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"Protect labour rights in SEZs"

Staff Reporter

Kolkata: "We do not support the concept of Special Economic Zone in which trade unions do not have any right and workers have to listen to the dictates of the owner," West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said here on Wednesday.

Addressing a public gathering at the conclusion of a four-day All India Council conference of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Mr. Bhattacharjee said that though "we want SEZs in our State, all the rights of the workers, including the Labour Dispute Act, has to be preserved there."

While Mr. Bhattacharjee stressed that the strength of the Left Front owed to the struggle waged by the workers, veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu, who also addressed the gathering, stressed that the workers have to struggle as well as implement the Left's agenda in a constructive way.

"Trade unions must understand that only making economic demands is not enough and they must develop a political sense to understand the difference between friend and foe, right and wrong," Mr. Basu said.

Special bulletin

The CITU conference saw the unanimous election of Md. Amin to the post of All India General Secretary that was lying vacant ever since the death of Chittabrata Mazumdar.

Mr. Amin said that while the CITU would be opposing Foreign Direct Investment in retail trade as it favoured the monopolists in the economy, they would be publishing a special bulletin to embark on a nationwide campaign to clear misconceptions regarding the incident at Nandigram.

"The Opposition in West Bengal is against industrialisation so that the unemployment problem is not solved," Mr. Amin said.

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