The Trade Union Movement in the 21st Century is not going to be as smooth as it has been so far, rather it is going to be a challenging task for the working class. The analysis of global situation as made hereunder reveals that globalization of trade and liberalization of economy has considerably contributed in widening the gap between the rich and the poor. Rather the situation has become adverse in the countries which are developing or are under-development and the democratic system is under threat.
“Widening gaps between the poorest and the wealthy within and between countries is a threat to the survival of democracy. Unemployment and poverty create fertile ground for the enemies of democracy. An increasing number of countries appear on the brink of collapse and are easy prey to take over by warlords of various motivations. Democratic countries must be ready to mobilize resources to tackle poverty and, if necessary, to mobilize human resources for national growth.”
In the special meeting of the General Council of the INTUC consisting of the top leaders of the Trade Union movement of the country covering different trades and industries as well as the various States and Territories of India, having met in Mangalore on 24-25 September, 2000 and having help deep discussions on the economic and social situation of the country, including the implications and impact of policies of liberalization and privatization as well as the impact of the world phenomena of globalization and operation of multinational corporations, solemnly declares:-
That Trade Unions have been, are and will continue to be highly significant institutions of civil society in the 21st Century and the Third Millennium and most potent and reliable instruments to promote social justice in society;
That human centered development and participatory society alone can assure sustainable and equitable development as well as help humanity survive and meet the challenges of the future, and this is only possible through active, effective and meaningful involvement of the people through their representative democratic and autonomous organizations like trade unions;
That while trade union’s primary concern is to protect and promote the economic, social, cultural, political and other interests of their membership, through their activities, functioning and work, they as well endeavour to help promote the interests and welfare of the whole community;
That Trade Unions seek to help build up an egalitarian society of social equality and equal opportunity, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, colour or sex, in which alone they firmly believe their highest aspirations and aims and goals can be fully realized;
That substantial material equality and a necessary mechanism to prevent the undue passing of wealth and privilege from generation to generation is essential for assuring effective enjoyment of equality of inequality and limiting their significance, there is need as well to ensure that one kind of privilege of advantage is not manipulated to translate into achieving others;
That the ends the trade unions cherish continue to be expressed in the beautiful slogan of the French Revolution – Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. But these remain mere slogans and mocking shadows in societies without assurance of meaningful equality and full employment opportunity to all with freedom and dignity;
That globalization with its potentiality of increased trade foreign investments and new technologies offers enormous potential for economic growth and for eradication of poverty;
That today’s globalization – opening up of national borders to trade, capital and information – is driven mainly by market forces resulting in opportunities and rewards to “spread unequally and inequitably, concentrating power and wealth in a select group of people, nations and corporations, marginalizing others”;
That globalization is too important a phenomenon to be left as unmanaged as today. The need is for stronger governance to preserve the advantages of global markets and competition to ensure that globalization works for the people, and not just for profits, with greater assurance of respect for human and trade union rights, less disparity within and between nations and less marginalization of peoples and countries. In this structure of civil society must be given an effective voice and their rightful place;
That the INTUC fully endorses the ICFTU’s statements on strategies to deal with MNCs and accepts that the starting point should be to strengthen the link between the Unions indifferent countries who share the same employer. The need is to make full use of information technologies to exchange information and ideas on systematic basis and improving the effectiveness of international company councils.
For the effectively early realization of the aims and goals set out in the Narora Declaration, the Working Committee resolves to make the INTUC still more powerful and effective instrument of social justice and the vanguard of the forces of freedom, democracy and progress. Among others , the concentration will be on our,
Achieving a membership of one crore within a period of five years. For the purpose, we will have to set about the task of further strengthening of our affiliates who are mainly in the organized sector of the industry as well as to organize the unorganized in the growing informal and sprawling rural sector. The State Branches of INTUC and National Industrial Federations are called upon to convene special meeting of their Working Committees for detailed review of the existing organizational situation and to plan for the future to achieve the goal of the INTUC to have a membership of one crore. The programme should be time scheduled and properly targeted with provision for regular periodic and systematic review and appraisal.
For achieving the above the Working Committee will give all possible cooperation and help. It offers the following suggestions for the purpose:-
That review of existing organizational situation should be brutally frank even sometimes agonizing, so that suitable and bold steps are taken to remedy the weakness;
That greater stress on internal democracy and greater involvement of rank and file of the members should be laid to ensure that our affiliates more truly reflect the aspirations, problems and difficulties of their membership. For the purpose, well known methods like energising shop and local committee, education of membership and training of leadership would be given more importance.
Every member, quite naturally, judges the organization by his or her own experience of the organization. To the extent the organization has helped him or her during the time of need determines his or her response and loyalty. it is, therefore, essential for union leaders to give greater attention to the individual problems of the members and to do their utmost for their satisfactory redressal.
Trade Unions, no doubt, have to give attention to the problems of the memberes relating to the working conditions and other conditions of employment. These must be given due consideration and effective steps must be taken for their redressal through the established grievance redressal machinery in which the shop steward is the king pin. He must be enable to be more effective through proper training and councelling.
The following areas need to be immediately discussed for the preparation of guidelines for our affiliates:
* Workers participation in Equity and Management ;
* Education Research and Training;
* Health services;
* Social security;
* Employment creation
The president would appoint the Study Groups for each of the above, which are required to submit their recommendations for consideration.