By Abhiram Rajesh
KOCHI: The eighth annual conference of the Kerala Security Employees Union (KSEU) was held on January 13 and 14 in Ernakulam. KSEU is affiliated to All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC). KSEU president K Vijayan Pillai initiated the proceedings with the hoisting of the Red Flag in the presence of AITUC general secretary Amarjeet Kaur.
Amarjeet Kaur officially inaugurated the two-day conference. She said that the Covid lockdowns exposed capitalist exploitation worldwide, including India. While welfare and socialist states like Cuba led from the front to resist a pandemic, big corporate houses made huge profits. Their profit margins increased incessantly and their wealth expanded ten-fold, though the corporate contributed nothing for the welfare of the public and even their workers.
She said on the other hand, the workers worked tirelessly. They ensured a continuous supply of water, electricity and so on. Despite this, the issues of the working class in the country were ignored. She criticised the central government’s discriminatory Covid measures. She remarked that its decision to enact the Disaster Management Act instead of a Health Emergency measure turned out to be a ‘controlling mechanism’ and was not done with people’s welfare in mind, but only for political gains. The result was a further widening gap between the rich and the poor.
“While common people and working class were suffering from the damaging effects of the pandemic, instead of helping them, the BJP government announced special packages for its corporate friends”. She also pointed out that this is the time to increase the struggle against capitalism and struggle for a socialist state.
She also mentioned that the LDF government in Kerala is an exemplary example of how a government can and should work for the welfare of ordinary people and workers. The community kitchen scheme implemented in the state is a perfect example. Contrary to the negligence of the central government and other state governments, the LDF government took extra care to ensure the safe passage of migrant workers. Even during a pandemic, the Kerala government provided welfare pension to the poor without any disruption.
The country’s economy is in shambles and the only solution the government has is to sellout everything. Even education and healthcare sectors are not being spared from privatisation. She also said that the National Monetisation Pipeline Scheme (NPS) is meant to sell away the country’s natural and national resources.
Citing examples of how many right-wing leaders are roaming around despite their hateful comments in the Haridwar Dharam Sansad, she reminded that the country’s Constitution is under attack. She said that the test of democracy depends on the trade unions.
She also remarked that the central government’s efforts to alter the labour laws and the codification of labour laws would be detrimental for the workers and their unions. It should be strongly opposed. The unions should fight and win their rights no matter which ever government is in power. Citing examples from the glorious struggles from the past led by AITUC, she said that nothing would be served on the plate, and it is time for workers to struggle and win their rights. Lessons must be learnt from the farmers’ movement.
Furthermore, the trade unions haven’t been successful in conveying the damaging effects of the proposed labour laws to the local union leaders, union members, the community or the public in general. She underlined the importance of trade union education among the cadres of the security union. They need to be aware of the dangers in the country today and in society so that they can act to defend the rights of not only their own but also those of all sections of society.
AITUC state general secretary K P Rajendran delivered the keynote address. In his speech, he compared the minimum wages pronounced in the new labour code and the present minimum wages given in Kerala. While the former is just Rs 200, the latter is with a minimum of Rs 600. He also spoke about how determined AITUC was in securing gratuity for Indians. He said that the KSEU should also carry on its winning momentum from 2021 to the New Year. He announced that the central government’s proposed new labour codes would be strongly opposed and defeated.
KSEU president K.Vijayan Pillai presided over the conference. AITUC state President J Udayabhanu, state secretary K C Jayapalan, MPA chairperson Kamala Sadhanandhan, K Ajith also addressed the conference. The working report of KSEU was tabled by K B Haneefa, its general secretary. (IPA Service)