Labour Day Celebrations

1st May Keywords : Benin Democratic Republic of Congo Senegal Niger Togo

Each year, Trade unions around the world commemorate Labour Day. Traditionally, on 1st May, they voice their concerns about the working conditions of their members and demand for wage increment and more jobs during the celebrations. This event was celebrated across the continent in different ways. Below is an overview of celebrations in some African countries

In Togo, the Coordination of Trade Unions met with Government and Employers’ representatives at the Palais des Congrès de Lomé and submitted their list of grievances to government. In their memorandum, the Coordination of Togolese Trade Unions acknowledged the efforts made by the government in addressing some of their grievances, which they submitted in 2016 and carried forward to 1st May 2017. Nevertheless, the Coordination indicated that their discussions with the Government in this regard have failed. The unions paid also tribute to the memory of the late Matthias Gino Kokou Hlomador, one of the great icons of the Togolese trade union movement, who died a few days ago.

In Benin, the CSTB (Confédération Syndicale des Travailleurs du Bénin) gathered at the inner esplanade of their Headquaters to commemorate this year Labour Day, under the theme "Building workers power is still our quest to guarantee freedom of association, decent working and living conditions, and national development".

According to Kassa Mampo, the Secretary General of the CSTB, this year celebrations took place in a context of a general strike that paralysed the public administration as result of failure by the authorities to act on the list of demands put forward by the trade unions, which included: call a to re-evaluate the minimum wage and salary scale; to structure salaries according to what politicians are earing and today’s cost of living; as well as a call to stop the privatization of public services and enterprises. Kassa Mampo took also the opportunity to congratulate workers who continued to observe the ongoing strike, in spite the fact that some unions had suspended their participation.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Intersyndical boycotted the celebrations in Kinshasa. The national coordinator of the Intersyndical, Guy Kuku, indicated that their decision was based on the fact that Government failed to honour the promise made to pay the agreed minimum wage.

In Senegal, teachers have ended their strikes aimed at pushing the Government to honour its pledge concerning housing allowance increment, which was announced on Labour Day.

The Confédération Démocratique des Travailleurs du Niger (CDTN) along other national centres marked their Labour Day with traditional procession of workers celebrating in the presence of the Minister of Public Health and several other guests.

Celebrations on that historical day provided the Secretary General of CDTN with an opportunity to voice their views on the socio-economic and political situation at national and international levels.

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