May Day Appeal from Jan Sansad


Our Labour ! Our Strength ! Workers Power Zindabaad !
Labour Day : An Appeal from Jan Sansad
Dear Friends,
Zindabaad !
Every year the May Day is celebrated by millions of workers around the world commemorating the the hard earned workers rights after years of struggles. It is a celebration but also a time to remember the victories, defeats and challenges infront of the workers movement even as we move ahead. Workers of the world unite ! The slogan has assumed much importance and the meaning of work and labour has also gone through significant changes over years. Today nearly 93% of the workers are in the unprotected and unorganised sector who are still having to fight for their basic rights : social security, job security, pension, health and education facilities, eight hour working day, mandatory leaves, fair wages, minimum wages, right to unionise and others.

A hard fought right to form independent unions by the workers is under threat and so are other rights in the era of global capital pushing for maximum exploitation of labour and complete privatisation and contractualisation of work in neo liberal reforms era. Millions of agricultural workers, NREGA workers, construction workers, fish workers, forest workers, hawkers, and many other non-traditionally recognised forms of workers remain outside the social security net and face problems with the authorities in forming their own unions across the country. In the same way millions of workers working in manufacturing sector face the same problem most recent being Maruti factory in Gurgaon, Rockman and Satyam in Dehradun and elsewhere.

Various studies, surveys and reports have accepted the fact that this group of workers contributes more than 60% to the GDP. From road construction crews to domestic help, they work long hours for less than the minimum wage, receive no compensation for work-related injuries; and they receive no social security. About 44% of all unorganised urban workers are construction workers but they have no social security or job security, most of them migrants who stream in from remote villages where agriculture can no longer support their growing numbers. It is unfortunate that even though nearly 60% of the population is engaged in the agriculture, fishery and forestry but their total contribution to the GDP has come down to nearly 16%, indicating worst agrarian crisis fuelling large scale farmers suicide and migration.

These issues and others were discussed at Rashtriya Jan Sansad held in New Delhi (March 19 – 23), attended by nearly 7,500 people from 20 States over five days. Member’s of People Parliament agreed that time has to demand rights and justice for the working class people who are running the economy today but remain unprotected and unorganised. Some of the significant resolutions from the discussions on the subject are following :

• The honest producers of this country – workers, artisans, fisher folks, hawkers, and others in unprotected and unorganised sectors continue to be oppressed and often victimised. The 93% of workers who have been denied social security pensions should be given protection equivalent to the organised and secured sectors. There should be access to food, water, shelter etc. to everyone equitably. Every service, every resource or development benefits should be equitably distributed.
• The Provisions for pension must be extended to the 93% workers in the informal and unorganised sector workers, the current provisions are not at all adequate. The inequality in various pension schemes in different states must be removed.
• There should be an end to inequality in the country. The politicians are working only for the interests of a handful of people, not for the interests of the masses. There shouldn’t be a difference of more than 1:10 in the income of the people and a ameeri rekha should be determined. Tax should be levied on property and assets, not on small productions or incomes.
• Right to Unionise is a fundamental right and it must be respected irrespective of the sector, work, etc.
• All forms of forced labour must be stopped effectively. There is need of comprehensive social protection for all unorganised sector workers and fair wages must be given to them. The minimum wages must be raised to a living wage level and it must be ensured that these are remitted on time. Minimum wages should be as such that the whole family is provided for by the income of one. The below poverty line families list should be enumerated by the members of the gram sabha or the electorate of the urban areas.
• There must be provisions for Rain Basera (shelter homes) for daily wagers and migrant workers. The migrant workers in cities who have faced eviction must be duly rehabilitated.
• Under NREGA, work must be provided throughout the year. Corruption must be stopped in NREGA and different pension schemes must be introduced.
• The ambiguities and contradictions in central and state labour laws must be removed. The labourers must be adequately represented in the labour boards.
• The use of machines in PMGSY must be stopped and manual labour be implemented so that the employment can be provided to workers and their skills can also be upgraded.
• There is a need for changes in the hawkers policy and provisions must be made for them to be allotted shops and given rehabilitation as per requirement.
• The domestic workers must be brought under the sexual harassment act and be provided protection and security under various acts.

Many other issues were discussed during the Jan Sansad which will take forward the struggle for the development with justice and equity. The programmes emerging from the Jan Sansad will be carried forward in coming days by the movements and community groups in their regions and areas through struggles, moblisations and advocacy.

On this Mazdoor Diwas on May 1st our constituent groups organise to demand the rights, dignity and security for the 93% of the working force of this country and pave the way forward for a most just and humane society. We hope you all will join us in taking forward the struggle for a life and livelihood of dignity for millions of working class people of the country.

