HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS TO COM.P.ABHIMANYU FOR HAVING BEEN ELECTED AS CONVENOR OF COMMUNICATIONS SECTOR OF TUI.

The 14th Congress of TUI , Transport and Communications held at Istanbul, Turkey on 1-2 March, 2019 has elected Com.P.Abhimanyu as Convenor, Communications Sector. It is a great international recognition not only for Com.P.Abhimanyu for his dynamic leadership in the fight against attack on BSNL and for the genuine demands of the employees but also for the BSNLEU and the entire Indian PSU Telecom Sector.

AIBDPA heartily congratulates Com.P.Abhimanyu for the coveted post and share the joy of all BSNL employees.

TEXT OF SPEECH MADE BY GENERAL SECRETARY IN THE 2ND CONGRESS OF TUI (P&R)

     

Speech delivered by Com.K.G.Jayaraj, General Secretary in the 2nd Congress of Trade Union International (Pensioners & Retirees)  held at Bogota, Colombia on 27-28, February, 2019.

Respected Presidium comrades, Com.Quim Boix, General Secretary, Com.Antonio Forero, President, OCP, other distinguished guests and leaders participating from various countries representing different organizations of pensioners and retirees.

At the outset, on behalf of All India BSNL DOT Pensioners Association, let me extend you all a warm and revolutionary greetings.

I feel proud and privileged to attend and address this second congress of TUI(P&R) and thank the General Secretary and the Organising Committee in Bogota for extending an invitation to AIBDPA. I am happy to mention that we got an opportunity to participate in the foundation congress held at Barcelona on 5-6, February, 2014 in which our Advisor, Com.VAN Namboodiri attended. He was elected Technical Member and also attended the first Asia Pacific Regional conference held at Kathmandu, Nepal on 20th December, 2017.

Pensioners and Retirees are playing an important role in the society in every country and they have become a force to reckon. I take this opportunity to congratulate WFTU for taking the initiative to organize them globally, particularly in the wake of mounting attacks on pension and other benefits in almost all capitalist countries. This situation could be attributed to the adverse impacts of globalization being pursued by these countries. We feel that this could only be resisted successfully with the involvement of the workers of each country, as they are also being targeted in the form of cut in wages, and fortunately such struggles are being waged in these countries, especially in European Union countries.

INDIAN SITUATION.

The government of India started pursuing the neoliberal policies in the year 1991 and its impacts are felt in every sector. Though there had been change of governments during this period no basic changes are made in the policies by the subsequent governments. The only exemption was the period of 2004-06 when the United Progressive Alliance government led by Indian National Congress was supported by the left parties. Even then, there was no major change in the policy but certain limit was insisted by the left parties and also some welfare programmes to the poor people was compelled to be implemented.

ATTACK ON PENSION AND THE BACKGROUND.

Pension in India was first implemented to the government employees in 1871 by the British when India was ruled by them as a colony. Initially it was a contributory pension scheme. Employees had to pay pension contribution during their service. Later in 1925, the Royal Commission appointed by the British government recommended that the entire liability of pension should be borne by the government as the employees had served the government for such a long period during the hey days of their life. The British Parliament accepted the recommendation and was implemented in India . After independence, a constitutional provision was  made in the Constitution for granting statutory pension to the government employees. But necessary pension rules were not framed and instead the pension scheme recommended by Royal Commission was continued from 1950 to 1972.  It is after numerous struggles that comprehensive pension scheme was evolved namely, Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972. This rule,  evolved based on an Indian Constitutional provision, ensured the central government employees statutory pension. However, there existed a big gap between the past pensioners and present pensioners as there was no revision of pension since first pay commission onwards. The government of India introduced a Liberalised Pension Scheme in 1979 but thousands of past pensioners were denied this benefit as it was implemented only with prospective effect. This further aggravated the position of past pensioners. No effective pensioners organization existed during this period in India. So, one of the affected pensioners, D.S.Nakara approached the Supreme Court of India against this gross injustice and got an historic judgment. This was a great morale booster for the pensioners and they started organizing themselves. Other sectors like public sector ,bank and organized workers in private sector are being denied the statutory pension.The government of India was not happy on the intervention of Supreme Court  and started to think about the alternative for statutory defined benefit pension scheme.

