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Separate labour laws for SEZs opposed

Staff Reporter

Public meetings, rallies, and hoisting of red flags mark May Day celebrations

Sustained approach to redress grievances of workers stressed

Workers' plight attributed to policies adopted by the government

— PHOTOS: CH. VIJAYA BHASKAR and T. Vijaya Kumar

MAY DAY SPIRIT:CPI State secretary K. Narayana hoisting the party flag on the occasion of May Day in Vijayawada on Sunday. (Right) Workers and AITUC leaders taking out a rally in Guntur to mark the occasion.

VIJAYAWADA: Public meetings and rallies by the working class marked the May Day celebrations on Sunday. Colourful festoons and banners were put up at many places and processions were taken out on the occasion. Red flags were hoisted at street corners in the city by various trade unions and political parties such as the CPI, the CPI (M), and the CPI (ML).

It was the turn of the labour force to celebrate in the unorganised sector as well. The hawkers on Besant Road and mutha workers in One Town and other places were seen wearing badges and participating in the celebrations. On the occasion, they recalled the history of the labour movement and the need for sustained approach to redress the grievances of the workers.

CPI State secretary K. Narayana expressed concern over separate labour laws for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and said he was determined to oppose it tooth and nail. Leaders decried that it was unconstitutional and undemocratic to prohibit trade unions in the SEZs. Contrarily, the shops and establishments functioned as usual in most parts of city.

Slogans raised

The trade unionists raised slogans highlighting the plight of youngsters hailing from the families with little knowledge, who were absorbed by the multi-national companies to whom lands owned by the families were allotted for setting up industrial units.

The CPI State secretary hoisted red flag at Palme Dutt Bhavan (CPI office). Addressing the gathering, he said that his party would continue to oppose the SEZs and special laws for the SEZs.

Questioning as to what catastrophe would happen if Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and Vijayamma won the by elections, he said that the government should be sportive in the elections.

CPI(M) Central Committee member Paturu Ramaiah, addressing a public meeting at Lenin Centre, said that the policies pursued by State and Centre were the main reasons behind problems being faced by the workers.

The governments had forgotten the welfare of the people and were following the footprints of capitalist and imperialist nations.

The workers would have to wage a united struggle to oppose the anti- labour policies, he said.

CPI(M) city secretary R. Ragu and State Committee member Ch. Babu Rao spoke.

CPI Vijayawada rural mandal secretary Y. Krishna Kishore hoisted red flag at a programme organised by The Vijayawada Tata Music and Auto Workers' Union near Gandhiji Municipal High School. CPI(ML) city secretary T. Purnachandra Rao and others hoisted flags at various places, including Giripuram, Gunadala, Nidamanuru, and Krishnalanka.

The Vijayawada Auto Owners-cum-Drivers Association celebrated May Day by hoisting flags at various places wherein association president B. Kishore participated.

Protest day

GUNTUR: The office-bearers and members of All India Train Controllers' Association (AITCA), Guntur division, observed May Day as a protest day by wearing black badges showing their resentment against the callous attitude of the railway administration in addressing the long-pending issues of providing them weekly calendar day rest, removing pay anomalies, filling vacancies, and improving working conditions.

AITCA divisional secretary K. Mallikarjuna Rao stated in a press release that this was the third consecutive time that the AITCA observing May Day as a protest day as per the call given by the association's national executive committee. The job of train controllers was highly stressful.

They were the ones responsible for the punctual and safe movement of passenger and freight trains, he said.

The daily movement of more than 16,000 trains on 64,000-km route was closely monitored by train controllers, who were allegedly meted a raw deal unmindful of the risk to their lives and the enormous responsibility shouldered by them.

“Tackling unforeseen instances such as track tampering, terrorist attacks, inclement weather, and signal failures was not any easy task but the train controllers remained a neglected lot.”

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