People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 19

May 13, 2012



May Day Rally Resolves to Launch United Struggles


Abdul Rashid


ON May 1, from each district of the Kashmir valley, thousands of Anganwadi workers and helpers, ASHA workers, PDD daily wagers, horticulture employees, agricultural workers and others gathered at the Sher-e-Kashmir Park in Srinagar to observe the May Day under the banner of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU). Workers from the CITU unit in Kishan Ganga power project, floriculture casual labourers union, SKICC employees union, Aircel Land Oustee and Security Guards Workers Union, J&K Medical & Sales Representatives association and other unions also joined.


Carrying banners and placards, and shouting slogans, they were demanding concrete measures to contain the price rise, creation of employment, strict enforcement of all basic labour laws, social security for all toilers, no to contractisation of work of permanent  or perennial nature, amendment to the Minimum Wages Act, fixation of statutory minimum wage at not less than Rs 10,000 per month, and assured pension for all. They were also shouting slogans in support of the demands of ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers and helpers, casual labourers working in different departments and daily wagers, besides sections of workers belonging to the unorganised sectors.


After the activists took out a protest procession from the S K Park, they were stopped by the police at Regal Chowk Srinagar.


CITU state president Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, while addressing the rally at the historic Regal Chowk said the woes of labourers, who are engineers of economic prosperity, are on the increase. He said the International Labour Day drew its inspiration from the Chicago martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the struggle to regulate the working hours and create conducive working conditions for a dignified life. The struggle continues, despite odds, for creating a world which is liveable and is free from exploitation and oppression. He underlined the necessity for wider unity among the working people for reversing the disastrous neo- liberal economic policies. There must be no room for any illusion, Tarigami said, as only united struggle of the toilers can force the government and employers to concede their genuine demands.


Among others trade union leaders, Abdul Rashid Najar, Ab Gani Bhat, Haseena Sofi, Dishda, Khurshid Ahmad Bhat, Jahangir Hamad Dar, Javed Ahmad, Khurshid Burza Sanjeev Mahajan, Gh Mohi_ud-din Lone addressed the rally. They said the hard won rights of the working class, secured through decades of struggle, are now being reversed through privatisation of pension and provident funds, cuts in subsidies and welfare benefits, and other measures that are being implemented across the world today, specifically targeting the social security benefits, in order to pass the burden of the economic crisis on to the working people.  While reiterating their demand for implementation of the basic labour laws in the state, they stressed on an amendment to the Minimum Wages Act and fixation of statutory minimum wage at not less than Rs 10,000 per month.


The speakers observed that the subsidies on food, fuel and fertilisers, meant for the common man, are being targeted in to be brought down to a mere 1.75 per cent of GDP while as much as five per cent of GDP is being provided to the tax defaulters and moneyed class.