Labour Day will be different this year, it will also mean giving birth to a more organic relationship. It will be a celebration of family ties and of so many struggles. At a time where the government is adamant about selling out commons, activists are bonding. Labour Day this year will be special, it will be about my family; those activists that have been there during my bloody nightmare but not only.
It’s been a long time since a doctor had a look at my uterus and gleamed. So when my gyno said how happy she was not seeing me at the hospital ward for the past few months, I knew what she meant. I’ve met so many women in this ward during the last two years of bleeding to a zombie state. Cancers, miscarriages, abortion, myomectomies, vagina boils, IUD insertion and removal… women in the same room telling each other their story. But in the downstairs department full of pictures, graphics and giggles, I simply did not expect the public system dedicated gynecologist to say ’we can now plan for your baby’.
It suddenly struck me that I never planned for a baby!
Is it democratic to bring a child around now?
I thought at some point of my life I would have a child, but I never thought about the baby. How democratic is it to decide for another being? With capitalism entrenched in our lives, we barely get the time to bond, to transmit and understand what’s going on while fighting the system. Climate change makes the future look even more hazardous.
Of course, I do want a better future for all the kids I know, that’s why I fight. I tell myself that I’m giving it all for something better. But a baby… That baby would be on board the fight before it knows anything about politics.
Having a baby means dealing with doubts, insecurities, accepting that one will never be a perfect parent but still hope for the best. And not just regarding inner struggles and issues. When I read the bill on the National Wage Consultative Council, I thought: “My kid would have to deal with that? No way!” No one, especially young people, would benefit from an hourly minimum rate. That’s an open door to abuse as is the case in many countries. I would want my kid to grow up in a country where workers are allowed to go on strike because it forces employers to do what’s right.
The last time I was in the hospital, things were critical: I was in the ICU with a not-very-keen-to-surgery body. Odd that our public health system is always being criticised for medical errors but everyone forgets about the rest – the lives that are saved, the patients that get better, the specialised staff…
Because of fibroids, I had a hard time these last two years and I was treated at the hospital. I’m sure I would never have been taken care of better elsewhere. I met nurses who love their jobs that became more stressful as time goes by with more protocols, more demands and less trained staff.
Our public health system relies on medical and non-medical staff and I am irked by the intrusion of private services in the hospital. Cleaning of Jeetoo Hospital, for example, is subcontracted to private companies. The latter are after profit, so they bid at the lowest possible price. Their staff is underpaid yet still works overtime, without proper equipment, training or job security! It is appalling that instead of working on solutions for the working people, members of Parliament keep patting the shoulders of those better off.
What will be left for the next generation? A country where we will be working robots having access to private services that we’ll have to pay for?
Public service is free and accessible
A public service must become better because it functions with taxpayers money.
Why does the government outsource instead of having a dedicated staff trained to do the job? It would be better for everyone and would certainly be a good reason for me to seriously think about putting a child on the way.
A minimum wage would improve the life of cleaners and all those workers who need to put in extra hours to make ends meet. A minimum wage goes hand in hand with robust labour laws and not a median salary set on hourly rates. A minimum wage would mean that my would-be baby would not, as an adult, necessarily be wanting financially.
I just hope that we stop thinking that privatisation always equates to better service. While it might actually mean paying for a lesser service (better quality would cost more).
A public service not only has to respect workers’ rights but is open to complaints. It belongs to the public, so it always has to answer to it. Improving public service is a common responsibility that can be done through letters and mail, not wailing like a child on the radio. Public service is a common good: making it better will make everyone’s lives easier.
But there is a major hurdle in the public system: the lack of transparency imposed by the people we voted for. Think of the Public Service Commission, political nominees, the decision not to publish reports of public interest like that on the electoral reform…
I would not like to explain to that kid who does not exist how right wing politicians, under the cover of socialism, perverted our country. So this year when I’ll celebrate Labour Day in Mahebourg, I’ll ask the kids there what they think of all this mess. Maybe then I might consider or not planning for a baby!