widenews desk: The historic May Day was observed across the country as elsewhere around the globe on Monday with a fresh call to announce a new salary structure for workers and ensure their justified rights, including trade union one.
Trade unions and ready made garment (RMG) workers, professional bodies, socio-cultural organisations and political parties observed the day in the city and elsewhere throughout the country staging rallies, bringing out processions, holding discussions, seminars and cultural programmes.
They also pressed for improving the working conditions with better wages and security for the workers.
May Day, also known as International Workers’ Solidarity Day, commemorates the historic uprising of working people in Chicago, the USA at the height of a prolonged fight for an eight-hour workday.
The day was a public holiday.
Labour and Employment Ministry arranged a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre marking the day.
Speaking at the programme as the chief guest, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the mill, factory and industry owners to properly look after the wellbeing of their workers. “And I’ll call upon the workers to take care of the mills, factories and industries that are sources of your livelihood. This is your duty.”
The Prime Minister urged the owners to give special attention to developing the conditions of their workers and workplace. “There’ll be a cordial relation between owners and workers…They’ll complement each,” she hoped.
Jatiya Sramik League arranged a discussion in front of Awami League central office on the occasion.
Addressing the programme, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader urged all concerned to fix eight-hour duty for workers and employees in their respective offices and mills and factories.
Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal brought out a rally from in front of the Nayapaltan central office joined by BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and other party senior leaders.
Jatio Sramik Federation brought out a rally at Purana Paltan from where they demanded announcement of a new wage board for the workers, payment of their arrears and the implementation of the labour law to protect their rights.
Garment Workers Trade Union Centre arranged a discussion at Mukti Bhaban at Purana Paltan. Speaking at the programme, its adviser and left party leader Monjurul Ahsan said, “Although we’re an independent nation, our workers are still not free from repression and exploitation.”
The platform leaders demanded the government announce a minimum basic wage of Tk 10,000 for all the RMG workers and minimum gross wage Tk 16,000 for them.
Private Drivers Union also took out a rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club and demanded fixation of their working hours, placing a proper requirement process and checking irregularities in providing them driving licence and its renewal.
Bangladesh Apparels Workers Federation (BAWF) also organised a rally in front of the Ramna Park and placed their various demands while Garments Workers Alliance Forum arranged a mass rally at a playground in Shyampur area of the capital.
Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) and Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) also jointly organised a discussion at the Jatiya Press Club marking the May Day.
At the programme, the leaders of the two platforms demanded the government announce the 9th Wage Board immediately for journalists.
Newspapers published supplements while radio and television channels aired special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.
On May 1, 1886, 10 workers were killed when police opened fine on a demonstration in the US city of Chicago near Hay Market demanding an eight-hour working day instead of a 12-hour shift. On the height of agitation, the authorities had to accept the workers’ demand and the eight-hour day has been introduced universally.
On July 14, 1889 in Paris, an international workers’ rally declared May 1 as the International Workers Solidarity Day in recognition of the Chicago workers’ sacrifice and achievement and since 1890, the day has been observed globally as the International Workers Solidarity Day.