Wednesday, 10 August, 2022

Bidi workers appeal for help to preserve their livelihoods

The Bidi (Tobaco) workers on Saturday urged the government to take necessary measures to save the industry’s workers for ensuring the livelihood of millions of workers and their family members.

They made the call at a rally in front of Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka. The bidi is a smoked product made of unprocessed tobacco wrapped in leaves unique to South Asia.

Bidi Sramik Federation president M K Bangali said thousands of bidi workers staged a rally in the city alongside Kushtia, Pabna, Bogura Tangail, Barisal, Patuakhali, marking the international May Day.

“We broke out processions with various placards and posters of our demands. We are going through a miserable time as factories are being closed day by day,” he also said.

Executive Member of the organization Anwar Hossain said they have to be united to press home their demand by taking the lesson of bloodshed history of the Labor Day. The historic May Day was observed today as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic which has rendered millions of workers jobless in recent months.

“The COVID-19 hit our income hard, so the government should pay attention to us,” he also said.

Some 10 workers were killed in Chicago on May 1 in 1886 when police opened fire on a demonstration demanding an eight-hour working day instead of a 12-hour shift.

The authorities were eventually forced to accept the workers’ demand which resulted in an eight-hour working day universally.

On July 14, 1889, an international workers' rally in Paris declared May 1 as the International Workers' Solidarity Day in recognition of the workers' sacrifice in Chicago.