Millions of workers across the world poured onto the streets on International Workers’ Day, 1 May.
Bus drivers and housekeepers in Hong Kong rallied for a 44-hour work week. Garment workers in Bangladesh demanded paid maternity leave. In the Philippines, workers marched for a higher minimum wage.
The anti-worker character of capitalist states was again exposed when the May Day rallies of workers faced brutal repression by the police in France, Turkey, Russia, Indonesia, Philippines and many other countries.
Across the country, workers held rallies in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Portland and other cities in solidarity with workers of the world. Workers drew attention to the need for union jobs, equity in hiring, support for public education and protection for “immigrants, refugees, workers and all people impacted by state violence”. “It’s a historical day around the struggle against economic and social inequity,” announced an organizer of the march.
Workers all over France have been protesting against rising inequality and proposed changes in labour laws and pension rules for the last many months. They again pressed for fulfilment of their demands on this May Day.
Workers marched on 1st May to demonstrate for increased workers’ rights. Unions demanded the implementation of a Europewide minimum wage as well as improved collective bargaining rights.
Militant rallies brought national rail, island ferry and other transportation services to a standstill.
Workers in Turkey expressed their anger against the government’s crackdown on labour unions strikes.
When the government refused permission to hold the May Day rally at the place of choice of workers, Taksim Square, workers went ahead and held the rally in an open market place. Taksim holds symbolic value for Turkey’s workers’ movement. In 1977, 34 people were killed there during a May Day event when shots were fired into the crowd from a nearby building.
Workers chanted anti-government slogans in the capital of Algeria, Algiers. Teachers, miners, and factory workers have been striking for months to protest high unemployment and poverty.
Nigerian workers rallied to demand a stronger social safety net.
Thousands of South Korean workers marked Labour Day with a rally in Seoul, the capital, urging the government to adopt major international regulations on promoting labour rights. Around 27,000 people turned up at Seoul Plaza while another 57,000 demonstrated in 13 cities across the country on Wednesday. earing headbands and raising their fists, the protesters in Seoul marched with banners denouncing deteriorating working conditions and demanding equal treatment and pay for non-regular workers. Workers have been demanding a raise in the minimum wage and want employers to honour labour contracts.
Hundreds of Bangladeshi garment workers and members of labour organizations rallied in Dhaka, the capital, to demand better working conditions including a maximum of eight hour work day and higher wageswith minimum wage of 16,000 Tk per month. Female garment workers were also demanding six months of maternity leave and protection against sexual abuse and violence in the workplace.