The historic May Day is observed all over the world on May 1 in memory of the Chicago workers who were killed by police while they were demonstrating for an eight-hour workday in 1886. Although its celebration has been reduced to mere formalities, the spirit of the day is all about keeping up the fight to establish workers’ rights.
Today as we observe the historic day along with the rest of the world there is a distress signal from workers and daily wage earners who lost livelihoods as economy contracted due to coronavirus pandemic. Owing to the protracted lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, most businesses across the country are reeling from losses and uncertainties, leaving many workers jobless, while many others are not receiving salaries on a regular basis. Sadly, efforts to mitigate the woes of these working class people are few and far between.It is the workers who are the builders of civilisation. Without their back breaking toil nothing – beginning from pyramids to space exploring rockets – would have been possible. Yet they are the worst sufferers, deprived of almost all basic amenities a man requires for a decent living. They grow food but remain hungry; they weave cloths but have only tatters to cover their bodies; they produce medicines but die without treatment. It is they who keep the wheels of the economy running, but in return what they receive is too little, to say the least.
The state, the government and the society at large must come forward to establish the legitimate rights of the working men and women. But this is not a matter of charity; workers have earned the rights at the cost of blood, sweat and tears. We must ensure bare necessities for the toiling masses; particularly in this pandemic situation when they have either lost their jobs or receive much less than they need to keep body and soul together. Let the spirit of the May Day lead all in society to recognise the rights for which the Chicago workers laid down their lives. Long Live May Day!