Port Blair, Feb. 22: In support of the two-day All India Strike on 20-21 February, 2013, local units of the central trade unions and government employees’ organizations on 21st Feb. 2013 organized mass dharna, procession and public meetings in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The main programme was held at Tiranga Park, Aberdeen Bazar, Port Blair where workers and employees from various central trade unions and Associations sat on Mass Dharna from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thereafter, a procession was taken out in the town at 4.15 p.m. which culminated in massive public meeting at Tiranga Park. 

Addressing the meeting,  Shri B. Chandrachoodan, General Secretary, CITU A & N State Committee criticized the central government for pursuing various anti-working class policies and dealt in detail the struggles conducted by the trade unions since 1991.  

Speaking on the occasion,  Shri D. Ayyappan, General Secretary, Non-Gazetted Govt. Officers’ Association said that  it is for the first time that all the central trade unions in the country have come together to voice their protest against the  wrong policies of the government  which affect all sections of the  working people.  He said that the central government is slowly moving towards complete privatization and outsourcing of government work.  Referring to the Disinvestment Ministry during the NDA government, he said that now, without the Disinvestment Ministry, the government is  committed to  privatise the  public sector undertakings, Banks, Insurance, etc. and referred to the  present  position of the  loss-making BSNL.  

Shri NKP Nair, General Secretary, AICCTU A & N Unit while addressing the gathering criticized the Administration for not considering various demands of the workers in the islands.  Shri Veeranna, General Secretary of BMS A & N Unit emphasized the need to fight against the corruption prevailing in various departments under the Administration.   Shri RP Sharma of HMS also spoke on the occasion.  Shri Sadanand Rai, who presided over the meeting, said that the central government is depriving the government employees of their existing benefits and referred to the introduction of New Pension Scheme during 2004.  

At Diglipur, a day-long mass dharna was organized at Diglipur Bazar in which a large number of workers from various trade unions participated. Later in the evening, a massive procession was taken out in the Diglipur bazaar which was led by Shri S. Asokan, Shri Madan Mohan Das, Shri   PG Eappen and Shri Ali Akbar.     

At Little Andaman, a procession was taken out by the workers in the Hut Bay Bazar in the evening.  

The issues raised during the  All India Strike are  (1) Take concrete measures to contain Price rise,  (2) Take concrete measures for linkage of employement protection   with the concession/incentive package offered to the entrepreneurs, (3) Ensure strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws, (4) Universal social security cover for the unorganised sector workers without any restriction and creation of a National Social Security Fund with adequate resources in line with the recommendation of NCEUS and Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour, (5) Stoppage of disinvestment in Central and State PSUs, (6) No Contractorisation of work permanent/perennial nature and payment of wages and benefits to the contract workers at the same rate as available to the regular workers of the industry /establishment (7)  Amendment of Minimum Wages Act to ensure universal coverage irrespective of the schedules and fixation of statutory minimum wage at not less than Rs.10,000/- linked with cost price index (8) Remove all ceilings on payment and eligibility of Bonus, Provident Fund; Increase the quantum of gratuity, (9) Assured statutory Pension for all and (10) Ensure Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days and immediate ratification of the ILO Conventions Nos.87 and 98.  Besides various local demands were also raised during the programme.