The international financial institutions like IMF and World Bank under the control of US imperialism also exerted pressure on Indian government for pension reform. The BJP led NDA government appointed a committee for pension reforms and on the cover of this report the statutory defined benefit pension scheme was replaced with the contributory pension scheme for the employees recruited after 01-01-2004.  It was implemented in a most undemocratic manner, through an executive order, without the approval of the Indian Parliament. The contributory pension scheme envisages recovery of 10% of the pay and Dearness Allowance of the employees per month and equal amount will be contributed by the government. The amount will be entrusted to certain  fund managers and they will invest the amount to the shares of their choice and what may happen is unpredictable. On attaining the age of 60, 60% of the amount available will be given to the employee and the balance 40% will be deposited in an annuity fund. Whatever interest is got from this annuity fund will be given as the monthly pension. Actually, the New Pension Scheme or National Pension Scheme , as it is being called, is virtually a No Pension Scheme. Pension is the great social security and it cannot be subjected to vagaries of stock market.

The New Pension Scheme was stoutly opposed by all the employees organizations and pensioners organizations as well. The resistance movement is being led by Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers and State Government Employees Federation and pensioners movements like NCCPA ,AIBDPA, AIPRPA, CGPA and various State government and PSU Pensioners are joining such struggles.  Meanwhile, the UPA II government, in 2014, managed to get the bill in this regard passed with the active support of the then opposition party, BJP despite strong opposition of the left parties.  The fight against the draconian act is continuing. The New Pension Scheme is also implemented in all the states barring West Bengal. The left front governments in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura had not implemented but when the governments were changed, the Congress and BJP implemented it in Kerala and Tripura, respectively. It is a welcome and significant development that the present Left Democratic government in Kerala has appointed a committee to examine the possibility of replacing the New Pension Scheme with the statutory defined benefit pension scheme.  

It is a pitiable condition that a large section of workers are denied pension or to be content with meager pension called EPF pension. It clearly points to the necessity of introduction of universal pension scheme to ensure pension to all at the fag end of their life. The Left Democratic Government in Kerala is paying pension to all the senior citizens and weaker section of the society a monthly pension of Rs.1200 with marginal increase every year whereas some other states in India like Bihar is paying only a paltry Rs.200.

FUNCTIONING OF AIBDPA.

All India BSNL DOT Pensioners Association was founded by BSNL Employees Union, the majority and recognized Union in BSNL on 21st October, 2009 . By organising numerous struggles independently and working in close association with the workers organizations, we could achieve certain important demands of pension revision for the pre 2007 BSNL retirees, 78.2% IDA fitment and revision  and restoration of quarterly medical allowance . We are also joining the struggles of BSNL unions and Associations against privatization bids of BSNL by the government and other genuine issues of workers and pensioners. We are affiliated with the National Co-Ordination Committee of Pensioners Associations and a dominant participant of its agitations. We also participate in the nationwide struggle and strikes jointly called by the central trade unions like CITU,AITUC, HMS,UTUC, INTUC, LPF ,AICTU etc against the anti-worker and anti-people policies of the government. When the farmers , agricultural workers and the workers joined together and held an impressive rally at New Delhi on 05-09-2018 against the anti-people policy of the government, AIBDPA also joined it in an humble way.

AIBDPA is now in a serious struggle path for pension revision which has become due from  01-01-2017. This demand has also been taken up by All Unions and Associations of BSNL and have conducted a three day strike recently from 18-02-2019.   NCCPA also included this demand in its charter of demands and a phased programme of agitation is being conducted and a massive Hunger Fast will be held at New Delhi on 15-03-2019.

