Labour Day is an official public holiday in the land of Niger. It is celebrated on 1 May and is a day off work for most people. Sometimes, the holiday is called May Day instead of Labour Day.
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The Nigeria Labour Congress and various labour unions in the country organise marches for Labour Day each year. These may take the form of parades or protests. One major issue is the continued existence of forced labour in parts of Niger. The International Labour Organisation is currently seeking to cooperate with local chiefs to eliminate slavery in rural areas of Niger.
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.
Many in Niger have family get-togethers on Labour Day. Food, fellowship, music, dancing, and enjoying the outdoors are a part of the celebration.
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