Tuesday, April 23, 2024

May Day today

The International Labour Day, widely known as May Day, will be observed in Bangladesh as elsewhere around the world today amid demands from working class people for wage increase to cope with continued inflation and price spiral.
The day is observed marking the uprising of the working class people who fought for their rights.
One of the three major trends of trade unionism of the time, the Federation of Organised Trades and Labour Unions of the United States and Canada in its 1884 convention passed a resolution: ‘Eights hours shall constitute a legal day’s labour, from and after May 1, 1886.’
The largest of the trends, the Knights of Labour, included the demand for the eight-hour day in its first convention in 1978. The third was the anarchists, who organised the International Working People’s Association in 1883.
Many of the strikes in 1886 became unsuccessful but on May 3, 1886, one of the anarchists, August Spies, addressed a crowd of strikers at McCormick Harvesters Works in Chicago, Illinois where a force of 200 police attacked the crowd. At least one striker was killed. About half a dozen were seriously wounded.
The anarchists convened a meeting for the next evening in Haymarket Square in Chicago to protest at police action. But on the peaceful May 4 rally, the police carried out a series of attacks against the strikers.
A bomb, thrown from the crowd into the police ranks, exploded. Sixty-six policemen were wounded; seven died later. The police pulled their gun on the workers. Two hundred were injured and several were killed.
The convention of the American Federation of Labour in 1888 announced that labourers would enforce the eight-hour working day with strikes and demonstrations on May 1, 1890.
May 1 was adopted as International Labour Day by socialist delegates in Paris in 1889. More than 400 delegates met in Paris on the centenary of the French revolution at the Marxist International Socialist Congress, the founding meeting of the Second International.
The 1889 resolution called for a one-time demonstration but it became an annual event in course of time. May Day was celebrated in Russia, Brazil and Ireland first in 1891.
The day is a public holiday in most of the countries.
The president, Zillur Rahman, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, the leader of the opposition in the parliament, Khaleda Zia, and leaders of different political parties and labour organisations have issued separate messages on the occasion.
The president stressed the need for concerted efforts of entrepreneurs, owners and workers to build a prosperous and stronger economic base.
He called for involving greater section of society in production related activities by establishing labour-intensive industries.
The prime minister said that the government was determined to ensure the welfare of labourers and bring about dynamism in production.
She said various programmes had been undertaken for the welfare of labourers, including updating the labour law, extending duration of services of labourers to 60 years and reopening of closed down factories.
She said that Bangladesh has ratified 33 conventions of the International Labour Organisation including eight core ones to protect the rights of the working class people.
The leader of the opposition in the parliament said that the working class people in Bangladesh were passing a tough time as there were no employments and factories were being closed one after another because of severe power and gas shortage and unabated smuggling through the ‘open frontier.’
She called on the working class people to build up resistance against the government’s activities running against national interests.
The Workers Party of Bangladesh president, Rashed Khan Menon, and the general secretary, Anisur Rahman Mallik, in a statement called for ensuring proper wages and trade union rights of workers and full rationing for them.
The labour and employment ministry, political parties and labour organisations have planned programmes to mark day.
The labour ministry will bring out a procession in Dhaka. It will also hold a discussion and a three-day fair at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. The prime minister will open the May Day programmes.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party will bring out a procession in Dhaka.
Gana Forum will hold a discussion in its office at 5:30pm.
The National Garment Workers’ Federation will hold a labourers’ rally and bring out a procession carrying red flags from the Purana Paltan crossing at 10:00am. The Bangladesh Garment Workers’ Unity Council will hold a rally at 11:00am in Muktangan.
The Samajtantrik Sramik Front will hold a rally in the Tejgaon Industrial Area at 4:00pm. The Bangladesh Garments Sramik Sanghati will hold a rally and screen a film at Pallabi at 4:00pm.

 

Courtesy of New Age

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