When We met Comrade Kathiravan – The Custodian of Workers’ Labour

Comrade Kathiravan – third from left- at May Day 2016

We met Kathiravan on May Day of 2016. He was the treasurer of ULF (Renualt Nissan) Branch and he had been called to give a summary of the annual accounts before the General Body of its members.  Rising to make the annual financial statement, Kathiravan said to the workers that he looks at his role not as an accountant, but as a custodian of the labour of the workers. He added that the money they had entrusted to the union represented their hard toil in difficult conditions and he greatly appreciated that they had willingly parted with it for the collective good, especially in difficult circumstances. This money in some ways, represented the trust they had reposed in the union. This ‘Trust’ was the true treasure of the union and he, being the treasurer, would do everything to honour this ‘Trust’.

Com Kathiravan with his Bike

In the everyday bustle of trade union activity, one often forgets what it is to be a member or an office bearer. It is hard to recognize the camaraderie that underpins our activities. With time one loses the vision of the ideals and gets enmeshed in the bureaucratic processes. Trade union work ceases to be a revolutionary task and ends up becoming a routine administrative work. It is in such moments, that statements such as that of Com. Kathiravan, echo us back to the revolutionary nature of the tasks at hand.

Comrade Kathiravan passed away on 9th August 2017 after suffering serious injuries in a road accident while returning from work. He had taken on the role of treasurer of union at a time when there was grave threat for the union from the management. When dismissals and suspensions were common, he had bravely put forth himself in service of his fellow workers. He had carried out his duties with utmost sincerity and diligence. He was a not just a treasurer but himself a precious treasure for his comrades at Renault Nissan. We share their grievance in this loss. We express our condolences to his family, friends and fellow workers.

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