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BHARATIYA MAZDOOR SANGH

NATIONALISE THE LABOUR, LABOURISE THE INDUSTRY

INDUSTRIALISE THE NATION

BMS – At a Glance

The circumstances in which BHARATIYA MAZDOOR SANGH (B.M.S.) came into existence in the trade union field of India has shaped its significant role in the trade union movement.

B.M.S. was founded on 23rd of July, 1955 – the day being the birth anniversary of Lok Manya Bal Gangadhar Tilak – veteran of Freedom Movement. Two important aspects stand out in connection with this.

(a)          Formation of BMS was not the result of split in the existing trade union organizations, unlike in the case of almost all other trade unions. Hence it had the formidable responsibility of building its organizational structure from the grass root level. It started from zero having no trade union, no membership, no karyakarta, no office, no fund and no experience.

(b)         On the very first day it was visualized as a trade union whose base-sheet anchor – would be Nationalism, would work as a genuine trade union, keeping itself scrupulously away from party politics. This was also unlike other trade unions which were linked to one or the other political party, overtly or otherwise.

Dawn of BMS, therefore, can be truly described as watershed in the course of trade union field.

ORGANISATIONAL GROWTH

BMS in 1955 existed only in the minds of a few determined persons who assembled at Bhopal under the guidance of Shri D.B. Thengadi – a thinker and intellectual, who had even earlier dedicated accepting the noble principle of self abnegation, his entire life to social work. He collected a band of determined workers around him to work for the organization selflessly.

The first task was to build a strong organizational structure on the noble principles already declared. Constant tour of the country by Shri Thengadiji and local efforts of his then colleagues, resulted in setting up of union here, and a union there. Of course that looked insignificant in the broad canvas of the trade union field like tiny dots on a large map. Most of these unions were in the unorganized sector. With the increase in experience, slowly, BMS unions sprung up in important industries. In a few states, State committees were formed.

          Thus it was only in 1967, twelve years after its formation – that the first All India conference of BMS was held in Delhi, in which the initial national executive was elected. At the time the number of affiliated unions was 541 and total memberships was 2,46,000. Shri Thengadiji was elected General Secretary.

          From then on there was no looking back. In 1967 it had 2,46,902 members. In 1984 Central Govt. after membership verification of all major Central Labour Organisations declared BMS as second largest Central Trade Union Organisation with 12,11,355 members and during 1996 it was declared first largest organization with 31,17,324 membership by the Govt. of India, Ministry of Labour vide their letter No. L-60011/2/84-1R(IMP-1) dated 26/27 Dec.1996. The reckoning date of the above verification was 31st Dec. 1989 result of which was declared during 1996 as stated above.

          Of the 44 industries classified by the Labour Ministry, Govt. Of India, for the purpose of membership verification, BMS has affiliated unions in 43, Lone exception being Air Transport. Contacts have been established in this field and it is expected that soon this area also would be covered. (BMS trade union has since been formed in Air transport also during 1999.) BMS has membership strength of almost 65 lakhs with the closing of year 1999, almost in all states covered by 32 All India Industrial Federations.

          BMS is a productivity oriented non-political CTUO. It rejects the idea of state control rather it views it as an evil to be restricted to inevitable sector like defense, but stands firmly for the principle of public accountability for each industry and consequent enunciation of public discipline. It tries to bring consumers as the third and the most important party to industrial relations. For the furtherance and realization of its aims and objects BMS applies all legitimate means consistent with the spirit of nationalism and patriotism.

            BMS is represented in most of the bipartite/tripartite labour and industrial Committee /Boards constituted by the Central Govt. It is on the Indian Labour conference and Standing Labour Committee, Central Board for Workers Education, ESI, PF, National Productivity Council, National Safety Council, Negotiating Committees of Public Sector Undertakings like BHEL, NTPC, NHPC, BEL, Coal, Industrial committees of Jute, Textiles, Engineering, Chemical – Fertilizers, Sugar, Electricity, Transport etc. and various other miscellaneous Committees/Boards.

