KOCHI:The regional conference of the International Trade Union Confederation - Asia Pacific (ITUC-AP) has decided to go ahead with organising unity and building workers’ power.
ITUC national president Sanjeev Reddy said the incidence of violation of trade union rights was increasing in the region. The right to organise and bargain collectively is under threat.
According to him, many countries deny their citizens the fundamental rights of ‘freedom of association and collective bargaining’ altogether or curtail them drastically.
The annual survey of the ITUC indicates that hundreds of unionists are assassinated globally for engaging in trade union activities.
“We fully support the global initiative by the ITUC to oppose attempts by employers and governments to deny the legitimate right to strike. We will jointly face such onslaughts on our rights,” Reddy said and alleged that the Union Government had already taken steps to dilute various labour laws. Several multinational enterprises make full use of the leniency of the government to exploit workers.
For us, the only means to effectively respond to the challenges posed by governments and employers is united trade union action. Referring to the decline in membership in trade unions, Reddy opined that the hostile attitude of the governments and employers, growing informal economy, precarious works and the contract labour system were the reasons behind the decline.
There is a section of workers who have hitherto been outside the purview of the trade union movement, including migrant labours, EPZ workers and IT/call centres employees. We have to launch specially targeted organising campaigns to bring such workers into the ambit of trade union movement.
The three-day conference will discuss organising workers in the unorganised sector, uplift of the employees, education and housing. The Land Acquisition Bill of the Central Government will also come up for discussion.
HMS general secretary Harbhajan Sigh Sidhu, ILO director Maria Helena Andre and Seva general secretary Jyoty Makvan participated. The election to the ITUC Asia Pacific Region will be held on Sunday.