On the eve of the International Working Women’s day, a very special celebration took place at the office of GLU, in Bangalore on 7 March 2021. Double celebrations to commemorate Women’s day and to felicitate their President, Rukmini V.P. as she won the 17th Bremen Solidarity Prize . She is awarded this prestigious award for ‘her commitment against violence against women’ This international prize was founded in 1988 to focus and sensitive society against post-colonial development and racism. Winnie and Nelson Mandela were the first who received this honour.
GLU’s executive members, factory committee members and a small gathering of friends and associates joined to pay rich tributes to the work of GLU and Rukmini in particular. The four pillars of the union, Rukmini, Saroja (General Secretary), Raju and Aruna (Union Activists) were honoured for their dedication to the cause of workers and making GLU a union that is recognized for its deep understanding of workers issues, taking them up at every level from the factory floor to local management, brands, and international forums. Raising worker concerns be it layoffs, sexual harassment, unpaid dues while constantly strengthening the workers through awareness and collectivization.
Mr. RV Harish and Mr. Nagnath, state leaders of Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), of which GLU is an affiliate highlighted the impact of women union leaders like Rukmini on broadening the discourse on labour rights. The women workers raised slogans of unity and worker’s rights and felt proud to carry on the legacy of women garment workers taking the lead in workers struggles- inspired by the likes of Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg.
Many spoke of their historic strike 2016 that resulted in the reversal of the Provident Fund Act, which denied the right to withdraw employer’s contribution till the age of 58. An historical moment for garment workers in Bangalore, GLU in particular.
The relief work and support to workers during the recent lock down due to COVID was also seen as providing critical support to workers and their families. The two-hour programme closed with cake, snacks, and raising slogans.