
have already accepted in principle the Coal India Privatization Move of the central Govt. and begging for, in lieu of this, just some safety mechanism in that to befool and hoodwink the belligerent workers and save their faces.
• Not to mention, these were the main issues on which their call of Coal India workers strike gained unprecedented support of the workers even though Central TUs practically did nothing on the ground to make it a successful great event.
• The reason (one of many other reasons, of course) of this is now obvious, as usual. They all (the central TUs-the lackeys of capital) fear an awaken lion (working class) and didn’t ever wish to agitate it and wake up. However, the lion woke up this time. Its natural class instinct forced it to wake up and grab this opportunity to give a strong rebuttal against Modi’s government pro-capital move. We see that a kind of militancy was growing from the second day in the face of state machinery gearing up for using force to tame the strikers as shown amply by the incident of Rajmahal area as also in other areas of CIL. The Lion not only woke up, it was becoming ferocious, too. This caught the central TUs unaware, got their hands and feet swollen out of fear and finally wrote the future course of sheer and openly capitulationalistic actions of the central TUs. They not only ran away from the battle field, but also sided with the enemies of the workers.
• KMKU firmly expresses it deep concern over such developments as, on the one hand, the coal ordinance is definitely a big threat in the direction of Privatization of CIL and, on the other hand, the mainstream central trade Unions are rendering their services not to workers but to the central Govt.
• In Such heavily disturbing circumstances, IFTU and KMKU feels duty bound, on the one hand, to expose the anti-working class character of these Central Trade unions and, on the other hand, place an alternative way i.e. program and platform in front of the Coal India workers to galvanize their anger and actions so that a direct and head on struggle against privatization of CIL and other pro-capitalist moves be launched as soon as possible in the coming days or months.
• We are already out in the open questioning the abrupt withdrawal of the strike and exposing the character of the central TUs. We are also directly calling upon the workers to strengthen IFTU and KMKU as the new alternative fighting center and platform of Coal workers.
• We held on 8th Jan, just the other day of calling off the strike, a “Bhandafor Rally” (exposer rally and compaign) in Kenda Area of ECL, a motorcycle “Bhandafor Rally” in Pandeshwar Area on the same day and yet again a “Bhandafor Rally” in Jhanjra Area on 9th Jan. This will continue in the whole of ECL. We are summoning all our forces at our disposal to quickly go to workers to stop them from falling into depression due to capitulation of central TUs. We have also decided to hold three huge mass meetings in three different areas of ECL. Pamphlets and literature are being prepared to be circulated in huge amount in the whole of ECL. We are also trying to establish connections and contacts with the belligerent workers of other ECL subsidiaries, too.
• We also earnestly and urgently call upon all the other small or big but truly fighting centers and organizations operating in Coal India to immediately get united in joint actions or otherwise with KMKU under the heroic banner of IFTU (sarwahara) so that a strong and powerful coal workers movement be launched in near future, not only to stop privatization per se, but, to coordinate and unite with the workers of all categories and industries so that an all India proletarian offensive against big capitalists and their lackeys, who are hell bent to decimate the workers, be launched and won.
• We sincerely hope that the day is bound to come when the workers of this country along with their fighting allies i.e. the rural proletariat and the small and poor peasantry will win the final battle of freedom, liberty, democracy and socialism in this country.
KMKU (IFTU-S) offers its revolutionary red salute to all the belligerent workers whose actions forced the central TUs to come in their true color!
With Revolutionary Greetings
Central Committee
Khan Mazdoor Karmachari Union
Indian Federation of Trade Unions – Sarwahara
Signed by :
1. Kanai Baranwal, GS, KMKU
2. Damodar, Central Committee Member, KMKU
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