International Workers’ Day

International Workers’ Day, also known as Workers’ Day, Labour Day in some countries and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement which occurs every year on May Day (1 May), an ancient European spring festival.

The date was chosen by a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886. The 1904 Sixth Conference of the Second International, called on “all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace.”

The first of May is a national, public holiday in many countries across the world, in most cases as “Labour Day”, “International Workers’ Day” or some similar name – although some countries celebrate a Labour Day on other dates significant to them, such as the United States, which celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September.

Every 1st May, workers in Nigeria converge at the stadium to commemorate this public holiday. It is a recognized holiday all workers must observe. On this day the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress addresses workers and this has been a tradition for decades.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), held this year’s rally in Abuja on Monday April 29th, 2019 . The rally was to prepare their members for the commemoration of the 2019 edition of the workers’ day.

The members demanded the creation of decent jobs for youth in the country. They asked the government to step up efforts to eradicate unemployment. The deputy president NLC, Najeem Yasin, said the struggle is for human dignity and social justice for the union.

He lamented the poor situation of public school, security and the health sectors. “We are pained at the condition of public schools, the security and the health sectors in Nigeria,” he said. The unions said creation of decent jobs for the youth, will eradicate crime in the country.

The labour unions used the march as an opportunity to call government’s attention to the rising cases of near-collapse of social support institutions. They also asked employers of labour in the private and public sectors of the country to immediately begin the full implementation of the new national minimum wage.

He called on the government to rehabilitate the social sectors of the economy.


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