Togo celebrates Labour Day on 1 May like most of the rest of the world. This is the number one day of the year to remember the value of work, the contributions made by workers to society and the progress that yet remains to be made in fully establishing workers’ rights.
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Politicians in Togo are apt to make speeches and promises on or around 1 May each year in regard to improving the lot of the nation’s workers. Labour unions will organise parades, protests, and other events. And media in Togo may focus on Labour issues in the days leading up to Labour Day.
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.
Labour Day in Togo today is a time to rest, and when family and relatives enjoy each other’s company at festive gatherings. Food, family, and fun are the main focus for many as they utilise a precious off-work day.
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