Indian, U.S. trade unions to head for Kolkata

Wednesday, 24 September 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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KOLKATA: Trade unionists from India and the U.S. will meet here soon to discuss ways to counter globalisation and coordinate opposition to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Representatives of the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO), the biggest trade union group in the U.S., will arrive in New Delhi on September 29.

According to M.K. Pandhe, general secretary of the Marxist trade union, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), discussions with AFL-CIO delegates will focus on the ill effects of globalisation and means of countering them.

"Trade unions in the U.S., which had once supported globalisation, are opposing it now. We will discuss how we can coordinate among the various movements against globalisation," Pandhe told IANS.

Pandhe said AFL-CIO has about 13 million members. "A few years ago, when U.S. trade unions supported globalisation, they saw a sharp drop in membership. At that time American trade unions even used to invite the World Bank president to their conventions."

The 20-member AFL-CIO delegation will arrive from Los Angeles and, after completing its engagements in New Delhi, will travel to Kolkata on October 3.

CITU leaders will meet the visitors for more discussions on the trade union movement in the two countries vis-à-vis globalisation.

The leaders are also expected to discuss the fallouts of this month's WTO meet in Cancun, which failed primarily because of opposition from 21 developing countries led by India.

The AFL-CIO delegates' visit to Kolkata coincides with Durga Puja festivities. So they will go around the city to enjoy the celebrations.

The Marxists, though opposed to most federal policies, have congratulated the central government for its principled stand at the WTO discussions and for refusing to buckle under the pressure of developed nations.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has sent a congratulatory message to federal Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley for successfully articulating India's position at the WTO meet.

Source: IANS
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