January 15, 2023
On to the 17th Conference of CITU


BENGALURU, the Silicon City of India is all ready to host the 17th conference of CITU. The city is hosting the national conference of CITU for the second time. The 12th conference of CITU was held in the city almost exactly fifteen years ago, on January 17-21, 2007.

The venue of the conference, Gayathri Vihar, Palace Grounds in Bengaluru, is named Shymal Chakraborty Nagar, after the former national vice president of CITU and former president of its West Bengal state committee. The dais is named Ranjana Nirula – Raghunath Singh Manch. Ranjana Nirula was the first woman treasurer of CITU and Raghunath Singh, national vice president of CITU and the general secretary of its Punjab state committee. All the three leaders succumbed to Covid.

As per the decision of the 16th conference to consider bringing down the total number of delegates to the national conferences of CITU, the number of delegates in this conference will be 1500, on the basis of membership paid along with annual returns for the year 2021. Representatives of fraternal trade unions as well as AIKS and AIAWU have been invited to participate in the conference as fraternal delegates. Pambis Kyritsis, general secretary of WFTU will participate in the conference.

The 17th conference of CITU will be culmination of the process of a series of conferences at union, district, state, state level union/federation and all India federation conferences that started in September 2022. Except in Bihar, Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan, state conferences have been held in all the other states. Hundreds of thousands of workers participated in the rallies and processions associated with the CITU and its affiliated union/federation conferences at different levels.

The period after the 16th conference witnessed serious attacks on the workers and all sections of toiling people of our country. While the Covid pandemic created a serious health crisis unprecedented in the last century, the corporate communal nexus ruling the country under Prime Minister Modi, tried to utilise the pandemic to push through neoliberal policies. At the same time this period witnessed exemplary working class solidarity to the migrant workers in distress and also to the peasants heroically fighting the farm laws. The seeds of worker-peasant unity started germinating during this period. The working class responded with equal intensity to the attacks by the ruling classes. It went on two united country-wide general strikes, one of two days’ duration, in addition to innumerable sectoral strikes and struggles. The Modi government was compelled to repeal the farm laws, could not implement the labour codes despite passing them in parliament around two and a half years back, and compelled to go slow on its privatisation drive.

All these experiences will be discussed in the 17th conference of CITU and serious efforts will be made to draw proper lessons, from the successes, shortcomings and weaknesses to strengthen class unity and intensify struggles to affect change in the policies in favour of the workers and the people.

The all India conference of CITU, as all the preceding conferences at the state/ federation level have done, will discuss in detail the campaign and mobilisation for the Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh Rally called by the CITU, AIKS and AIAWU on April 5, 2023, during the budget session of parliament.

In addition, the CITU conference will also emphasise the need to strengthen joint trade union actions and effective implementation of the calls of the joint national convention of trade unions scheduled to be held on January 30, 2023, the martyrdom day of Gandhiji.

The major call of the conference to the working class of the country, as is indicated in its slogan, is ‘Unite and fight for pro-people policies’

As is the practice in CITU conferences since the last around three decades, in depth discussions will be held for one day in four commissions on four important topics – changing profile of employment relations, communalism, organising in modern manufacturing industries, and migrant workers.

To enable effective participation of the delegates in the deliberations of the conference, all the documents of the conference, including the two parts of the general secretary’s report, the presidential address, the draft commission papers etc have been sent in advance to the state committees for translation into local languages and making them available to the delegates. All documents are translated into Hindi from CITU centre.

In addition, simultaneous translation into six languages – Hindi, Malayalam, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada – is being arranged to enable the delegates to better follow the discussions and deliberations in the conference.

On January 19, 2023, a brief session for reception to Aleida Guevara, a global advocate of human rights and debt relief for developing nations, and daughter of Cuban hero Che Guevara, will be held in the afternoon. She will address the delegates.

The reception committee for the 17th conference of CITU was formed on July 5, 2022 with eminent progressive lawyer K Subba Rao as honorary president. Many eminent persons in the fields of arts, literature, education, science, trade unionists, and leaders of many progressive organisations have agreed to be part of the reception committee and have been contributing in the preparations for the conference.

Despite the hardships due to the pandemic, the loss of income etc, the response from the working class of Karnataka has been spontaneous and encouraging. All sections of workers, the anganwadi employees, midday meal workers, construction workers, panchayat workers, workers in modern and other private industries and many other sections have been contributing generously for the conference.

Jathas of CITU cadres have been traversing the different regions in the state spreading the message of the conference and the issues that it would discuss. The martyrs’ flames being carried by these jathas will be received in the morning of January 18th and a march past by red volunteers will be held, before the conference begins. Seminars on various topics have already been held in different centres. Multi language poetry reading and other cultural programmes have also been organised by the reception committee to spread the message of unity and communal harmony. The reception committee has also planned a big rally on the last day.

As per the decision of CITU secretariat, Flag Day has been observed in the entire country on January 10, 2023, by hoisting CITU flags at all offices of CITU, at the workplaces and also at the houses of CITU cadres and activists.

The 17th conference of CITU is expected to take up tasks that will invigorate the working class of our country into militant and massive actions against neoliberalism as well as communal divisive machinations of the RSS and its outfits and for alternative pro-people policies.