May 1st 2016, Chennai and suburbs
Workers from various parts of Chennai, raised aloft the red banner, marking the international day of labour. Thousands of workers, participated in rallies, public meetings and other events. While the upcoming elections to the state legislature and the restrictions imposed by the Election Commission, meant that the May Day celebrations were low key, some workers used the occasion to articulate their demands and even canvass votes for the candidates they supported. Here is a selection of events that Thozhillalar Koodum could participate and report.
Over 1500 workers of Renualt Nissan, who had joined United Labour Federation, had a hall meeting in Poonamalle. President of ULF, Adv V Prakash addressed the meeting. Renualt Nissan workers are demanding that the management recognize their union and fulfill their demands that include an incentive bonus pegged to car sales
Over 200 workers from the informal sector and street vendors affiliated to Democratic Trade Union Center, took out a rally and had a public meeting at Red Hills in Chennai. Com. Arumuga Chelvam, was the guest speaker and he spoke about the anti union efforts taken by companies with specific reference to Greaves Cotton Ltd
Over 400 Workers affiliated to various unions of New Democratic Left Front, took out a rally in Poonamallee. The call of the rally this year was to abolish the contract labour system that the Modi government has been relentlessly pushing ahead, and which has led to extreme exploitation of the working class.
Workers affiliated to AICCTU from Sriperumbudur and adjoining areas took out a bike rally to mark the international Labour Day and also to canvass support for Com. Rajesh, who is a CPI ML (L) candidate for the SEZ dominated Sriperumbudur assembly constituency. Workers are various factories along the route joined in support and discussed issues with the candidate
Media activist groups Marupakkam and Periyar Self-Respect Media organized a workers’ film festival in Periyar Thidal on May 1st. The movies in the festival brought out the contrasts between excessive production of commodities and the labour who makes it possible.
Many more events, drawing many more workers were organized to commemorate the martyrdom of the Chicago workers and to raise high the banner of struggle. More detailed reports will be published in the coming days on these events.