The government of India rejected the only positive recommendation made by the 7th Pay Commission in respect of pensioners; parity in pension between the present and past pensioners. The Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers and NCCPA are continuing the struggle against this gross injustice.

AIBDPA is regularly publishing a quarterly journal, Tele Pensioner for its members and well wishers. It also maintains a website, aibdpa.com, with news, useful information and government orders on important issues.

With its unique style of functioning and moving forward choosing the path of struggle for the settlement of genuine demands, more and more pensioners are joining AIBDPA making it the biggest pensioners organization in BSNL. I am attending this congress just fresh from our 3rd triennial All India Conference held at Kolkata on 23-24, February, 2019 which has taken important decisions.

I hope this Congress will review the functioning of TUI (P&R) for the last five years with critical analysis. No doubt advancement is very much visible; but it has not been up to its potential. We have to widen our base utilizing the guidance of WFTU and through its vast affiliate organizations in each country.

It will be also a welcome initiative by TUI (P&R), if the 2nd Congress give a call for observance of an International Day for Protection of Pension.

I also take this opportunity to congratulate and thank the Colombian Pensioners Organisation for hosting the 2nd Congress and the excellent arrangements made for the successful conduct of the congress.

I wish the second congress all success.

Thank you Comrades.

2ND CONGRESS OF TUI (P&R) HELD AT BOGOTA, COLOMBIA.

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The ancient but beautiful city of Bogota, capital of Colombia hosted the 2nd Congress of Trade Union International (Pensioners & Retirees) on 27-28 February, 2019. Colombian Pensioners Organization (OCP) , Bogota was the organizer and made excellent arrangements for receiving the delegates from various countries, transportation to the hotel for accommodation and very good venue, food etc and the volunteer service worth mentioning.

At the inaugural session Ms.Alicia Arango , Colombian Labour Minister was the centre of attraction, as severe criticism was made by Com.Antonia Ferero, President, OCP against the Colombian government for the murder of 34 trade union leaders and no proper enquiry or arrest of the culprits. The failure of the Colombian government to settle the 7 month old agitation of women workers in the textile manufacturing sector was also exposed. The Minister tried to justify the government narrating the action taken on the issues but was confronted repeatedly by the Colombian delegates.

The detailed reports of Coms. Dimos Koumpouris , President and Quim Boix, General Secretary were presented. The reports of the Financial Commission and Technical & Research Committee were also submitted. 60 international delegates, representing 20 countries along with some among the 90 delegates from Colombia enthusiastically participated in the discussion and of course more delegates from Colombia given opportunity being the host country. Coms.KKN Kutty , Secretary General, NCCPA, K G Jayaraj, General Secretary, AIBDPA and K Raghavendran, General Secretary, AIPRPA consisted the Indian delegation and spoke on the first day itself.  The discussion of delegates from all the 19 countries were almost similar on pension reforms and cut in social expenditure. An entirely different speech was that of Com.Xierura Enrigus of Cuba who reported that the Cuban government is taking measures for improved and decent living conditions for the elders and substantial periodical increase in pension is being given  .  The President and General Secretary spoke on the issues raised in the discussion and presented the draft for expansion of the organisation to more countries and action plan for the future.

Resolutions on various issues, particularly on imperialist intervention to over throw the democratically elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and attack on Colombian trade union leaders and immediate settlement of the women workers agitation were adopted unanimously.

The new set of office bearers were elected unanimously with Com.Dimos Koumpouris from Spain (President) and Com. Quim Boix of Greece (General Secretary).

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Com.K G Jayaraj was elected to the Executive Board and Com. KKN Kutty , Member of Financial Control Commission and Com.K.Raghavendran, Member of Technical & Research Committee.

The congress decided to intensify the struggle against the attack on pension and for a universal pension scheme for all.

The successful congress was concluded  with all the participants singing the international song.