In Solidarity,

Medha patkar, Prafulla Samantara (Orissa), Sandeep Pandey (Uttar Pradesh), Dr. Sunilam (Madhya Pradesh), Gautam Bandopadhyay (Chattisgarh), Suhas Kolhekar, Vilas Bhongade, Subhash Lomate, Sumit Wajale (Maharashtra), Shaktiman Ghosh (National Hawker Federation), P Chennaiah, Ramakrishna Raju (Andhra Pradesh), Gabriele Dietrich (Tamilnadu), Vimal Bhai (Uttarakhand), Rakesh Rafique, Manish Gupta, Rupesh Verma (Western Uttar Pradesh), Prof. Ajit Jha, Rajendra Ravi, Bhupendra Singh Rawat, Vijayan M J, Madhuresh Kumar (Delhi), Gurwant Singh (Punjab), Anand Mazgaonkar (Gujarat), Mahender Yadav (Patna, Bihar), Nizam Ansari (Bokaro, Jharkhand), Geo Jose (Kerala) and others
(Jan Sansad Coordinating Committee)

Open Letter to UT Administration: Drop the Charges against peaceful protesters

(Please tweet me at @sshingavi if you want to sign on)

To the University of Texas, Austin administration:

We, the undersigned, members of the UT community are troubled by the arrest of peaceful protesters at the Office of the President on April 18, 2012.  Non-violent student protest ought to be met not with criminalization but with negotiations and dialogue.

Students were sitting-in to protest the University of Texas’s agreements with Nike (among others) under the notoriously discredited Fair Labor Association, a fig-leaf masquerading as a watchdog institution which has done next to nothing to eliminate sweatshop labor conditions but has done much to revive the ailing image of massive corporations like Nike and Disney.  Students took lessons that they learned in the classes taught here at UT, in departments like anthropology, geography, ethnic studies, sociology, political science, and philosophy and applied them to the real world situation of the conditions of their own education and asked the university to commit to real monitoring agencies under the Workers’ Rights Consortium.  Instead of being praised for their convictions, the administration has sought to vilify them for “trespassing.”

Once again the University of Texas will be embarrassed in the national media for its continuing preference for contracts with apparel producers with known ties to sweatshops over the educational and civic mission that the university is supposed to stand for.  Once again, the University of Texas  will be associated not with the bold slogan that “what starts here changes the world,” but with the banal repetition of the worst excesses of power at the expense of democracy, courage, and justice.

We think that it is time for this pattern of responding to protest with police to stop in favor of a policy of active engagement with student concerns.  We demand that the charges against the students arrested today be dropped.  We demand that the University revise its policies in dealing with student protesters.  But most importantly, we demand that the university drop its commitment to the Fair Labor Association and actively support the Workers’ Rights Consortium.

Sincerely,

Aaron Goldman, Community Art Education, UT College of Fine Arts

Adrian Reyna, 3rd year B.A. Government, University of Texas

Alejandro Márquez, MA candidate in Latin American Studies (LLILAS) and Global Policy Studies (LBJ)

Alida Perrine, Graduate Student in Latin American Studies, ILASSA Vice President, University of Texas – Austin

Albert A. Palacios, M.S.I.S., B. Arch., Film Curatorial Assistant, Digitization Technician, Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Alejandra Cerna Rios, Graduate Student, Social Work, LBJ school

Alejandra Spector, Senior, Spanish and Portuguese

Alex Barron, Assistant Professor, St. Edwards University. UT graduate.

Alexandra Kaminsky University of Texas at Austin ’11, JD Candidate Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ’14

Allison Ramirez, Master’s candidate in Global Policy Studies (LBJ School) and Latin American Studies (LLILAS)

Albert Anthony Palacios, LLILAS Graduate Student

Allison G. Heinrich, The University of Texas at Austin ’14, Philosophy & Journalism

Alma Buena, University of Texas at Austin, Undergraduate, Government and Mexican American Studies

Amanda Austin, M. Ed., University of Texas Alumni

Amanda Gray, PhD Student, Department of American Studies and the Center for American Studies

Amy Price, UT grad student

Anabella Coronado, Ph.D. Candidate in Latin American Studies

Andi Gustavson, Doctoral Candidate in American Studies

Angelica Perez, Alumnus, Liberal Arts

Anindya Dey, University of Texas, Graduate Student

Anne Kuhnen, UT Undergraduate and President of Amnesty International-UT Chapter

Anne Lewis, Lecturer, Radio Television Film, University of Texas, Austin

Anthony Norton – UT Graduate, Spring 2010 – B.A.(Hons) Philosophy & Government. Current M.A. Philosophy student at Brandeis University

Axel Bohmann, English Department (grad student)

