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Labor Day special: What do the workers actually want?

Labor Day special: What do the workers actually want?

Labor Day is a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions of workers in our society. While a day to honor the laborers is a good thing, its significance can be diminished if there’s a lack of tangible support or services throughout the year. Rastrika Shakya from ApEx talked to three people to find out what changes they would like to see so that life can be better.

Lok Bahadur Shrestha, 53

I’m originally from Ramechhap, and I’ve been working as a laborer in Lalitpur for the past 30 years. I earn a basic income and provide for my family’s basic needs. To me, no work is too big or too small. Every job deserves equal respect.

I’ve never celebrated Labor Day. Work is essential for sustaining our lives, and although I’ve heard of Labor Day, I’ve never taken a holiday from work for it. We survive on a basic wage, so even one day’s pay is valuable to us. It’s disheartening to see the lack of government support for laborers like myself. The government should provide us with services and ensure our safety. I’m not a member of the worker’s union. I’ve heard they provide services, but I’ve never seen them in action, so I don’t really trust them, and I’m not involved with them either.

Lok B Shrestha, 32

I’ve been working at a catering service for three years now. For me, anything that contributes to making a living is work, and it requires hard work. I help out at a catering service, and the income I earn is sufficient to support my family. However, our work isn’t permanent, and it’s not consistent. We work based on people’s needs. There are days when I work, but there might not be any work the next day, which can be challenging. I hope for better income opportunities for us. We rely on a basic income, but I wish for more stability. I want my children to have good opportunities, which require a good education, and that requires money. Labor Day holidays are appreciated, but we need more ongoing assistance and support.

Yubraj Shrestha, 35

I’ve been working as a laborer for the past six years. For me, work is simply a means to live, to survive, really. I don’t possess any other skills to earn money, so working as a laborer is my only option. I provide for my family with the basic wages I earn. Sometimes, I even take loans just to get by. I’m doing my best to educate my children with the limited income I have.

I wish governments would provide us with skillful training, services, and employment opportunities that would enable us to earn a decent income. I want to be able to provide a good education for my children. Laborers want to feel respected by society too. That’s something I truly wish for.

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