FULL LIST OF OFFICE BEARERS ELECTED IN THE KOLKATA ALL INDIA CONFERENCE.

There has been some delay in updating AIC news as the General Secretary had to rush to Bogota to participate in the 2nd Congress of TUI(P&R) on 27-28 February, 2019 immediately after the conclusion of the conference, which is regretted.

39 comrades have participated in the discussion on the report and organisational issues and General Secretary replied appropriately. Thereafter the report and accounts were approved.

According to the credential report presented by Com.Swastika Dasgupta, 836 delegates  and 123  observers participated in the conference out of which 53 were lady comrades. 26 circles have been represented and nobody could attend from J&K Circle due the peculiar situation prevailing there; Himachal PradeshCircle is defunct.

Resolutions presented by Com.P.Asokababu on Pension revision, Revival of BSNL, BSNL MRS, Communal harmony, Attack on democracy, 3 days strike by AUAB, Policy and programme with charter of demands and Congratulating Reception Committee were adopted unanimously.

Certain amendments to the constitution approved by the Central Executive Committee were ratified by the conference.

The conference decided to organise a Sanchar Bhawan March on 15-03-2019 demanding implementation of the assurance given by the Communications Minister to delink Pension Revision from wage revision.

The  panel proposed by Com. C K Narasimhan, Circle Secretary, Tamil Nadu and seconded by Com. S N Sarma, Circle Secretary, Assam was approved and the following comrades were elected unanimously for the next triennial period.

Advisor                       : Com V A N Namboodiri (Kerala)

Patron                         : Com. P V Chandrasekharan (Kerala)

President                    : Com. Ananta Kr Bhattacharjee (Kolkata)

Vice Presidents          : Com. P.Asokababu (Andhra Pradesh)

                                       Com. S Mohandoss (Tamil Nadu)

                                       Com. Susanta Kr Ghosh (West Bengal)                                                     

                                       Com. Adhir Kr Sen (Telecom Factory & Stores,Kolkata)

                                       Com.A. Dhupal (Odisha)

                                       Com. K.P.Sharma (Rajasthan)

                                       Com. D.Shankar (Telangana)

General Secretary    : Com.K G Jayaraj (Kerala)

Asst, Gnl Secretaries: Com. D Basu (CORTO, Kolkata)

                                       Com. M R Das (Assam)

                                       Com. R.Muraleedharan Nair (Kerala)

                                       Com. Sanjib Banerjee (Kolkata)

                                       Com. R S Chouhan (NTR, Delhi)

                                       Com. H C Prakash (Karnataka)

Treasurer                     Com. R A Nair (Kerala)

Asst. Treasurer           Com.K.Pankajavalli (Tamil Nadu)

Organising Secretaries: Com. Saibalsen Gupta (Kolkata)

                                          Com.K R Yadav (UP(E) )

                                          Com.M B Chaniyara (Gujarat)

                                          Com. Pijush Chakraborty (West Bengal)

                                         Com. Swastika Dasgupta (Kolkata)

                                          Com. A.S. Chaudhary (Maharashtra)

                                          Com. Jagadish Singh (Madhya Pradesh)

                                          Com. Mintu Chandra Bhowmik (North East I )   

The services of the relinquished comrades, S C Shrivastava (MP), Prabir Dutta (NE II), Supriya Mitra (Kolkata) Vice Presidents, G G Patil (Karnataka), K. Govindaraj (Chennai Telephones) Assistant General Secretaries, K.Kaliprasad (Tamil Nadu), R V Singh (UP (W) and Kuldeep Singh (Haryana), Organising Secretaries are appreciated with special mention of Coms.G G Patil and Supriya Mitra. 

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The historic conference came to an end at 1800 on 24th February with an enthusiastic speech by Com. V A N Namboodiri and inspirational concluding address by Com. A K Bhattacharjee , President.

ALL CREDIT GOES TO THE RECEPTION COMMITTEE.

