REPORT ON 2ND NATIONAL WOMEN’S CONVENTION
OF CONFEDERATION OF CENTRAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES & WORKERS
2nd National Women’s Convention of Confederation of Central Government Employees & Workers was held from 25thNovember, 2013 to 26th November, 2013 at Multi purpose hall, Civic Centre, New Delhi. Pro. Usta Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University inaugurated the Convention. Com. Amarajit Kaur, Secretary, AITUC delivered the key-note address. The inaugural Session is presided by Com. Gita Ghosal, Chairperson of the Women’s Committee. Com. C. P. Shobhana, Convenor of Women’s Committee, Com. S.K. Vyasji, Advisor, Confederation of Central Government Employees And Workers, Com. KKN Kutty, President of CCGEW and Com. M. Krishnan, Secretary General, CCGEW were on the Dias. The Convention commenced with progressive songs by West Bengal delegates. Chairperson announced the constitution of the Credential Committee consisting of Com. Seetha Lakshmi (NFPE), Com. Manisha Mazumdar (Printing & Stationery) Com. Jyothi Samal (Atomic Energy) Com. Jaitha (Audit & Accounts), Com. Nirmala (ITEF) and also the Minutes Committee consisting of Com. Mausumi Majumdar (NFPE) and Com. Laxmi Swaminathan (Civil Accounts).
Prof. Usta Patnaik, in her inaugural address provided a bird’s eye view of the economic model designed by the neo-liberal policies and the resultant misery heaped on the mass of Indian population. In her classic presentation she demolished the arguments of some economists, who glorified the benefits of neo-liberal policies, by quoting the statistics from the database of the National Sample Survey. Undoubtedly top 25% of Indian population enjoyed the goodies as enjoyed by their counterparts in USA and Europe due to the EMI (equated monthly instalments). This is one of the rosy pictures the hegemonists of neo-economic policy present in support of this economic model. If income distribution is analyzed, it will be clear, that majority of the population is exploited for the benefit of the miniscule. The mass of the rural and urban population is pushed to malnutrition. The required calories per day in the rural areas and urban areas are 2200 and 2100 respectively. But the 90% of people living in urban areas are sustaining with below 1800 calories. Compared to the year 1983 the mass of the population is cutting down their food intake of their families and diverting their incomes to meet the raising cost of health, education and transport. This reflects the disgraceful state of affairs even after more than 60 years of Independence. The women employees working in garment factories in the Export Zones are being exploited to the hilt. The daily targets of work are high and hence, the women employees are forced to work for more than 10 hours per day to complete the targets. The toilet break is only for 10 minutes. Frequently drinking of water is not allowed so that no more toilet breaks. No identity cards are given, so that no one establishes the permanency of the job. All these woes came out in a public hearing of women employees who work in garment export zones of Tamilnadu. Agrarian crisis is compounded since the implementation of these neo-liberal economic policies. Compared to the years 2004-05 the economic growth by the year 2009-10 collapsed. Unemployment is in raise. The FRBM Act (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act) introduced in the year 2003 at the behest of World Bank led to the cut in Governmental expenditure. It is estimated that every Rs.100 less spent by Government will result in Rs.500 less in the income of the people. That means the budgetary support will spurt the economic growth. This was killed by FRBM. Agrarian crisis worsened due to non-availability of easy credit for agriculture. Even the nationalized banks replicated the US model of easy credit to buy the consumer goods. Thus the consumer credit is pushed. It aggravated the crisis. All these policies directly or indirectly affected the common people of rural and urban areas including the women. Prof. Usta Patnaik called upon all the women employees to realize these aspects and fight to stop these policies.
