Labour Day is celebrated on 1 May in Mauretania. The purpose of the day is to remember the achievements of the nation’s workforce and to give an opportunity for workers to speak out if they believe their rights are being violated.
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The origin of the 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.
For hundreds of years, slave raids, the slave trade, and forced labour were common fare in Mauritania. And this country was the last on the planet to finally officially outlaw slavery.
But tens of thousands still labour without compensation, and race and caste are also involved in this lingering system of exploitation. This is clearly the very opposite of what those celebrating Labour Day are seeking to lend their support to.