The three circle branches, Kolkata Telephones, West Bengal, Telecom Factory & Stores along with CORTO , our strong and trusted affiliate boldly took up the challenge of holding the 3rd Triennial All India Conference knowing fully the prevailing threatening situation in West Bengal.  They worked hard and systematically under the able advice of senior leaders like our President A.K.Bhattacharjee , Supriya Mitra and Animesh Mitra. However a serious crisis erupted on 7th February, 2019 when the Director of the Youth Hostel informed that the accommodation is cancelled due to some government program. They pleaded like anything with the Director and managed to get accommodation for 600 and had to search for alternative accommodation for the remaining. Finally two, three dormitories were also allotted but for exorbitant rates and somehow managed the situation. 

Everything was well planned and executed to the satisfaction of all.  They also created a history by releasing the Souvenir in the inaugural session itself.

So the 3rd Triennial All India Conference became historic and memorable, thanks to the invaluable services of hundreds of committed and sincere comrades of the Reception Committee.

 

GENERAL SECRETARY AT BOGOTA,COLOMBIA.

Com.K.G. Jayaraj, General Secretary has reached Bogota, Colombia on 26-02-2019 to participate in the 2Nd Congress of TUI (P&R) on 27-28 February, 2019. Coms. KKN Kutty Secretary General NCCPA and K Raghavendran, General Secretary, AIPRPA are also attending.

 

SIGNIFICANT DECISION BY KOLKATA AIC-SANCHAR BHAWAN MARCH ON 15-03-2019.

The Kolkata All India Conference has taken a very important decision on negative stand of the government on pension revision. The Minister of Communications,Shri.Manoj Sinha had given a categorical assurance to the AUAB leaders to the effect that Pension will be delinked from the wage  revision and early action taken for the same. But DoT officers are still for pension revision after wage revision, posing themselves as super ministers. So it is a drame being enacted to deny and delay the Pension Revision.

The AIC has taken serious note of this violation and decided for an impressive protest action in the form of SANCHAR BHAWAN MARCH on 15-03-2019. The March will start at 0930 from Eastern Court and after the March we will join the NCCPA Fast at Jantar Mantar at 1100.

The Conference has unanimously elected a 27 member office bearers and the following are the important functionaries;

Advisor : Com.V A N Namboodiri.

Patron.: Com. P V Chandrasekharan

President : Com. A K Bhattacharjee

General Secretary : Com. K G Jayaraj

Treasurer: Com.R A Nair.

3RD TRIENNIAL ALL INDIA CONFERENCE- REPORT AND ACCOUNTS PRESENTED.

In the subject session that started at 3.30 PM , Com.K G Jayaraj, General Secretary presented the report on activities for last triennial period. Com.R A Nair , Treasurer submitted the audited accounts for the financial years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Initiating the discussion, Com K G Jayaraj, General Secretary spoke focussing on the struggle for the pension revision and strengthening the organisation.

The session was adjourned at 7 PM and a very beautiful and entertaining cultural programme was staged.

The subject session will resume at 10 AM o 24-02-2019 and continue for the whole day until the proceedings are completed.

ROUSING START TO THE 3RD TRIENNIAL ALL INDIA CONFERENCE.

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It was enthusiasm all along  and the 1000 odd delegates marched from Yuvabhart YouthHostel , Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata to the Purbashree Auditorium (Com.Sisir Bhattacharjee Nagar), Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Salt Lake , raising slogans in different languages, reflecting the diversity in unity. The procession reached the venue at 10 AM and the National Flag was hoisted by Com. Ananta Kr Bhattacharjee, President and AIBDPA flag by Com.K.G.Jayaraj, General Secretary. Thereafter floral tributes were paid to the martyrs under the leadership of Com.V A N Namboodiri, Advisor. 