With her fiery and powerful keynote address Com. Amarjit Kaur, Secretary, AITUC made a strong case for more and more participation of women employees in Trade Union activities. Taking the cue from Prof. Usta Patnaik speech, she reminded the participants of the Convention of their role as a privileged class in emancipation of the drudgery of large mass of women employees working in unorganized sectors. The women and children working in the slate-manufacturing units of Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are deprived of their basic necessities of life. The children are driven out of schools in search of daily lively hood for the family. The silicosis disease engulfed the prime age of the people of these regions. No health-care for them. No permanent employment for them. The plight of women workers in the Export Zones of Fisheries is horrible. Continuous and untimely work in the saline and cold seawaters has even disturbed the biological order. These contract workers have no rights and even attempt to unionize will not be spared. The women employees working in many such sectors have no maternity leave, not to think of Child Care leave. The crisis in agrarian sector pushed the life of rural population below animal state of living. The “gobar anaj” the grain collected from the dung of the animals for human consumption in areas like Bundhelkhand is the reflection of the shattered Indian economy under the neo-liberal policies of the Rulers. The entire Working Class, keeping the banner inhibitions aside, came together and is waging a battle to defeat these policies. The Women has inherited a rich tradition of fighting spirit from the First Independent battle fought by Rani Jhansi and from the Indian freedom movement. They should assert their role and fight not only for their rights but also fight for the under privileged. Com. Amarjit Kaur exhorted the women employees to take this challenge. She advised the women employees to strengthen the unions and work in the unions. She suggested to organize the women employees by conducting exclusive trade union classes to equip them with the knowledge of the various legislations enacted to safe guard the women employees.
Com. S.K. Vyasji, the Advisor of the CCGEW also opined that the women employees should have the knowledge of all the Acts to defend them selves against the harassment in work places. The grievance cell formation for women in each establishment should be insisted. The unity among the employees is important to fight out the harassment of women employees. He wished the Convention a great success.
Com. KKN Kutty, President, CCGEW has extensively spoken on the charter of demands including the wage revision and merger of D.A. He delved on the situation after the announcement of constitution of 7th Central Pay Commission. Com. KKN gave a Clarion call to all women employees to unite and participate in the future struggles under the banner of CCGEW to realize the Charter of Demands.
Com. Shobana, Convenor, Women’s Committee submitted her report. She told that the Confederation is a strong organization representing the 13 lakh Central Government employees. The restrictions imposed on the grant of CCL are removed to some extent because of the efforts CCGEW. Whatever achievement so far made is possible because of the united struggles waged under the banner of CCGEW. She narrated how the GDS, Casual and Contract workers in the Postal Department are discriminated. The decisions taken in the first Women’s Convention held at Kolkata have been implemented. She requested all the women employees to participate in large number in the ensuing March to Parliament at Delhi on 12-12-2013 and also in all the campaign and struggle programmes of Confederation.
Com. K. P. Rajagopal, Secretary General, Income Tax Employees Federation, Com. M.S.Raja, Secretary General, All India Audit & Accounts Association , Com. I.S.Dabas, Deputy Secretary General, NFPE, Com. Brigu, Secretary General, Civil Accounts Employees Association, greeted the Convention.
About 117 women delegates representing various Organisations from the nook and corner of the country participated in the Convention. The remarkable feature of this 2nd Convention as observed by Com. S.K.Vyasji, is that the women representatives have become more vocal and assertive. In the discussions more than 20 delegated participated and given their suggestions and brought the problems to the notice of the leadership. Removal of age restriction of the children under CCL, extension of CCL on remarriage, grant of CCL to look after the grand children, providing basic amenities at the work place, problems of casual, contract and out-sourced women employees, attacks on women employees in West Bengal, enhancement of minimum age of employment, inclusion of two women representatives from casual and contract workers in the mahila committee, posting women in day shifts, apart from the policy demands of reservation for women in all All India Committees, holding of periodical meetings of the Mahila Sub-Committee are some of the issues raised by the women delegates. Many Women delegates emphasized the need for strengthening the unions and need for inculcation of union spirit among the women employees.
Karnataka Women delegates led by Com. Chandramma Linga Raju, AIPAEA, honoured Com. S.K. Vyasji over a standing ovation given by the entire delegates and guests present in the Convention.
Com. M. Krishnan, Secretary General, CCGEW, summed up the entire proceedings and told that the aim of formation of Mahila sub committee is to encourage the more and more women employees to participate in the decision making process. The Chairperson and the Convener of the Mahila Sub-Committee are members of the National Executive of the Confederation and they are part of decision-making body. He assured that in the coming days more and more women members will be included in the Executive Committees of All India Organisations. He touched all the issues raised in the discussion by the delegates and assured that each and every problem and demand raised by the delegates will be discussed in the Confederation and a separate Women Charter of Demands will be prepared along with the Memorandum to be submitted to the Government and 7th CPC. This Charter and Memorandum will be circulated and published on all the web sites of all organisations and will be given wide publicity and a feedback will be obtained before finalization. He thanked the Delhi CoC for the excellent arrangements made to conduct the Convention in a very good environment.
