Srinagar, May 02: On International Labour Day, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) held an impressive rally at Polo Ground Srinagar.
While addressing the rally, CITU State President Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami lamented that Trade Union Movement has always been ignored by the government. Since long there has been a nexus between management, bureaucracy and police to suppress the working class. Wherever there are legitimate demands of the working class, this nexus in the name of law-and-order harass the workers and their representatives and deprive them the right of collective bargaining. This has reached to crescendo since the incumbent BJP government took over five years back.
BJP led government is trying to erode the rights of the working people which had been achieved through their hard struggles. In the name of reform and benefit to the corporate sector, the government is hell bent to disarm the working class of their legitimate rights for better working conditions.
Labour laws are not being implemented properly and even the minimum wages are denied to workers working in different sectors. The Supreme Court direction for equal-work-equal-pay is not being implemented. Construction workers working in different projects (in private as well as government sector) have been left to fend for themselves as authorities are least bothered about their welfare.
The long and genuine demands of scheme workers, particularly ASHA and other NRHM workers, including Rs 10,000 as fixed wages, covering them under health insurance scheme, enhancement of ANC upto Rs 350, accidental cover to the tune of Rs three lakh, have not been fulfilled so far. Similarly, the demands of Anganwari Workers/Helpers of social security benefits, including gratuity, pension, provident fund, medical facilities etc have not been met. Recently the government had announced enhancement of Rs 500 per month to their wages, but that too is pending.
Mid-Day Meal and CPW workers and artisans have been demanding their rights which the authorities have totally ignored. MGNREGA employees, Contractuals, Need Based, Seasonal, Casual Labouers, Daily Wagers are neglected and their long pending demands are not met. Daily wagers/casual labourers are awaiting their regularization although government had issued SRO two years back, which is quite disappointing.
The inflation during the incumbent BJP government has broken the backbone of working class. Like most boast of this government, the claims on reducing inflation is also empty as the working people know only too well from their own experience and the daily struggle to make ends meet.
May Day is the only day which is celebrated cutting across the geographical and religious barriers. Tributes are being paid to Chicago martyrs, who fought for the rights of working class to work of eight hours a day. It was because of their huge sacrifices that this law could be passed.
Besides on this day, it is resolved that unless exploitive system throughout the world is not ended, the working class will continue its struggle for emancipation.
On the occasion it was announced that heroic and historic sacrifices of Zaldagar, Srinagar martyrs will be observed as part of the May Day celebrations from now onwards to pay tributes to martyrs in Chicago and Zaldagar. On 29th April 1865, sacred blood of 28 martyrs was spilled by the autocratic Dogra rulers at Zaldagar. These martyrs were protesting against outsourcing of taxation of artisans. The shawlbaff protest launched at Zaldagar against the ruling class has given vent to numerous movements of working class which are awaiting successful culminations.
The struggle and sacrifices of working class across the world is for emancipation and freedom from exploitation. There are no contradictory purposes. The blood and sweat of the worker is an asset for working class movement.
Others who spoke on the occasion included senior CITU leaders, Mohammad Afzal Parray, Abdul Gani Bhat, Abdul Rasheed Najar, Parvez Ahmad Kuchey, Bashir Ahmad Bandipora, Mubeena, Lateefa, Dilshada leaders of Anganwadi and Mubeena, Misra, Dilshada leaders of ASHA workers.