The house assembled fully and good number of delegates were also accommodated in the balcony and still some of the delegates could not make it as it was jam packed. The music party consisting AIBDPA comrades presented melodious welcome song. Then, all the leaders/ guests were felicitated by the Reception Committee. Com.A.K.Bhattacharjee, President presided over the inaugural session. Com.Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya, Chairman, Reception Committee delivered the welcome address giving the significance of Kolkata since the British East India Company era. 

Com.A.K Battacharjee in his presidential address recalled the sacrifices made by leaders like Tarapada Mukharjee and K G Bose and the numerous struggles waged against injustice  and for the genuine demands of the workers.

Delivering the inaugural address, Com.Hannan Mollah , General Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha minced no words in exposing the anti-farmer and anti-worker policies of Narendra Modi government. He shared the experience had with  the great Kisan rally at Nashik , Maharashtra on 21-02-2019 and how the Maharashtra government was compelled to settle the genuine issues in full. The Hindutva philosophy being aggressively pursued by the sangh parivar is supported by the government and all the constitutional institutions are saffronised. He also criticised the anti-PSU policy of Modi government due to which 4 G spectrum is denied to BSNL. He congratulated the BSNL workers for the glorious three days strike .

Com.P.Abhimanyu, General Secretary explained the circumstances under which the AUAB had to go for the three days strike from 18-02-2019 and the workers made the strike glorious by participating boldly ignoring the ESMA invoked by the government. The government move to kill BSNL is being resisted unitedly by the workers and he acknowledged the support and solidarity being extended by AIBDPA. Com.P.Abhimanyu made it clear that regarding pension revision the AUAB demand is for pension revision with 15% fitment and ridiculed the demand of certain pensioners organisations for CPC fitment.

Com.V A N Namboodiri, Advisor in his address reiterated the correct and principled stand of AIBDPA on pension revision which is vindicated by AUAB. Coms.S S Roy, Working President, NCCPA, Animesh Mitra, Secretary General, BSNL CCWF, R N Dhal, AGS, AIPRPA and K G Jayaraj, General Secretary also addressed the inaugural session.

 

CENTRAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD

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The Central Executive Committee Meeting on the eve of All India Conference was held on 22-02-2019 at the Mini Auditorium, Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre , Kolkata .  Com.A.K.Bhattacharjee, President presided over the meeting. Com.K.G.Jayaraj, General Secreatary welcomed the participants and presented the report on activities for the last triennial period. The audited accounts for the financial years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 were submitted by Com.R.A.Nair, Treasurer. The report was adopted with minor amendments.

The CEC approved the constitutional amendments circulated with some changes in the number of CHQ Office bearers. Proposals for the subcommittees presented by the General Secretary also were approved.

3RD TRIENNIAL AIC; DELEGATES STARTED COMING.

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EASTERN ZONAL CULTURAL CENTRE,, THE VENUE OF THE CONFERENCE.

Reception Committee is taking all out efforts to receive the delegates coming from different parts of the country. They have opened  Reception Counter at platform No.8 of Howrah Railway Station where most of the comrades are arriving. Those who have not yet given their arrival/ departure details, particularly those coming to other Railway Stations have to give the details immediately. In any case if you don’t find Reception Committee comrades, you can hire pre-paid taxi and come directly to State Youth Hostel, Ramp No.24, Gate No3 of Salt Lake Yuba Bharti Stadium.

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YOUTH HOSTEL, YUBA BHARTI VIVEKANANDA STADIUM, SALT LAKE, KOLKATA.

About 150 comrades have already arrived and others will reach by tomorrow, 22nd February and a few on 23rd. Despite strict instruction for limiting the number of delegates alloted by CHQ, some of the circles, out of over enthusiasm, have taken the liberty to send more delegates even without prior consent of the Reception Committee. This has put the Reception Committee to difficulties and they are trying their level best to arrange comfortable accommodation to all.

So let us maintain discipline, discuss the issues seriously , take appropriate decisions and make the 3rd Triennial Conference a great success