In a race to keep up with the developing trends, have we forgotten the real reason for celebrating May Day? Will capitalist stance of the government change the conditions for the Blue collared and the domestic workers in our country, challenging the very principles of International Labour Day? Let’s look into a policy that will quench your thirst for the answers
International Labour Day or popularly known as May Day was first celebrated in India due to an initiative taken by Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan in Madras (Chennai), India. The Labour Day acknowledges the efforts of working men and women towards the development of the country. The legacy of this day can be traced backed to 1886, in Chicago, USA, where initially the labours held a strike against the 16-hour working period and work conditions, demanding the 8-hour working schedule to be implemented for the well-being of the working class. The initiative soon acquired a global momentum and soon multiple countries across the world decided to empower their workers by bestowing upon them the freedom to observe the day and withhold rights of the workers. However what we fail to question ourselves today is, whether the objective of the movement has really been accomplished?
May Day has merely transformed into a Bank Holiday for the Indian society. The capitalist movement under the reigning government has given a big blow to activists across the countries who are collectively working towards labour rights. The new Labour Policy has proposed amendments in the existing labour reform bill by forging a new framework that makes the labour vulnerable to the extreme swings in the economy.
The amendments allow the factory owners to downsize their labour force by removing 300 labours without any interference by the government. To add to this dismay, the new amendments intend to increase the overtime limit from the exiting 50 hours in a quarter (3 Months) to a whopping 100 hours. The practice clearly mismatches with the agenda of Labour Day which discourages the long hour working practice followed by factory owners back in 1886. The proposal also puts forth the new criteria for Unions to register; no union will be allowed to attain a legal status unless they have the support of 30% employees, which is a 15% raise from the initial support base mentioned. These factory acts would only apply to companies who have hired.
Though the bill still needs to be approved by the Parliament of India, many states have started adopting the Anti-May day Campaign, Rajasthan being the first state to implement it the movement has now spread across North India. Haryana was severely criticized for the Anti May Day measures it took this year.
This makes us question about the lost significance of the day and the changing stance of democracy, its long-term effects on the growing economy of the country, a question that we all collectively need to answer for the overall benefit of every citizen residing in the territory of India
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