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Strikes won't achieve much: INTUC chief

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram , Oct. 21

FREQUENT resort to strikes, a knee-jerk option employed by labour as a form of dissent, has come in for a fresh round of disapproval by the President of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Mr G. Sanjeeva Reddy.

Speaking to newspersons here at a Meet-the-Press programme organised by the Kesari Memorial Journalists' Trust, Mr Reddy said strikes could never be hoped to yield any satisfactory solution to pressing labour problems. In fact, if handled without proper care, they could only compound the problems, he warned.

Given this context, labour would be well advised to choose from crafty negotiating skills or arbitration for settling their outstanding issues with the management. He also emphasised the need for a unified trade union movement in the country that would be free from the influence of political parties. Politics did not mix well with trade unionism.

INTUC had exchanged these ideas with fellow trade unions and hoped to beget an accommodative attitude from them. Continuing in the same vein, he said the INTUC did not blindly oppose foreign direct investment coming into the country.

Mr Reddy suggested the imposition of 1 per cent cess on the vast population of consumers to ensure the welfare of an estimated 28 crore persons wallowing in the unorganised sector.

He also expressed himself against the demand for further upward revision of interest on provident fund as this could drive the Government of the day into potential bankruptcy.

Mr Reddy was largely echoing the sentiments expressed at the 53rd meeting of the INTUC working committee held in Mumbai in April last year. A discussion paper at the meeting had called upon workers to shift their approach from confrontation to cooperation with the capital and become a true partner of the industry. The paper also called upon the workers to be prepared for takeover of PSUs listed for disinvestment/privatisation.

The workers were also told to enhance their managerial capacity to be able to run the industrial establishment. If necessary, they should seek the help of professionals.

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