International Workers’ May Day celebrated in KNU Liberated Area

On May 1st, the Confederation of Trade Unions, Myanmar (CTUM) organized the 133rd International Workers Day (May Day) celebration in Kawkareik Township, marking the first time such an event has been held in Karen State.

The event took place within the jurisdiction of the Karen National Union (KNU) as a way to commemorate the historical struggle of workers who fought for their rights and established International Workers’ Day. Its objective was to deepen the workers’ comprehension of their fundamental rights.

“The purpose of the event was to serve as a reminder that the establishment of May Day was a result of the tireless struggles, sacrifices, and losses endured by workers, and to encourage all workers to exercise their basic rights”, U Maung Maung, the Chairperson of the CTUM said.

The 133rd May Day celebration took place in Karen State, in an undisclosed village for security reasons. The event has brought various benefits to the locals, including increased awareness and understanding of labour rights, villagers said.

A village elder told the KIC, “Although International Workers’ Day has been celebrated 133 times globally, this is the first time our village has held the event. Prior to this event we had limited knowledge about labour rights, including the differences between Myanmar’s labor standards and international standards. However as a result of this event, our understanding of labor rights has significantly improved.”

The ceremony was attended by approximately 400 individuals, including village elders, representatives of the Karen Youth Organization (KYO), officials from the Karen Women’s Organization (KWO), CTUM Chairman U Maung Maung, various other leaders, and locals.

The event also featured a virtual address by an official from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and the Asia-Pacific regional manager of the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), who spoke about the significance of May Day.

During the International Socialist Conference in Paris, France in 1889, the decision was made to establish May 1st as International Workers’ Day. This marked the beginning of the fight for labour rights and the demand to limit working hours to 8 hours per day for workers.

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