As Modi led Central Government leashes its onslaught on working class in India, with its various anti-labour reforms, the working class in Chennai and surrounding areas continues its struggles against Capitalism by commemorating and celebrating Labour Day on May 1st. TN Labour Blog extends its salutations to workers on this historic day. Some events covered on May 1st…
Asian Paints Workers celebrate May Day amid strike (9:00 AM)
As the Asian paints workers’ strike entered 4th day, the presence of bouncers in the factory did not deter workers from celebrating may day. Following the dismissal of two workers, the factory workers went on a flash strike on April 28th with 100 workers protesting insite for more than 2 days and rest of the workers striking at the gate. Earlier on April 24th , a tripartite conciliation meeting between the Asian Paints Employees Union and the management in front of the Labour Department failed after the management refused to concede to the demands of the union. On may 1st, with the Labour Department’s mediation, the workers withdrew the insite protest while continuing to protest at the gate. While the management has brought in bouncers at the gate, the workers celebrated may day by hoisting union flag at the gate.
Garment Workers celebrate May day (10:30 AM)
The women garment women workers came to commemorate the labour day on May 1st in Chengalpet. The women garment workers of Chennai and its surrounding areas have been fighting for a fair minimum wage and for collective bargaining in their factories. For the past decade, the owners of these factories have been blocking the increased minimum wages for garment industries by taking court stay order. GAFWU waged a legal struggle against the industry capitalists and won a legal judgement in their favour. Based on this, the Government increased the basic salary of garment workers to Rs 3000 in February 2014. The women workers are facing an uphill battle getting this implemented in their f actory. The owners have resorted to closure of the factories (as in the instance of GV) to evade providing fair wages to workers and to deny permanent status to the workers. The women workers in garment industry are fighting to ensure basic wages, compensation in face of layoffs and other basic amenities at the factories. The workers came together on May 1st to celebrate the struggles of working class. The meeting was addressed by Sujata Modi(Penn Thozhilalar Sangam), Selvi(Lawyer) and Gautham(NTUI).
UWF May Day Celebration infront Labour Statue (11:30 AM)
Unorganized sector workers including domestic workers, construction workers, fish workers and manual workers under the aegis of Unorganized Workers Federation took oath to continue struggles for improvement of working class in front of labour statue on May Day. The meeting was addressed by R. Geetha, advisor to Unorganized Workers Federation. The workers demanded ESI for uorganized sector workers, implementation of welfare measures, prohibition of liquor and Lok Ayukta. The workers opposed the anti workers legal amendments sought by Central Government in land acquisition act and continued to struggle against the anti working policies of Central and State Governments. The workers also demanded for implementation of street vendors act and housing rights for workers.
AITUC-CITU South Chennai units organize joint Labour Day meeting in Kannagi Nagar (5:00 PM)
South Chennai district committees of AITUC and CITU commemorated ‘Labour Day’ by organizing a Workers’ March from Thoraipakkam Jain College to Kannagi Nagar Resettlement colony, concluding with a workers meeting in Kannagi Nagar. The meeting was organized to highlight the demands of the workers as well as to highlight the pitiable condition of the resettlement colonies that houses a vast number of informal workers and daily wage labourers. It was also a show of unity between the two unions.
The meeting was presided by S. Appunu, District secretary of CITU with guest speeches by Com. T K Rangarajan, member of parliament (CPIM) and T. M Murty, General Secretary of AITUC (TN) along with various leaders from the two unions. While speaking on the neglect of the working class by the present central government, TK Rangarajan highlighted the eagerness of the Central government to provide voting rights to non resident Indians, while oblivious to the loss of voting rights for lakhs of migrant workers due to lack of postal ballot facilities. T. M Murty, in his speech, referred to the Hay market incident in Chicago, USA, and praised the martyrs of the struggle as the forefathers of workers across the world. He said that their sacrifices should not go in vain and we should resist the steady erosion of our rights.
The demands by both the unions included the demand to rise wages, protect workers from retrenchment, preserve the multi-cultural traditions of our country, to fight against communal divisive forces as well as improvements to sites such as kannagi nagar. The speakers also denounced the anti labour policies of the central government.
Labour Day procession by workers in Ranipettai SIPCOT
Over 2500 workers from various unions affiliated to United Labour Front took part in a procession from SIPCOT Ranipet to Ranipet town as a commemoration of the International Labours day. The workers came from Wipro, NVH, Godrej, Arvind Remedies, MM Forgings and MM Rubber as well as MRF Thiruvottiyur and Arakkonam.
The procession was presided by Com Nagaraj and the chief guest was Com. Adv Prakash who spoke of the importance of the events that led to the Haymarket incident and its relevance to the present times.
While marking the international labours day, the workers also raised slogans against the central and state governments for their anti labour policies and demanded that the central government ratify the ILO covenant on labour rights and recognize trade unions in factories in Tamilnadu.