STRIKE IS OVER, BUT THE STRUGGLE WILL CONTINUE.
WE ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH
The two days historic strike that shook the country is over. About twelve crores workers participated in the strike. About ten lakhs Central Government employees including five lakhs postal and RMS employees joined the mass upsurge of the Indian working class. In many states the strike turned into total bundh and in other parts of the country also it affected all the sectors of industry and other service sectors. The total unity and commitment exhibited by the entire trade unions has no parallel in the history of our country.
The Central Government tried to ignore or underestimate the strike in the initial stage. But the largest mobilistaion of the workers throughout the length and breadth of the country, compelled the Government to negotiate with the leaders at last minute. The first round discussion held with the cabinet Minister for labour, Sri Mallikarjun Kharge and second round discussion with the Group of Cabinet Ministers headed by Sri. A. K. Antony, Defence Minister, failed as the Government simply sought more time and was not ready to settle any of the demands raised by the unions and appealed the leaders to call off the strike. The Secretary, Department of Posts also made a similar appeal to call off the strike, even when the main demands raised by the Postal JCA (NFPE & FNPO) remained unsettled.
In addition to the demands raised by the Central Trade Unions, the Confederation of Central Government Employees& Workers and the Postal JCA has raised the demands of constitution of seventh Central Pay Commission, merger of 50% DA with pay, removing the restriction on compassionate appointments, filing up of all vacant posts, Departmentalization of GDS and related issues, Revision of wages of casual labourers and regularization, scrapping of PFRDA bill, raising the bonus ceiling limit, grant of five promotions, OTA revision, abolition of posts, outsourcing, contractorisation, privatization, cadre restructuring etc. also in the strike notice served to the Government and the Department of Posts. Government was not ready to settle any of the above demands and hence the question of calling off the strike did not arise at all.
In the Postal the strike was conducted under the banner of Joint council of action (JCA) comprising NFPE& FNPO. The Strike was near total in majority of the circles and about 60 to 80% in the remaining circles. The entire Postal and RMS services were paralysed for two days. Both Departmental employees and Gramin Dak Sevaks exhibited perfect unity in the strike. NFPE and its affiliated unions including GDS had already conducted a one day strike on 12th December 2012. Naturally, there was apprehension about successfully organizing two days strike within a short span of two months. But the mass scale participation of the employees in the two days strike proved that workers are ready even for still higher form of action, if the Government is not ready to settle their genuine and legitimate demands.
What next is the question before us and working class of our country. Even though the two days strike is over, we have no other go, except carrying forward the struggle with added vigour taking inspiration from the mass sanction and determination of the workers at large. There is no short cut. As correctly pointed out by Late Com. K. G. Bose who revolutionized the P&T Trade union movement- “the organized trade union movement has drawn lessons that all illusions about the Government policies should be given up and has come to the conclusion that it is not a question of appealing to the sense of injustices of the Government, but the relative strength of the organized movement and the forces combating it, which will decide their future”.
The Government and the ruling class will try their best to implement their policies by retaining the power and their supremacy over the people of the country and working class. But history has taught us that they cannot continue their anti-people, anti-worker policies forever. A day will come and the balance of power will definitely change in favour of the toiling masses of this country and the ruling class and their neoliberal policies will be thrown to the dustbin of history and an alternative force with alternative policies shall emerge defeating the policies of the present day ruling class. The alternative policy will never be the imperialist globalization polices. It will be a policy which will lead us to the path of socialism. That day shall come, no sooner than later. Such a change is not easy. We have to suffer and be ready for bigger sacrifices. NFPE is committed to this task.
The power-that-be should not be under the illusions that the working class will not go for another strike in the near future. They should clearly understand that-“the fire that is burning with flames and the fire that is burning beneath the ashes, are both fire”. The fire beneath the ashes may burst out at any time again as a wild fire. The growing anger, protest and discontentment among the common people and workers may burst out at any time. No Government on earth can withstand such a mass upsurge of the common people and the toiling masses. Government should take note of the writings on the wall. Brutal killing of the workers, severe victimizations and using the force to suppress the protest, may not succeed.
Comrades, the path before us is not full of roses, but full of obstacles and of sufferings. But we are sure that at the end of the tunnel, there will be light. If winter comes, can they prevent the onset of the spring? Let us move forward unitedly with the working class of our country and let us loudly proclaim without any hesitation that – “We are on the right path”.