The new panel for the Mahila sub-Committee has been elected unanimously. Com. Usha Bonepalli, ITEF, Andhra Pradesh has been elected Chairperson and Com. Seetha Laksmi, NFPE, Karnataka, has been elected Convener.
The 2nd National Convention of Women ended successfully with a resolve to work for the strengthening of the Confederation and mobilize the entirety of women employees in the future activities of the Confederation. The confidence and strong determination generated among the women comrades will go a long way for the success of all the future struggles.
NEWLY ELECTED OFFICE BEARERS & EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Chairperson : Com. Usha Boneppalli (ITEF) Andhra Pradesh
Vice Chairperson : Com. Manisha Mazumder (Printing & Stationery) West Bengal
Convenor : Com. R. Seethalakshmy (P4-NFPE) Karnataka
Asst. Convenors : Com. Jyoti Girish Samel (NFAEE Atomic Energy) Mumbai
Com. Gita Bhattacharjee (P-3 NFPE) Delhi
Executive Committee: -
1. Com. Rina Saha, P-3 NFPE (West Bengal)
2. Com. Mausumi Mazumder, P-3 NFPE (Assam)
3. Com. Anitha Thakur, P-4 NFPE (West Bengal)
4. Com. Usha, P-4 NFPE (Kerala)
5. Com. Swathi Roy Bera, R-3 NFPE (West Bengal)
6. Com. Anu Dadiyal, R3 NFPE (Delhi)
7. Com. Meera Vithal Kamble, R4 NFPE (Maharashtra)
8. Com. D. K. Bharathi, Admn Union NFPE (Karnataka)
9. Com. Chandramma Linga Raju, Postal Accts, AIPAE, NFPE (Karnataka)
10. Com. Asha Ben Joshi, AIPEU GDS Union, NFPE (Gujarat)
11. Com. Janaki, AIPEU GDS Union, NFPE (Kerala)
12. Com. Reba Gupta, ITEF (West Bengal)
13. Com. Beena Sharma, ITEF (Delhi)
14. Com. Mandira Ganguly, ITEF (Karnataka)
15. Com. Anju P. Nair, ITEF (Kerala)
16. Com. Neelu Gautham, ITEF (Uttar Pradesh)
17. Com. Jaitha, Audit & Accts Association (Kerala)
18. Com. Vidya Sinha, Audit & Accts. Association (Karnataka)
19. Com. Somas Das, Audit & Accts. Association (West Bengal)
20. Com. Romila Xess, Audit & Accts. Association (Delhi)
21. Com. Nina Kumari Kujur, Audit & Accts. Association (Odisha)
22. Com. Kamalesh Kumari, Civil Accts Emplyoees Assn (Delhi)
23. Com. Aparajitha Roy Choudhari, Civil Accts Emplyiees Assn (West Bengal)
24. Com. Swathi Mangrulkar, Civil Accts Emplyiees Assn (Nagpur, Maharashtra)
25. Com. N. Durga, Civil Accts Emplyiees Assn (Tamilnadu)
26. Com. Beena Ravishankar Nair, NFAEE Atomic Energy (BARC, Mumbai)
27. Com. Nilakshi Y. Gaikward, Civil Accts Emplyiees Assn (BARC, Mumbai)
28. Com. T. Bhakiavady, Health Department (Confederation of Pondicherry State Government Employees Association)
29. Com. A. S. Baby, Sreechitra Medical Centre Staff Union, Trivandum, Kerala
30. Com. Ambika Devadas, Employees Provident Fund Employees Union, (Kerala)
31. Com. Subhadra V. K, Central Industrial Machinery Employees Assn. (Kerala)
32. Com. Jyothi Naidu, IBM Employees Association (Nagpur, Maharashtra)
33. Com. Pushpeshwari Devi, C-O-C, Andhra Pradesh
34. Com. C. Lilly, C-O-C, Kerala
35. Com. Rosamma Thomas, C-O-C, Kerala
36. Com. Angel Sathyanathan, C-O-C, Tamilnadu
37. Com. Chanchal Kumar, C-O-C, Jammu & Kashmir
38. Com. Manju Srivastava, C-O-C, Madhya Pradesh