Mazdoor Ekta Committee (MEC) is running a campaign in Delhi to strengthen the political unity of the working class. This campaign is to oppose the attacks on working class rights, to unite the class, to organise the class as a political force, and with the lofty aim of making it capable of staking its claim to political power.
The first presentation in the course of this campaign was organised on 31st May outside the Okhla metro station and the second on 7th June at the container depot (railway siding) located in the Okhla Industrial Estate. Large number of workers were present at both sites. Hundreds of women and men workers filled a pledge and joined the campaign. The workers took the oath: “I am taking a pledge that I am a worker. I am of the working class. I will fight in defence of my class. I will devote some time to the organisation to bring to the fore the politics of the working class.”
The success of the campaign can be judged by the fact that the presentation persuades the worker returning home at the end of a working day to wait and watch it. The workers stand for up to an hour patiently listening to the MEC activist making the presentation.
The presentation exposes how the bourgeoisie is exploiting the working class. The Minimum Wages Act was passed in 1948 which states that no worker should get a wage less than the specified minimum wage. The basis for determining the minimum wage was established at the 15th Indian Labour Conference of 1957; this took into account food, clothing, housing, fuel and other necessities. In 1991, the Supreme Court added the expenditure on more items like the education of children, medical services, festivals, marriage, etc., which should account for 25% of the minimum wage. The presentation points out that the prevailing minimum wage today, as determined by the government, would not be adequate to cover the cost of the necessities determined so many years ago, taken at today’s value. What would be considered necessities today is significantly more than what was taken as necessities earlier. Capitalists are not prepared to pay even this level of minimum wages, and the government raises the bogey of “flight of capital” as an excuse not to strictly implement the law. Indian capitalists are competing with the biggest capitalists globally on the basis of super exploitation of the labour of the worker, whereas the condition of the worker is deteriorating every day. The presentation also explains that the present political and economic system is in the interests of capitalists.
The presentation concludes with a call to the working class to strengthen its political unity, to fight for the programme to take the reins of power in its hands so as to be able to ensure a future that will guarantee “sukh and suraksha” of the workers and peasants.
The workers answer the questions promptly, as the issues discussed in the presentation match with their own experience. The workers raise questions on the issue of minimum wages and labour laws, in the main. The comrades making the presentation answer these questions. The entire political programme of the presentation and discussion thereafter lasts for about two-hours.