MANIFESTATION OF NATIONALISTIC OUTLOOK

Being nationalistic in outlook, it was but natural that this would be manifested in its activities. National interest was accepted as supreme and the workers interest to be protected and promoted within its framework.

          National Commitment was to guide all negotiations at collective bargaining and promoted within its framework.

          Good of the country, the industry and the workers was accepted as the guidelines. Workers are part of the society and have the obligation to serve it. Consumers interest was taken as nearest to national interest.

            Hence the saffron flag of BMS, a symbol of sacrifice and service, the age old cultural emblem, a source of inspiration, began to flutter in the trade union field. The BMS insignia symbolizes the rythem between human controlled industrial development and agricultural prosperity. This is clearly depicted by impression of strong, confident and erect thumb of fist in between moving wheel and sheaf of corn. Significantly, for the first time, a human organ is used in logo by Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, in the trade Union fields.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The aims and objective of BMS are:

(a)   To establish ultimately the Bharatiya order of society in which there shall be secured among other things:

(1)  Complete utilization of manpower and resources leading to full employment and maximum production.

(2)  Replacement of profit motive by service motive and establishment of economic democracy resulting in equitable distribution of wealth to the best advantage of all individual citizens and of the nation as a whole.

(3)  Development of autonomous industrial communities forming part and parcel of the nation, culminating in ‘Labourisation of industry’.

(4)  Provision of work with living wage to every individual through maximum industrialisation of the nation.

(b)  With a view to enable the workers to strive successfully for the ultimate realization of the above objects and to strengthen them, in the meanwhile, to make their own contribution to the cause of protecting and promoting their interest consistent with those of the community:

(1)  To assist workers in organisaing themselves in trade unions as a medium of service to the motherland irrespective of faiths and political affinities.

(2)  To guide, direct, supervise and coordinate the activities of the affiliated unions.

(3)  To assist the affiliated unions in the formation of state BMS units and industrial Federations as constituent units of the BMS and

(4)  To bring about unity in the trade union movement.

(c)  To secure and preserve for the workers:

(1)  The right to work, the right for security of service and for social security, the right to conduct trade union activities and the right to strike as a last resort after having exhausted other legitimate methods of trade unionism for redressal of grievances.

(2)  Improvement in conditions of work, life and social and industrial status.

(3)  A living wage consistent with a national minimum and due share in the profits in their respective industries and

(4)  Other appropriate amenities.

(5)  Expeditious enforcement and appropriate amendment of existing labour legislation in their interest and

(6)  Enactment of new labour laws from time to time in consultation with the labour representatives.

(d)  To inculcate in the minds of the workers the spirit of service, cooperation and dutifulness and develop in them a sense of responsibility towards the nation in general and industry in particular.

(e)  To educate the labour by organising worker’s training classes, study circles, guest lectures, seminars, symposia, excursions etc. in cooperation with institutions and organisations having similar aims and objects such as the Central Board for workers Education, Labour Research Centre, Universities etc., and also to maintain libraries.

(f)   To publish or cause publication of journals, periodicals, pamphlets, pictures, books and many other types of literature mainly concerning labour and their interests and to purchase, sell & circulate them.

(g)  To establish, encourage and organise Labour Research Centres and similar activities.

(h)  Generally to take such other steps as may be necessary to ameliorate the social, economic, cultural, civic and general conditions of the workers. For sound health of workers and society BMS has been against the use of any type of drugs, liquor, alcohols and smoking.

(i)    To render assistance or to establish cooperative societies, welfare institutions, clubs etc. for the workers and their families in particular.

