Toiling hard for livelihood, workers unaware of May Day

Kathmandu, May 1

While workers across the world observed the International Workers’ Day today, most of those in Nepal were toiling hard for their livelihood unaware of the day’s significance.

Mohammad Sadan, 50, who was found selling flutes near Bhrikuti Mandap, said he would have to hand over the day’s collection to his employer in the evening.

He saw people taking out rallies and shouting slogans but had no idea what they were for. “Was that for us?,” he wondered.

Another worker Shyam Lama had similar queries. He was busy unloading goods from vehicles. “I work to earn for myself and my family.

If I take part in rallies, who will feed them?” he questioned.

When told about the significance of May Day, he said he wanted to join rallies but didn’t have time for the same.

Mira Thapa, a book seller had a different concern. “May Day is for poor workers but I see rich people celebrating it.

Those exploiting workers are seen speaking for the rights of the workers,” she said.

According to former chairman of Nepal Trade Union Congress Laxman Basnet, May 1 is celebrated to make workers aware of their rights. “Everyone is a worker and they work to supporting their family,” he said.

He said workers could even work on May Day but they must be aware of their rights.

“We are trying to make workers aware of their rights. Although there are many organisations working for the rights of workers, they must themselves be aware of their rights,” he said.

Basnet said the government and industries must pay attention to the problems of workers and protect their rights.