The people of São Tomé and Príncipe celebrate Labour Day on 1 May each year. This holiday is also known as “May Day”. It is a celebration of workers and their importance in society and the national economy.
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Unfortunately, labour conditions in São Tomé and Príncipe have long been challenging, to say the least. The islands were a hub of the slave trade of and slavery itself for centuries. Then, following independence from Portugal in 1975, the economy fell on hard times in the midst of efforts by the IMF and the national government to improve it.
It was only when large oil reserves were discovered in the area in the 1990s that things began to turn around. However, unemployment is rife to this day, and the plantations often have poor working conditions.
Nonetheless, many people appreciate a day off work every first of May. And the day gives opportunity not only for parties and recreation but also for protesting to demand workers’ rights.