They shout slogans against ‘anti-labour’ policies of the Union and State governments

Several anganwadi, midday meal, and contract workers apart from gram panchayat employees joined a rally held as part of the first district conference of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions in Bidar on Saturday.

They gathered at Ganesh Maidan and walked to Ambedkar circle. They shouted slogans against the “anti-labour” policies of the Union and State governments and hailed the pro-labour organisations.

At the public function, labour leaders called for a unified agitation of labourers and workers in various sectors to achieve the goal of an exploitation-free world. “Successive governments at the State and the Centre have betrayed labourers by not ensuring minimum wages or job security,” M.B. Nadagouda, state secretary of the CITU, said. “Political parties have seen the labour class only as a vote bank and not as a target group that needs welfare measures,” he added.

He said it was ironical that governments that refused to ensure minimum wages for labourers were quick to increase wages and benefits of government employees. Akshara Dasoha workers, headload workers, gram panchayat staff and others have been wooed by various parties only for political benefit.

“Each government has assured of providing secured jobs and higher wages, but never kept these promises. Labour organisations have been fighting for these minimum rights for over four decades now. But they have not been fulfilled. Akshara Dasoha workers are the least paid in the State today. Several memoranda to Chief Ministers have gone unnoticed,” he said. He demanded that the government drop the idea of appointing employees on contract in government departments. All departments should have only permanent employees and they should get all employee benefits, he said.

He said that only democratic agitations could lead to employee welfare and that CITU would fight for the benefit of over five lakh headload workers and over one lakh Akshara Dasoha workers in the State.

K. Neela, Janawadi Mahila Sanghatane vice-president, urged the working class to fight for justice. “The BJP regime in the State has had three Chief Ministers, but no real effort at ensuring working class welfare,” she said. “All the BJP’s policies and programmes were for the rich,” she alleged.