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Call to protect working class interests

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, OCT. 10. K. Chandran Pillai, MP and State secretary of the CITU, has called for coordination among trade unions to launch struggles to protect the interests of the working class. He was speaking at the inaugural session of the 11th biennial conference of the General Insurance Employees' Association (South Zone) here today.

The working class all over the world was going through a vulnerable period due to the onslaught of "multinational combinations." Job security was at stake, but many trade unions were unable to handle workers' problems, he said.

He said the general elections had proved that the new economic policies were not acceptable. This was evident from the defeat suffered by the BJP at the Centre, the TDP in Andhra Pradesh and the Congress in Karnataka. The Common Minimum Programme was based on the promises given to the people. If the UPA Government was not keen on implementing the CMP, it would be impossible for it to remain stable, he said.

Mr. Pillai criticised the trade unions that failed to fight for increase in provident fund interest rates. He also called for a change in the approach to farmers' problems.

Merger of insurance firms

Inaugurating the conference, K. Venugopal, general secretary of All India Insurance Employees' Association, stressed the need for merger of the four public sector general insurance companies. Such a move would create a financial giant in the Indian insurance sector, he said. While private companies were merging to become stronger, the opportunity was being denied to the public sector upon the advice of a study conducted by a private firm. The total premium received by the four private sector general insurance companies in 2003-04 was Rs.13,338 crores while Rs. 4,000 crores was lost due to unhealthy competition among these companies, he said. Though the Government had promised to retain the insurance companies in the public sector, the move to raise foreign direct investment would harm the interests of the public sector. Private insurance companies were not taking care of social responsibilities unlike the PSUs. Instead, they were concentrating on profit-making portfolios, he said. Pointing out that an insurance entity meant to provide cover to crops was to be set up with the help of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, he said similar schemes were not being extended by the private sector.

Earlier, H.S. Manjunath, president of GIEA, South Zone, hoisted the flag. C.B. Venugopal, convener, Reception Committee, K.V.George, secretary, Bank Employees Federation of India, P.G. Saseendran, district secretary, Central Government Employees' Confederation, P.V. Nandakumar, general secretary, GIEA, South Zone, J. Gurumurthy, secretary, standing committee, AIIEA, were among those present.

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