Kerala Labour Movement

Kerala Labour Movement (KLM) is the official organ of Kerala Catholic Bishop's Council's (KCBC) Commission for Labour working for the Welfare and Empowerment of the workers, especially the unorganized workers in Kerala. It was functional since 1972 and has the history of four decades of selfless service in the empowerment of the unorganized workers of the State. KLM outreach to the grass roots is ensured through the diocesan network of KLM and the network of the workers forums. Some of the workers forums organized by KLM have now been registered as the independent trade unions in par with any other trade unions in the State. KLM has been recognized as the founder member of the Workers India Federation (WIF), the national body of the different labour movements and NGOs working with unorganized labourers The KLM aims at the spiritual, cultural, economical and social upliftment and development of the labourers and their families.

During this year KLM focused attention for promoting / strengthening farmers clubs and undertook various activities for attaining self sufficiency in agriculture production through a project for promotion of organic farming and terrace cultivation supported by Caritas India. The project gave support to 300 families in 6 regions. The existing farmers club were converted as KLM units from December 2016, covering the labourers in unorganized sector such as construction work, tailoring work, domestic work, small scale work, etc. The activities organized under the auspices of KLM include: a one day awareness and demonstration class on integral pest management; two classes on soil testing and remedial measures; awareness class on energy conservation in 6 regions; one day training on organic farming and terrace cultivation in 5 regions covering 158 participants leadership training in 5 regions; training on value added products from jack fruit and mango for the farmers in 5 foranesincome generation training on squash, jam and pickle making for 187 women in 6 regions; distribution of 400 grow bags, vegetable seedlings and manure to 265 farmers in 6 regions; exposure visit of 30 farmers to Mitraniketan to learn modern methods of cultivation and distribution of cash award for best performing organic farmers.

KLM ORIGIN

The workers in the tile factories and wood industries were first organized at Thalore - Ollur in Thrissur by Fr. Jenicius CMI in the year 1957 - 59. It was an alternative to the workers who were tempted to the political parties especially the communism and later since 1959 it was supported by the diocese of Trichur. This labour's organization was "Catholic Labour Association" (CLA). Later in December 1968 a seminar was conducted in St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary for the delegates from the Dioceses of Kerala. There were 300 persons from 16 dioceses. Later in January, 1974 the CLA convened a meeting at Madona Sehiyona in Thrissur, which is said to be the beginning of Kerala Labour Movement. This meeting asked the Church in Kerala to creatively active among the workers for their integral development and empowerment.

Thus the KCBC constituted the commission for the labour being Archbishop Mar Joseph Pawvathil the Chairman, Bishop Mar Joseph Kundukulam and Dr. Bernard Perera the Members and Msgr Thomas Thalachira the secretary. The important years and events to be remembered are 1974, the Diocesan Chaplains met in Changanassery, the leaders' meetings at Thrikkakara in 1976 and at Pala in 1977. It was in the workers' camp at Manjummel where 65 labourers from 17 dioceses have attended on 23-29 of October 1977 a decision taken that the KLM should give attention to the fishermen and the agricultural workers and their issues regarding their dignity, security and empowerment. Later in 1978 a joint May Day message by the bishops was published and the rules and regulations of KLM were approved. But the KLM was in sleepy and in 2000 it was again activated by Bishop Joshwa Mar Ignatius the chairman and Fr. Jose Vattakkuzhi the secretary. Than the president of KLM was Mr. P.L. George from Thrissur, The General Secretary was Mr. Joseph Jude from Varapuzha and the treasure was Mr. Binni P. Joseph from Thiruvananthapuram.