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Historic May Day

  • Published at 12:00 am May 1st, 2021
May Day
File photo Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The day has been observed across the globe since 1886, commemorating the sacrifice of the workers at Haymarket, Chicago

Bangladesh is observing the historic May Day on Saturday across the country and elsewhere across the world with due respect.

The day has been observed across the globe since 1886, commemorating the supreme sacrifices of the workers at Haymarket, Chicago, in the US for eight-hour work days and upholding the rights of the working class.

To press home their demands, working people had to sacrifice their lives in tragic bomb attacks and police atrocities on May 1, 1886.

In 1889, the International Socialist Conference declared that in commemoration of the Haymarket affair, and to pay respect to the innocent victims, May 1 would be an international holiday for labour, now known in many places as International Workers’ Day.

Ever since then, May Day is observed as a holiday all around the globe.

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The theme of the day in Bangladesh this year is - “Owners-Sramik-Nirbishesh-Mujib Borshe-Gorbo Desh,” reports BSS.

Different organizations have come up with various programs including seminars, discussions, rallies, and cultural events to mark the day.

President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday issued separate messages on the occasion of the historic May Day.

They extended their greetings to all working people of the world, including Bangladesh, wishing success to all programs on the occasion.

The president said that the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman struggled throughout his entire life to establish the rights of the underprivileged people.

RMG workers join in a rally marking the historic May Day in Dhaka on May, 1, 2019 | Mehedi Hasan

“Bangladesh got International Labour Organization (ILO) membership soon after independence in 1972 under the initiative and bold leadership of Father of the Nation and ratified 29 conventions including six core conventions of ILO,” he said.

Abdul Hamid urged the owners of mills and factories and other organizations to come forward to help the workers along with the government during the coronavirus pandemic.

In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina echoed the same sentiments as the president.

“To establish a society free from exploitation Bangabandhu formulated labour policy in 1972. He built the country’s economy strong and ensured legal rights of workers by nationalizing abandoned mills and factories,” he said.

Sheikh Hasina said the Awami League government has been implementing various programs to improve working people’s livelihoods and their welfare.

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“Our government has established 100 special economic zones, which will generate employment for more than 10 million people. Local-foreign investors are getting scopes to invest in those economic zones instead of setting factories everywhere,” she added.

The prime minister said working women hostels have been constructed in various areas of the country.

“Standing beside the working people, our government has been distributing relief and carrying out activities during the coronavirus pandemic. The government has allocated Tk8,600 crore for workers wage to combat the pandemic,” she stated.

Sheikh Hasina said the government has also allocated Tk50 crore against the Labour Directorate to implement the social safety program implementation policy, 2020 for unemployed workers of readymade garment, leather products and footwear industries, and distressed workers.

The premier said being imbued with the spirit of the May Day, the workers and owners should devote themselves in increasing the national production by maintaining health guidelines and a good relation between them.