CITU-affiliated Seamen’s Union says breakaway group has no authority to join Shiv Sena union

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 30, 2019

The rising trend of politicians hopping parties has hit the seafarers’ community after the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU)-affiliated Forward Seamen’s Union of India (FSUI) was jolted by a breakaway group led by Naresh Birwadkar joining the Shiv Sena union.

Both FSUI and CITU said that Birwadkar and other members of his group have “no organisational authority to take such decisions on behalf of FSUI.” FSUI has a membership of 32,551.

“The people who have joined the Shiv Sena union including Birwadkar do not represent FSUI and are not authorised to represent FSUI in any manner. Birwadkar was removed from FSUI in 2012 due to corruption charges and a seafarers’ gratuity scam and the matter is pending in court and other investigation agencies. It appears that due to his involvement in various scams, he is trying to get shelter with the ruling party,” Manoj Yadav, General Secretary, FSUI, said in a statement.

Responding to media reports that FSUI had merged with the Shiv Sena union, CITU General Secretary Tapan Sen said that the news is “totally baseless and fake, spread with a malicious intent to confuse and misguide the seamen community.”

Aside CITU, the FSUI is also affiliated with the Water Transport Workers Federation of India (WTWFI), a union recognised by the Ministry of Shipping, and the London-based International Transport Federation (ITF), a global body representing 670 transport trade unions with a membership of over 18 million in 147 countries.

WTWFI and ITF have said that Birwadkar and his team do not represent FSUI.

“The letterhead and website used by your group uses the ITF logo and states that your union is affiliated to the ITF. As you are not an ITF-affiliated union, you are not permitted to use the ITF logo or claim affiliation to the ITF,” Jonathan Warring, Senior Legal Assistant, ITF, wrote in a August 28 letter to Birwadkar.

Published on August 30, 2019

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