May Day: Most workers still ignorant of right to facilities

Many of the daily wage labourers do not know what May Day or Labour Day is all about; they also have no knowledge on the facilities from the Labour Department.

Majority of the labourers who are illiterates are unaware of the fact that they have to get themselves registered in the Labour Department for availing the facilities.

For a migrant population that works on the roads, at construction sites and as domestic help in Chikkamagaluru, Labour Day means nothing.

Gavanahalli Ram, a labourer said, “May Day is for officials. They have a holiday. If we take leave, we will lose a day’s earning. I have been working as a coolie for the last 15 years. When I approached the Labour Department to get myself registered, they asked me to get the signature of the engineer and others. Even after running from pillar to post, I could not get any benefit.”

Lalithamma of Hariyadarahalli said that she has been working as a daily wage labourer for the last 13 years and she did not get any benefit from the government so far. “I do not know what Labour Day is all about.”

Chandramma said, “We have to purchase ragi and rice and also repay the loans borrowed for marrying off my daughters. I have been eking out a livelihood by working as a coolie for the last 20 years.

Neither do I know what Labour Day is nor am I part of any labour union.”

Construction worker Kaldoddi Ganesh said that he has been into construction work for the last five years. “The Labour Department officials had visited us to get us registered with the Department. I have not received any benefit so far.”

A two-wheeler mechanic who did not wish to reveal his name said, “I have knowledge on Labour Day celebrations. Our association holds mass feeding. We pay Rs 50 for our association every month. However, we did not get any benefit from the government.”
DH News Service

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