Just another holiday

Just another holiday

But May 1 is most widely recognised as International Workers’ Day, and is commemorated as such by working people throughout the world.

    However with privatisation, liberalisation and computerisation edging out trade unionism, lockouts and strikes, is the true significance of this holiday lost on the young working professional?

Shruti Rajgopal, an executive consultant says, “In a comfortable working environment where employees are well paid, the struggle of exploited workers way back then seems distant and unreal. To me quite frankly, it is a holiday to look forward to on my desk calendar, one of several others that are earmarked throughout and nothing more.”
“I am quite aware of the significance of Labour/May Day,” says Tanuja, a business process manager.
“Workers, who used to slog for 12-14 hours per day, were forced to call for a general strike to cut their working hours down to eight when legislation failed them. Some were even killed as police fired on the agitating groups and they are still remembered as martyrs. But I am not really sure that the day has much significance for well paid, comfortable executives anymore.”

Manjunath Gowda, a chartered accountant, says that May Day does not hold any significance for him either in a historical or contemporary context. “If I do get a holiday (depending on my boss’ mood), then it is something to look forward to. Otherwise it’s just another day on the calendar that goes unnoticed and unremarked,” he says.

Lionel Fernandes, a corporate trainer, has this to say, “May 1 also happens to be my birthday so it is a day of celebration but for an obviously different reason. Since labour struggles and issues do not impact our lives directly in the present day and age and working conditions in urban areas are relatively good, May Day has lost its historical significance. It may be more relevant for some categories of workers but not many.”

“May Day used to be an occasion for expression of working class solidarity. Though in our country there is no dearth of trade unions, May Day no longer holds the same
fervour in an era of globalisation and privatisation.

However, while the political character and profile of the workforce has undergone a change, there are large pockets of people particularly in developing regions who need to fight for their basic rights and issues.

It is an important day and needs to be remembered as such,” opines Mona Mitter,
a senior business development manager.

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