Bangladesh observing May Day

Bangladesh Trade Union Centre organises a rally of workers in Chattogram marking May Day
Jewel Shill

May Day is being observed in Bangladesh, as elsewhere across the world, with due respect, reports news agency UNB.

May Day, also known as the International Workers’ Solidarity Day, commemorates the historic uprising of workers in Chicago, USA at the height of a prolonged fight for an eight-hour workday in the late nineteenth century.

May Day is a public holiday in Bangladesh.

This year, the theme of the day in Bangladesh is ‘Sramik-malik oikya gori, smart Bangladesh gore tuli’ (roughly translated: Let’s develop workers-employers unity, build smart Bangladesh).

Newspapers published special supplements while radio and television channels are airing special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.

Different organisations and political parties have chalked out various programmes to observe the day.

On 1 May, 1886, ten workers were killed when police opened fire on a demonstration in the US city of Chicago, demanding an eight-hour workday instead of a 12-hour shift. The authorities had to accept the workers’ demand and the eight-hour day was introduced universally.

On 14 July, 1889, an international workers’ rally in Paris declared 1 May as the International Workers’ Solidarity Day in recognition of the Chicago workers’ sacrifice and achievement and since 1890, the day has been observed globally as the International Workers’ Solidarity Day.

President Md. Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages ahead of the day.

The president said the progress of the country’s industries and trade needs an investment-friendly environment, workers’ concentration and good relations between workers and employers.

Through positive participation of workers and employers, stability and productivity in the labour sector will increase, he said.

“I hope that all concerned will play their respective roles to improve their standard of living and protect their just rights,” he said.

The prime minister in her message said, “I believe that inspired by the ideals of the great May Day, workers and employers will be dedicated to increase national production by maintaining good relations with each other. We will build a developed and prosperous ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by the Father of the Nation by working for the welfare of working people and the country’s overall development.”