Trade Unions announce convention on May 13 against price rise

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New Delhi, Apr 11 (UNI) Left Trade Unions today announced a day-long national convention on May 13 in the capital in protest against government's policies, including failure to bring down prices, inability to bring in legislation for the unorganised sector and "'outrageous" recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.

The convention to be attended by Central Trade Unions, National Federations, Central and State government employees representatives will decide on a "'bigger action plan" to protest against the UPA-governments failure on various fronts.

The decision was taken after a two-hour long meeting of the representives of CITU, AITUC, HMS, UTUC, UTLS, AICCTU as well as trade unions representing banking, insurance and telecom sectors.

CPI Senior leader Gurdas Dasguota and CPI(M) polit bureau member and CITU President M K Pandhe told UNI that the main issue will be soaring prices and collapse of the Public Distribution System.

The other issues which are agitating the working class include "blatant" violation of labour laws and the failure of the government to enact a comprehensive legislation for agricultural workers.

Mr Dasgupta charged that the price rise was "government sponsored" and accused Finance Minister P Chidambaram of now "passing the buck"' to the State governments.

He said while production of foodgrains this year was of the order of 299 million tonnes, which was higher than last year, the prices were hiting the roof.

Mr Dasgupta said there was large scale hoarding of agricultural commodities and felt that the government's recent steps to import wheat and restrict exports was "inadequate and a costly remedy." Mr Dasgupta was of the view that prices would not move Southwards despite these steps and said it was absolutely essential to check hoarding.

Mr Pandhe said the government was hand in glove with traders in creating an "artifical scarcity." He said futures trading in agricultural commodities was only contibuting to increasing prices and demanded a complete ban on this activity.

Asked whether the convention will give a call for a strike, Mr Dasgupta quipped "nothing is ruled out." Meanwhile, the Left parties in co-ordination with UNPA have announced a week-long nation-wide protest against price rise, beginning April 16.

UNI KSA-GS AS1842

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