Mumbai: The NCP is now set to challenge
Congress in the trade union sector, with the Sharad Pawar-led
party assuming control of National Front of India Trade Unions
The trade union body, of which Pawar became President
last year, plans to upstage Indian National Trade Union
Congress (INTUC) (controlled by Congress), NCP sources said.
NCP leaders in the trade union sector will merge their
outfits with the NFITU. However, it is not known if Sharad
Rao, who recently merged his Hind Mazdoor Kisan Panchayat into
Hind Mazdoor Sabha, another large trade union body, would do
so, they said.
NFITU was founded in 1969 by former Bihar minister late S
P Rai, and is active in iron, steel, electricity, gas, power,
roadways, jute, tea plantations, coal and quarrying sectors.
It has been active in Delhi, Jharkhand, West Bengal,
Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, through 90-member trade
unions. The current membership of NFITU is nearly seven lakh.
NCP sources said the Union Labour Ministry will conduct a
membership verification drive next year and NFITU plans to
increase its strength, to become the leading trade union body
in the country, overtaking INTUC.
In Maharashtra, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and
other leaders will take the initiative to enlist members,
The recent induction of trade union leader Kiran
Pawaskar, formerly with the Shiv Sena, into NCP was an
important step in this direction, they said.
However, Jaiprakash Chhajed, president of INTUC, said
NFITU did not pose any threat. "We have 75 lakh members," he