Report from a correspondent of Mazdoor Ekta Committee
Workers across the countryheld protests and rallies to mark International Workers’ Day on 1 May 2023.They saluted the struggle of the workers in Chicago in 1886, who fought for the right to an 8-hour work day.They opposed the multiple attacks being made on the working class in the form of privatisation, contractualisation, and anti-worker laws and policies. They demanded their right to better working conditions.
In Delhi, trade unions organised a joint rally. They opposed the anti-worker Labour Codes, privatisation, outsourcing, inflation, and unemployment.
Several rallies were held in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where workers condemned the anti-public, anti-worker policies of the state and central governments. Unions in Coimbatore and Tirupurdemanded thatthe central government mustwithdraw the Labour Codes. Many street corner and gram sabha meetings were organised across the states.
In Amritsar, Punjab, different political parties, employees of various industries, and farmers, students and labour unions organised meetings and paid tribute to the martyrs of Chicago. They condemned the government policies that make basic services like health, education, water supply and electricity unaffordable to the masses.Meetings were held in several towns and cities of the state. The activists of the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (PSSF) and the Safai Sewak Union organised a joint rally in the complex of the local Municipal Council. Local writers and intellectuals too organised an event, as also many other social and political organisations.
Safai karmacharis in Maharashtraand other states also participated in May Day rallies.
In West Bengal, workers took out rallies in Howrah, Hooghly and the North 24 Parganas districts. Various unions, including factory, rickshaw, and hawkers’ unionsparticipated in the rallies. Several students’ unions observed May Day on university campuses.
Electricity, railway, bank, and defence workers organised protests marches in many parts of the country. Electricity workers in Maharashtra and Jharkhand remembered the sacrifices of workers over the years to achieve basic rights and pledged to fight against the attacks on their rights today.
Electricity workers,on contract in Madhya Pradesh,organised rallies on May Daydemanding regularisation, a complete end to the contract system and conversion of part-time workers into full-time ones.
Railway workers organised meetings, marches, and bike rallies across the country, including in Assam, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. They opposed privatisation, the New Pension Scheme, foreign direct investment, and public-private partnerships in railways.In Ajmer, Rajasthan, railway workers and workers of other sectors participated in a huge rally and meeting.
Many mass organisations conducted May Day programmes and morchas all over India.