Today is World Workers Day. The Labour Force Union Movement was recognised. The 5 day work was given to them after much protests and resistance.
I watch silently everyday the building being built. The jarring iron rods and the mud, mortar and the churn of the cement mixer. I look from my window. My room is cool and the curtains are drawn to keep the harsh sunlight away.
But I flinch as I see the scorching rays on the naked child’s back running helter skelter around the mud and grime. The mother while carrying the bricks on her head gives a sidelong glance to her baby. He too copies her and tries carrying bricks on his little head. I hold on to the railing tight. I feel the lump in my throat and the moist tear on the corner of my eye. He reminded me of my baby.
I walk across to give some bananas and water but I can’t stand long. They seem oblivious to their right to education, right to a shaded spot in the heat, right to a break. I have seen the contractor shout at them & they scurry like animals. Almost ant like in their march to the discipline.
Are we really free as human beings? Do we really have dignity of labour? Do their hands hurt from splinters that cut into their skin, while they build our palaces.
Are their children aware? That this is not childhood. This is slavery to a system. A system that needs change.
We don’t greet our security guards when they open the gates many a nights, we don’t bat an eyelid to give left over rotten food to the street cleaners outside.
Is this civilisation I ask myself?
Today is the day the unskilled labour force world over were recognised and were given the 5 day week. The Union was formed for rights.
But there are many workers who still need activists and crusaders to give their voice a language that would be heard above the din of power and inhumanity.