In Mozambique, Workers’ Day on 1 May is a day on which people are thankful for their job and the opportunity to support their family. Although union and workers’ rights causes gain some traction, the focus in Mozambique is on celebrating the right and ability to work. After all, over 20% of the people are unemployed, and many who do work are subsistence level farmers.
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Sometimes, there is a peaceful labour march on the capital of Maputo. Many sing and dance, while others may hold up signs demanding higher wages or complaining about the cost of living. People being fired without a just cause or a “hearing” are also considered major problems in Mozambique.
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.