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May Day has become an ‘illusion’

May Day is observed throughout the world every year on 1st day of May. This year too it has been observed with great enthusiasm by the working class people, despite their sufferings for earning two meals a day for their family. Hardships in the lives of workmen have reached at a point of no return. The aims for the May Day celebrations are lost in present economic globalization. The legislations aimed to protect the rights of workmen have failed to protect them. The rich and affluent class of people are controlling the economy and increasing their capital and wealth day by day. On the other hand the people in the lower groups of society are putting efforts to keep their identity intact and a hope to survive by any means. The major problems are with the middle class people, who do not find a way to lead a respectful life. Government jobholders at least feel safe and protected, but those engaged in unorganized sectors are to face the brunt of deteriorating economic situation. Now, government enterprises have also adopted the practice of contract labors, in their own interest.

The trade unions claiming to work and protect the interests of the workmen do not perform well and in most of the cases it has been found that a number of trade union leaders are ‘purchased’ by the management and ultimately work against the interest of their members. Although all the trade unions claim that their motto is to serve the working class people, they differ in their activities. The Central trade unions play ‘politics’ under the guidance of their political wings and betray the workmen even on their genuine demands. The innocent and ignorant workmen realize the situation too late.

The State machinery supposed to look after the welfare of the workmen and protect their interests goes against them and supports the actions of the employers. It has been found in a number of complaints relating to the grievances of workmen that the officials entrusted to investigate the cases contact the management and take tea and ‘refreshment’, then blame the workmen for their ‘unjustified’ demands. The delay in the action taken by the state machinery makes the working class people disillusioned and they lose patience. Ultimately, they move disappointed to earn bread and butter for their family elsewhere. Their survival becomes important for their family after they lose a job. In unorganized sectors there are no rules and regulations. The May Day was the pioneer of bringing the idea of eight-hours working in an organization, but under the present situation workers are made to work ten to twelve hours a days. The labor department keeps its eyes closed on the activities and the advertisements published in the newspapers regularly. No one of this department restricts this practice.

‘Justice delayed is justice denied’, is a common proverb as regards the matters related to the workmen cases referred to Industrial Tribunals and the Labor courts. It has been found that the presiding officers in these courts are appointed after they retire from the service and get the extension. Due to their age factors they go slow and take much time to decide the cases on even ‘preliminary’ points. The workmen fail to continue long and leave to defend themselves midway. This always goes in the interest of the management and the worker remains the loser. The real spirit of May Day is lost in the present situation.

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Daya Nath Singh's picture

Journalist; Guwahati Press Club office Secretary

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