BMS at ACFTU meet
?WTO armtwisting developing nations?
By Pramod Kumar
?India and other developing countries of the world are facing almost the same kind of problems. Therefore, they should fight out together for due share of development in the neo-liberalisation era,? said Shri Udayrao Patwardhan, General Secretary of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) while addressing a gathering of world trade union leaders assembled at the International Forum on Economics, Globalisation and Trade Unions 2005, held in Shanghai, China. All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) had invited leading trade unions of Latin America, Africa and Asia to participate in the deliberations. Shri Udayrao Patwardhan led the HMS, CITU, AITUC and INTUC representatives from India at the meeting.
The forum prominently discussed two themes-poverty alleviation and trade unionisation strategies. The outcome of the meeting was to keep ?man? at the centre of development and create an environment of fair distribution of resources. ?Development needs peace and cooperation of social partners, which results in poverty alleviation. The distortions in growth need to be done away with, which only strong trade unions can do,? said Shri Zherikou, general secretary of WFTU, in his concluding remarks.
Interestingly, trade unions from Latin American and African countries had presented two issues for consideration, which according to them, had a close bearing on the theme of the forum. They wanted the debts of African and Latin American countries be written off, as any further repayment would amount to loot. They also insisted upon a full stop to corruption, which, according to them, is a curse and cancerous growth that needs to be cured urgently. Both these points incidentally found place in the conclusions.
All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) had invited leading trade unions of Latin America, Africa and Asia to participate in the deliberations. Shri Udayrao Patwardhan led the HMS, CITU, AITUC and INTUC representatives at the meeting.
The Indian delegation met the Chairman of the ACFTU Shri Wang Zhaoguo on September 19. The ACFTU with 130 million members is the world'slargest trade union and was formed in 1925. Interestingly, both the BMS in India and ACFTU in China are not affiliated to any world federation. Shri Patwardhan made a fervent appeal to ACFTU to come forward and extend its cooperation to the BMS. Shri Patwardhan also discussed labour problems with Shri Manene Samela, Dy general secretary of the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU) of South Africa and also with Shri Hassan Sunmonu, general secretary of Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU). According to Shri Patwardhan, a consensus was reached during the discussions to explore future avenues of creating closer and harmonious relations between BMS and African trade unions. World Federation of Trade Union (WFTU?s) assistant secretary, Abid Miro extended an invitation to BMS to attend its world congress to be held in Cuba in December.
In the discussion on September 20, with Shri Xu Zhenhuan, vice chairman and member secretary of ACFTU, the BMS again stressed on the need of closer ties. The upgradation of technology in both the countries had led to unemployment. Shri Xu Zenhuan expressed his concern on this situation and conceded that China also had such problem.
Another important point that Shri Patwardhan noticed during his visit to China was that he nowhere saw any red flag at any trade union'soffice and in the proceeding of the ACFTU also, the word ?comrade? was not mentioned with anybody'sname. Everybody was called or written with Mr. and not comrade.