Ayesha Akbar, The University of Texas at Austin ’14 Psychology, Middle Eastern Studies, Arabic

Barbara Harlow, Professor, Department of English

Beliza Torres Narváez, Ph.D. Candidate 2012, Performance as Public Practice, Department of Theatre and Dance

Bernth Lindfors, Professor Emeritus, Department of English

Blanca Caldas, Ph.D. student Bilingual education/Department of Curriculum and Instruction UT Austin

Brett Anderson, History Department

Brian Stross, Professor of Anthropology, UT Austin

Caitlyn Collins, PhD student, Department of Sociology

Caitlin Eaves, Alumnus, Arabic and Religious Studies

Camilo Perez, Undergraduate, University of Texas

Carly Kocurek, doctoral candidate, Department of American Studies

Cecilia Cruz, Alumnus, Sociology and Latin American Studies

Charlotte Nunes, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English, UT-Austin, Graduate Assistant, Bridging Disciplines Program

Chase Newton, Neurobiology Student at UT

Chris Ledesma, Alumnus, Spanish and Geography

Christopher Bernhardt Undergraduate Student, University of Texas-Austin

Chuck Michelson, doctoral candidate in Neuroscience, UT Austin

Claudia Chavez, graduate student, Anthropology Department

Colleen McGue, MA/MSCRP from UT 2011

Consuela Wright, Psychology Undergrad, UT

Czarina Thelen, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology

Dan Heiman (Curriculum & Instruction)

Dana Carina Wenker, Recent UT Grad, Linguistics

Dana Cloud, Associate Professor, Department of Communication

Daniel Rudin; MFA student in Studio Art

Dave Kalloor, former grad student, UT-Austin

Deanna Kilgore, Senior Linguistics major.

Dorota Biczel, PhD Student, Dept. of Art and Art History

Eliot Tretter, Geography Department

Elizabeth Anderson, International Relations & Spanish undergrad

Elizabeth Gonzalez, President of Voices for Reproductive Justice, UT Austin.

Elizabeth Velasquez, Doctoral Student in Anthropology

Eric Covey, Doctoral Candidate, Department of American Studies

Erica Mathews, Anthropology undergraduate at UT

Erick Rodriguez, Hispanic Studies Senior and Information Technology Services Sr. Student Associate.

Fatima Jafri, Undergraduate Advertising, University of Texas at Austin

Gabriel Daniel Solis, University of Texas, Alumnus

Gretchen Murphy, Professor, Department of English

Guillermo Hernandez Martinez, University of Texas, Journalism and History major.

Heather Houser, Assistant Professor, Dept. of English

Howard Cunningham, retired, UT Health Center, Tyler

Jacinto Cuvi Escobar, Department of Sociology

Jaime Puente, MA Candidate CMAS

James Ward, School of Social Work

Janet M. Davis, Associate Professor of American Studies, History, and Women’s and Gender Studies

Jason Brownlee, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin

Jennifer Kelly, Ph.D. Student, American Studies

Jessica Martin, graduate student, Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Jessica Osorio, LLILAS M.A. student

James Branson, Organizer, Texas State Employees Union, CWA local 2186

Jennifer Scott, Doctoral Student, School of Social Work

Jesus Joslin, Government undergraduate

Jocelyn Charvet, MSSW candidate, Class of 2012

Joao Costa Vargas, African and African Diaspora Studies Department

John Lawler, Undergraduate, Geography Department.

Jorge Antonio Renaud, MSSW Candidate, May 2012

José García, Cultural Studies in Education, TA, PhD Student

Josh Haney, Master of Public Affairs Candidate, 2012, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Josh Walther, University of Texas, Austin

Joy Learman, Assistant Instructor and Doctoral Candidate, School of Social Work

Julia Lee, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Center for Asian American Studies

Julian Munoz Villarreal, Middle Eastern Studies and Sociology undergraduate

Julianne Wooten, Environmental Science – Geosciences undergrad at UT

Justin Olaguer, Class of 2011, Philosophy BA

Kalyan Venkatraj, Gov/afr lah undergrad

Karen D. Burke, University of Texas, Alumna

Karin Samelson, journalism undergraduate senior

Katherine Adams, UT Austin ’14 Mechanical Engineering

Kathleen Burns, English Honors & Biology (EEB), UT undergraduate

Katya Kolesova, Graduate Student, Women and Gender Studies

Kayli Kallina, Class of 2014, Psychology, Education

Ken Zarifis, President, Education Austin

Kiran Ahmed, Doctoral Student, Department of Social Anthropology

Kristen Hogan, Associate Director & Lecturer, Center for Women’s & Gender Studies

