A.R.M. Ismail, general secretary of the district unit of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) expressed concern over the failure of successive governments in “protecting the interests of the working class, particularly workers in the mining industry”.

Addressing a May Day rally near Tungabhadra Dam in Hospet on Wednesday, he criticised major political parties for fielding mine lessees in the May 5 polls. He said they had failed to help workers in the mining industry, who have been unemployed since the Supreme Court’s ban. He added that mine lessees had not given them adequate compensation.

He exhorted workers not to sell their votes and to fight for their rights unitedly.

A representative of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Karunanidhi, underlined the need for the working class to think of ushering an alternative force to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. Mattihalli Basavaraj of AITUC said the working class had the responsibility of electing a person who could take up their cause in the State Assembly.

In another rally organised by the All-India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) near the city, the organisation’s representative A. Devadas expressed concern over what he called the “onslaught on the working class”. “Governments have been introducing a contract system, outsourcing and the like, pushing the workers to slavery, which is strongly condemnable and should be fought relentlessly,” he said.