NATIONAL LABOUR DAY

India has a heritage of thousands of year where the dignity of labour as well as that of the labourers was well established. The dire need of the hour is to re-establish the same – The Dignity of Labour by observing our own labour day. National labour day was rediscovered to be on Vishwakarma Jayanti, Vishwakarma, being the first craftsman – artisan, sculptor, engineer and in fact the traditional symbol of hard labour. This falls on Kanya Sankranti of each year. BMS, since its inception, has been observing Vishwakarma Jayanti on 17th September of English Calendar year as National Labour Day.

       While functioning since 1955 it has given to the labour movement new slogans benefiting its ideology:

Bharat Mata Ki Jai

       We will work in the interest of the country and will take full wage for the work done.

       The sacrifice, penance and martyrdom are identification of BMS.

       Workers unite the world.

       Industrialise the nation, Nationalise the Labour, Labourise the Industry.

       Bonus to all wage earners – as differed wage.

       Stop discrimination Income – ratio should be one and ten.

NEW TRENDS IN THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT

BMS has contributed quite a few new ideas which have virtually become trend setters.

       The non-political nature of BMS has now gained currency and has become acceptable not only in India but also abroad. The XII World Trade Union Congress of WFTU, held in Moscow, in 1990. Adopted a document to this effect.

       BMS doesn’t believes in class concept and rejects the theory propounded by Marx. Instead its struggle and fight is against the injustice on workers from whatever quarters.

       Being non-political, its attitude towards any democratically elected government is governed by the principle of “Responsive Co-operation”.

            BMS idea of “Labourisation” of Industries – a stage where workers would collectively own and manage the industrial units has initiated a national debate on it. This experiment has been successfully undertaken in new Central Jute Mills, West Bengal.

THE NEW ECONOMIC POLICY (NEP) AND NEW INDUSTRIAL POLICY (NIP)

While opposing the above policies BMS was first to give slogan for 2nd war of economic independence. At the same time it has suggested some positive alternatives. It has vigorously condemned the object surrender to the conditionalities of the IMF and WB as that would amount to giving up our sovereignty. BMS considers the movement as an opportunity to built up Swadeshi Model of Economy. Hence it has inspired movement for the use to Swadeshi Products as against the foreign or MNC products.

       It has offered to cooperate in turning the loss making PSUs profitable where practicable, it has agreed to induce the workers to take up their unit to run them on sound lines.

       To curb excessive profiteering, which is the main culprit behind price rise, it has suggested that the Government should take steps to make the consumer aware of the cost of production of each product of daily use. This awareness will serve as a watchdog to restrain the prices.

       BMS is also of the view that for creating enough job opportunities, agricultural development should get more attention as also agro-based and small and tiny industries. Vishwakarma Sector (self employment sector) should get more encouragement than at present.

            On modern technology, BMS while not being antagonistic, would prefer developing our own technology to suit our conditions. From this angle national technology policy should be drawn.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Being one of the most representative organisations of Labour, BMS has a place in the Indian delegation to the annual International Labour Conference held at GENEVA every year.

       Being largest Central Trade Union Organisation of India, BMS is leading the Indian Labour delegation to ILO Geneva each year on behalf of Indian workforce.

       Special session of United Nations Organisation was held on 5-9 June, 2000 in NEW YORK on “Women-2000, Gender equality, Development and peace for 21st Century”. Km. Suchitra Mahapatra, General Secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Aanganwadi Karmachari Mahasangh (BMS) participated on behalf of Indian Women workforce.

       It works in close relations with the ILO office in Delhi, participating in all its national and regional level seminars/workshops, its endeavour being to contribute its best.

       BMS is not affiliated with any International Confederation but maintains cordial relations with such organisations.

            Instead of giving call for the workers of the world to unite, it has given a call to the workers all over, to unite the world.

ALLIED ACTIVITIES

BHARATIYA SHRAM-SHODH MANDAL (BSSM)

“Bharatiya Shram-Shodh Mandal” formed by BMS is a research based institution, established on 26th May, 1980, to promote objective studies based on impartial examination of facts and development in the industrial field. The other activities are:-

(1)  Survey for Social Causes.

(2)  Critical appraisal of Annual Budget.

