Suffering austerity measures imposed by many of the world’s governments to deal with a lack of public funds, workers and activists rallied around the globe May 1 to demand the creation of jobs, decent wages and improved working conditions. —ARK
In Athens, Greece’s capital, thousands of workers from various labour unions marched down Syntagma Square on Sunday in a demonstration against the government’s austerity measures.
... the measures taken have included wage reductions and layoffs, primarily in the public service, and future measures include more downsizing and extending working hours in the civil service.
... In Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, pro-labour and anti-IMF demonstrations took place as delegates from the IMF, World Bank and the EU negotiated the terms of a bailout with the government.
... Elsewhere, about 200,000 workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the largest May Day rally in the Turkish city since 1977, when 34 people after shooting triggered a stampede. Turkish unions were not allowed back until last year.
In Spain, where the unemployment has reached a euro zone high of 21.3 per cent, several thousand people gathered in the eastern port city of Valencia and condemned the government’s failure to create new jobs.
... In South Korea, police said 50,000 people took part in a May Day rally in the capital, Seoul, for better labour protections.
... In the Philippines, about 3,000 workers demanding higher wages held a protest in a Manila square that included setting alight the effigy of Benigno Aquino III, the Philippine president, grinning in a luxury car.
Aquino was criticised this year for buying a secondhand Porsche in a country where a third of people live on a dollar a day.
Marchers demand labor improvements in San Francisco on International Workers’ Day in 2008.