Our struggle might go on for longer, but we have to oppose privatisation – Guman Singh, President, NFIR

Our government attacked the farmers like the British government used to. But farmers had a sustained struggle. They made many sacrifices and more than 600 farmers died. There are sacrifices in struggle. Our struggle might go on for longer, but we have to oppose privatisation!

 

 

Summary of the Speech by Shri Guman Singh, President, National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) at the All India Meeting organised by AIFAP on 21 November 2021 on “Mobilise Consumers/Users and Other People to Participate in the Movement Against Privatisation”

I congratulate AIFAP for uniting all sectors on this platform. Change is important but change should be for the good; the change in this government’s policy is not. They want to privatise public sector undertakings. When UPA government had started outsourcing in the public sector, NFIR had opposed it, but we could not stop outsourcing everywhere.

This government says one thing and does another. The government has announced corporatisation of railway production units along with railways. We opposed this. The government took a meeting with some of us, including me and Shiv Gopal Mishra. In that meeting, the government told us that they do not intend to privatise railways, they will decide only after talking to both federations. We also met the Railway Minister . They promised to hold a discussion with us before making any move. These were deceptive actions on their part. They had told us that they will explain the reasons for privatisation and discuss with us before doing anything. But they directly took action without talking to us. They announced the handing over of 150 trains on important routes to private operators and the leasing of 400 railway stations.

We have to save the railways now. Both federations are part of the Joint Consultative Machinery with the railway management, but this issue has never been raised in the meetings. On 17th of November 2021, we had a Working Committee Meeting of the NFIR. We decided that we will oppose monetisation, corporatisation and privatisation of the railways. We will run a 2-year campaign starting from January 1st 2022 and inform consumers about the harmful effects. We will take street corner meetings.

The NCCRS (National Coordination Committee of Railwaymen’s Struggle) has many organisations, but we should involve all rail unions because all workers have the same problem. It is good that there is no politician in NCCRS and the political objective of the platform will not harm railway employees. I believe that we will be successful. We will wage the common fight. We have never given importance to private interest over national welfare. I believe that NCCRS will struggle and strike, if needed.

Farmers’ struggle has shown one thing clearly and during the protest, we could see that the government is not democratic. It felt like we are under the British government. Our government attacked the farmers like the British government used to. But farmers had a sustained struggle. They made many sacrifices and more than 600 farmers died. There are sacrifices in struggle. There is a difference in that the farmers are self-employed. Our struggle might go on for longer, but we have to oppose privatisation!

 

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P Giridharan
P Giridharan
4 months ago

The railway unions will have the support of all trade unions in their fight against privatisation, but that alone will not be enough. The involvement of the common man at all levels will make the fight a success 🙏