MWSN Bangalore Convention
"We clean their houses and our own, yet we are dirty, we spread Corona... They take leaves on May Day, Working Women's Day and Sundays but we are cleaning their floors! That is why we need to unite today."
~ Brishti, migrant worker and Labour Activist from Hebbal, Bangalore
On 22nd September, Migrant Workers Solidarity Network organized a public convention in Shivaji Nagar Bangalore to bring together Migrant Workers working in different sectors of the city. The gathering included the city’s domestic workers, security guards, drivers, garment makers, construction workers, and app-based service workers. It also saw participation from social activists and progressive organizations from different walks of life. The meeting began with songs of resistance and azadi followed by testimonies of workers from Bengal and other regions. In their testimonies, workers recounted their stories of hard work, struggles, and solidarities. Migrant worker Kazitan talked about how 13000 working people's unity in 2018 saved their homes from demolition. An app worker shared his experience of how he was forced to perform his duty by the app provider lockdown and how the company refused any help when he was detained by police during his job. Union Leader Geeta Menon highlighted the efforts being taken to overcome the insider-outsider tensions in the everyday life of Migrant Workers. She emphasized on the necessity of larger cultural unity for a decisive struggle for wage rise and social security. Activists from Karnataka Janshakti and Domestic Workers Union also expressed their solidarity with the initiative.
As per an IIM Bangalore report, Bangalore is the second-largest migrant city in India with almost 44 percent (42 Lakh) of its population coming from different states, mostly from Bihar, Bengal, Orissa, and Jharkhand. Migrant Workers Committees have been formed in Hebbal and Thubarahalli Basti and other places in the city. Most of the committees are being led by Women Residents of the region. They organize street plays in Hebbal, showcasing their struggles and determination to build their lives in the city through collective action. Activists have resolved to form larger solidarity to put better institutional mechanisms to deal with the everyday problems of workers in their city. They are struggling towards achieving better working conditions, better coordination between home state and host states, and for dignified social and economic life