May Day observedStaff Correspondent
The International Labour Day, widely known as May Day, was observed in Bangladesh on Tuesday with workers’ groups pledging to realise labour rights and immediate modification of the Labour Law-2006 into a democratic one.
Various trade and labour unions, human rights organisations, professional bodies, socio-cultural organisations and political parties observed the day by staging rallies, holding seminars, discussions and cultural programmes in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
The day was a public holiday. In capital Dhaka, trade unions and working class people staged a series of programmes observing the day.
May 1 was adopted as the International Labour Day by socialist delegates in Paris in 1889 when they met to celebrate the centenary of the French Revolution at the Marxist International Socialist Congress.
The Federation of Organised Trades and Labour Unions of the United States and Canada, at its convention in 1884, passed a resolution : ‘Eights hours shall constitute a legal day’s labour, from and after 1 May, 1886.’
This followed a series of labour strikes and movements that eventually established the rights of the working class people.
Labour organisations, socio-cultural bodies and political parties in the country held a number of programmes to mark the day.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the government’s May Day programmes at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium organised by the labour and employment ministry to commemorate the day.
Sheikh Hasina said acquiring better skills and knowledge of technology application were necessary for workers to fight global challenges amid economic upheaval.
The labour ministry brought out a rally at 8:00am on the day. Hasina inaugurated a two-day fair on the occasion of the May Day at the city’s Osmani Memorial Auditorium. Later, she also addressed a rally at Tongi in the afternoon organised by Jatiya Sramik League—the labour front of the ruling Awami League.
The country’s biggest alliance of labour unions ‘Sramik Karmachari Oikkya Parishad’ (SKOP) held a rally at in front of the National Press Club, demanding increasing the wages of the workers.
They alsdo demanded 50 per cent dearness allowance, modification of the labour law into democratic one dropping its anti-worker clauses, and allocation of ration at lower prices for the workers.
The SKOP coordinator Wajed-ul Islam Khan, its leaders Shah Mohammad Abu Zafar, Zafrul Hasan, Razequzzaman Ratan and others spoke at the rally.
A rally was also held at the Central Shaheed Minar organised by the Bangladesh Trade Union Centre.
Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra held a rally at Central Shaheed Minar premises where president of the organisation Montu Ghosh, general secretary KM Ruhul Amin and central leader Joly Talukder spoke. They demanded special allocation for workers in the coming budget and introduction of rationing of food and other essential items for the garment workers.
Bangladesh Trade Union Federation, Bangladesh Bahumukhi Sramajibi O Hawker Samiti and Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati jointly held a rally in front of the Press Club demanding implementation of trade union rights in every mills and factory.
Chaired by Shah Atiul Islam, chief coordinator of Ganasanghati Andolan Zonayed Saki, its central leader Abdus Salam and others spoke at the rally.
National Garment Workers’ Federation held a rally at Bijoynagar where labour leaders Israfil Alam, Shafiqur Rahman Majumder, Workers Party general secretary Anisur Rahman Mallick, president of the organisation Amirul Haque Amin and others spoke.
Germants Sramik Oikkya Forum held a rally led by Mushrefa Mishu and Jagoo Bangladesh Garment Sramik Federation, Warbi Development Foundation, Bangladesh Labour Welfare Foundation and others held different programmes on the day.
Samjtantrik Sramik Front held a rally at Nabisco crossing at Tejgaon where its leaders Shubhrangshu Chakrabarty and Zahedul Haque Milu spoke.
Theatre group Ayanyak held a seminar at the Shilpakala Academy auditorium. Abdullahel Mahmud read out the keynote paper and New Age editor Nurul Kabir and playwright Mannan Hira joined in discussion chaired by Mamunur Rashid. Later the play Rarang was staged.
All industries and factories remained closed on the day. Red flags were hoisted at the offices of the political organisations.
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