Kyle Landrum, Honors Philosophy Undergrad ’12, UT Austin

Lainey Brown, Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin

Laura Evans, University of Texas, Undergraduate

Leah Gilman, Undergraduate, Copyedit & Design

Leslie Cunningham, retired, Texas State Employees Union

Lisa Moore, Associate Professor, Department of English

Loretta Capeheart, Ph.D. Associate Professor Justice Studies, NEIU and UT class of 1990 (College of Liberal Arts)

Lucia Duncan, Film+Radio+Teaching

Lucian VIllasenor, Mexican American Studies undergradute

Lynn Romero, Undergraduate, Latin American Studies, UT Austin

Lynz Costa-Adams, Master’s of Science in Social Work- August 2012

Madhavi Mallapragada, Assistant Professor, Radio Television Film

Marcus Denton, LBJ School of Public Affairs, Dec. ’12

Mary Grace Hebert, recent graduate of the College of Communication

Matt Richardson, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Megan Coxe, UT Austin

Melanie Wilmoth Navarro, MSSW, UT School of Social Work, 2011

Melissa McChesney, MSSW Student

Michelle Uche, International Socialist Organization

Mike Corwin, UT staff, Texas State Employees Union

Mohammad Hamze, History and Religious Studies honors undergrad

Mohan Ambikaipaker, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Communication, Tulane University, UT Alumnus

Mona Mehdy, Associate Professor, Section of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Monica Teresa Ortiz, writer, UT alum, English Literature ’03

Mubbashir Rizvi, Doctoral Candidate, University of Texas Austin

Nancy Cardenas Government and International Studies Undergrad.

Nandini Dhar, PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature, University of Texas at Austin

Naomi Paik, Assistant Professor, Department of American Studies

Nazia Hussain, Anthropology undergrad, ’12

Neil Foley, Professor, Department of History and American Studies

Nhi Lieu, Assistant Professor, Department of American Studies

Nicole Powell, UT Austin

Noah de Lissovoy, Professor, Department of Education

Parvathy Prem, University of Texas, Graduate Student

Pedro Suarez, University of Texas, Undergraduate, Mathematics and Mexican American Studies

Penny Green, Senior Lecturer and Sociology Honors Advisor, Department of Sociology

Racheal Rothrock, UT student

Ramon Mejia, History & Religious Studies, UT Austin

Rebecca Dyer, UT alumna, English PhD 2002

Rich Heyman, Lecturer, Department of Geography and the Environment

Robert Jensen, professor, School of Journalism

Roberta R. Greene, MSW, Ph.D., Professor & Endowed Chair, School of Social Work

Roberto Flotte Anthropology Honors/Mexican American Studies/Native American Studies

Rocío Villalobos, MA, College of Education, May 2011

Sade Anderson, UT graduate Student of African Diaspora Studies & Anthropology

Sam Naik, Government and Latin American Studies, University of Texas

Sammy Zoeller, BA Journalism, 1971

Sandra Pacia, UT Undergraduate Student, School of Social Work

Sarah Ihmoud, Graduate Student, UT Austin Department of Anthropology

Sarah Sussman, TA English Department

Sarah Shah, UT Alumna

Sean Sellers, MA, Latin American Studies, 2009

Shannon Speed, Assistant Vice President for Community Engagement, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Co-director, Native American and Indigenous Studies

Sharmila Rudrappa, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Shelby Krafka UT undergrad

Shirley Thompson, American Studies and African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Snehal Shingavi, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Somy Kim, Ph.D. Candidate, Comparative Literature

Sona Shah, Staff, Center for Asian American Studies, Alumna, University of Texas

Sucheta Arora, Graduate Student, Institute of Cellular and Molecular Biology

Susan Youssef, alumna

Suzanne McEndree, student, School of Social Work

Suzanne L. Schulz, Ph.D. Candidate, Assistant Instructor Department of Radio-Television-Film

Tatiana Reinoza, PhD student, Art History

Teodora Vassileva, Human Biology Undergrad, UT Austin

Tiffani Bishop – Student

Trevor L Hoag, Doctoral Candidate in English, Rhetoric and Writing

Trisha Padayachee, UT School of Social Work, Candidate for MSSW

Vanessa Martinez, M.A. Latin American Studies, M.S. Community and Regional Planning

Virginia Raymond, JD, PhD — UT alumna/former lecturer

Vivian Newdick, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology

Wanjira Murimi, University of Texas, Undergraduate, Women’s & Gender Studies

Wasiq Sheikh, 2011 Graduate, Electrical Engineering

Will Patterson, B.S. Radio-TV-Film, Class of 2010

Zachary Dyer, Master’s Candidate in Latin American Studies

Zachary Guerinot, UT Undergraduate

Zachary Moore, Psychology Student and OccupyUt member

Zulema Nevarez, Sociology Student