(3)  Workshop and Tripartite conference on labour laws.

(4) Impact assessment of new economic policy and new industrial policy on labour and economy.

(5)  Publications.

SARVA PANTH SAMADAR MANCH

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh firmly believes in nondiscrimination of labour bases on caste creed or religions. BMS believes in equal respect for all religion. To promote the same sense of harmony among the labour, BMS in 1994, founded a forum known as Sarva Panth Samadar Manch. Maulana Wahiduddin and Jal. P.Jimmi were the founder members of this organisation. 25th March of each year is celebrated as “Ekatma Diwas” to commemorate the holy sacrifice of Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi for the cause of Hindu Muslim unity.

VISHWAKARMA SHRAMIK SHIKSHA SANSTHA

Based on resolution adopted by executive committee of BMS help at Simla on 26th April, 1982, a Vishwakarma labour training institute was established having its headquarter at Nagpur. Regular training camps, workshops etc. have been organised by this institute in collaboration with Central Board for Workers Education.

PARYAVARAN MANCH

In 1995 a Pryavaran Manch was set up to pragmatise the activity of Trade Unions, which was till that time limited to wage, bonus, etc. It is the obvious responsibility of the labour to keep their surroundings clean, safe and pollution free. 3rd December, the Bhopal disaster is mourned and remembered each year as “No More Bhopal Day”.

VISHWAKARMA CHETNA & VISHWAKARMA SANKET

Vishwakarma Chetna – a Hindi monthly and Vishwakarma Sanket – a English monthly is regularly published by BMS from Central Office in Delhi to keep their cadres well informed about the news and views on various issues of the contemporary national scenario. Some other important journals and periodicals published by state BMS and federations in their local languages are Mazdoor Bharti (Malayali monthly), Mazdoor Samvad (Bangla), Mazdoor Vaarta (Marathi Pakshik), BMS Sedi (Tamil) and Mazdoor Chetna (Gujarati monthly).

BHARATIYA MAZDOOR SANGH

PUBLICATIONS

                                 S. No.    Name of Book

(1)  Rashtra

(2)  Why BMS

(3)  Income, Wages, Productivity & Employment

(4)  Rashtriya Ekata Avam Shramik Kshetra

(5)  Computer – The Job Eliminater

(6)  Prastavana

(7)  Sui Generis

(8)  Indias Planned Poverty

(9)  Charter of Demands

(10) Industrial Relations

(11) Labourisation of Industries Need of the Hour

(12) Dankal Draft

(13) Spectrum

(14) Karyakarta Ki Manobhumika

(15) Sanket Rekha

(16) Lakshya Aur Karya

(17) Consumer: A Sovereign without Sovereignty

(18) Sapta Krama

(19) Story of Central Jute Mill

(20) Trade Union Movement in India

(21) Perspective

(22) Third Way

(23) Shunya Se Srishti Tak

(24) Second War Of Economic Independence

SHRI DATTATREYA BAPURAO alias DATTOPANT THENGADI

FOUNDER

BHARATIYA MAZDOOR SANGH

Shri Dattopant Thengadi

Born on 10the November, 1920 at Arvi Wardha district of Maharashtra is well known as a Scholar and organiser. For over half a century he has been a Pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh founded by him four decades ago is presently the foremost labour organisation in the country. He is also the founder of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Samajik Samrasata Manch, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, Sarve Panth Samadar Manch and Paryavaran Manch. He is also founder Member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Sahakar Bharati.

Shri Thengadi was a member of the Rajya Sabha for 12 years. He is widely travelled. In addition to continuous organisational work to strengthen nationalist feelings in the masses, Shri Thengadi has been a prolific writer in English, Hindi and Marathi. The books and occasional booklets authored by him number over a hundred. These include “Nationalist Pursuit” (1992) and “Our National Renaissance. Its Directions and Destination” (reprinted, 1993), both published by Sahitya Sindhu Prakashana.

 

 

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