Labour Day is kept on 1 May in Ivory Coast, and it is a welcome off-work day for many and a chance to relax and recoup before heading back to work.
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The average worker in Ivory Coast certainly enjoys a degree or worker protections. Progress has been made in recent years. But Labour Day is the day above all others to focus on the problem of child labour in Ivory Coast.
There are over 15,000 child slaves working sunup to sundown every day, with but a short break for a little “yam porridge”, on the nation’s cocoa plantations. Children working to help take care of the family due to poverty of the parents is common too, but when children are sold for only $50 to $100 as “chocolate slaves”, the need to cure Ivory Coast’s labour woes is dramatically highlighted.
The origin of this worldwide holiday is the 4 May 1886 Haymarket Massacre during a labour protest in Chicago, USA. As the world industrialised in the mid to late 1800’s, the dismal working conditions in many factories led to a protest movement.
The Haymarket Massacre became a key moment in the movement, leading to the establishment of Labour Day, then called “International Workers Day”, to demand things like an 8-hour work day, safer working conditions, and increased pay.