Work is their religion. They work relentlessly for building up our nation. But they are still behind the curtain in our society. They are none but Unsung Heroes of our country. Hopefully they also believe in Dr APJ Abdul Kalam saying 'If you salute your duty, you need not salute anybody. But if you pollute your duty, you have to salute everybody'. They do their duty at best but they still fight for their rights and dignities and we cannot recognize their contribution to the nation.
We celebrate each year Labor Day to recognize the achievements of workers. Though this gives us an opportunity to recognize the invaluable contributions that working men and women make to our nation, our economy and our collective prosperity. It gives us a chance to show gratitude for workers' grit, dedication, ingenuity and strength, which define our nation's character. But do we?
labor union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest, has not seen the light till now. Most people living in Bangladesh know little about the International Workers' Day or May Day. For many others, there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union.
Working conditions are severe and it is quite common to work 10 to 16 hour a day in unsafe conditions. Death and injury were commonplace at many work places. Thousands of men, women and children were dying needlessly every year in the workplace. A year before the Haymarket Massacre, Samuel Fielden pointed out in the anarchist newspaper, The Alarm, that "whether a man works eight hours a day or ten hours a day, he is still a slave.
Photographer: Kingshuk Partha
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