AASU Statement On 2018 Workers Day
At its national convention in Chicago, held in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labor from and after May 1, 1886. On May 1, 1886, an estimated 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs on the first May Day celebration in history.
InChicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour a day agitators, 40,000 went on strike. Enraged, the police fired into the crowd and an estimated seven or eight civilians were killed and up to forty others were wounded.
Though, more than a century has passed since that first May Day event, there are similarities between the events of 1886 and present day. In Africa, Mining Companies have been criticized for neglecting the working conditions focusing mainly on profit making.
Accidents are an often occurrence at the cost of life or limbs of workers. On June 16, 2012, the South African Police Service opened fire on a crowd of striking mineworkers at Marikana, in the North West Province. The police killed 34 mineworkers, and left 78 seriously injured.
The mineworkers were demanding a wage increase at the Lonmin Platinum mine. Efforts must be directed towards the development and adoption of mining methods that will increase the safety of workers and communities and reduce the number of accidents. Towards this end, the participation and co-operation of mine workers and communities is essential. Steps must be taken to minimize the adverse impact of mining on the health of workers and the surrounding populace.
African workers in general, are recipients of low salaries and operating in unsafe conditions without any or little hope of upgrading their living conditions and working skills.
The All Africa Students Union (AASU) would like to take this opportunity to convey its heartfelt congratulations to workers, particularly African workers for their immense contributions to the socio-economic development of Africa.
AASU calls on African Governments and other employers to ensure adequate remunerations and working conditions for the workers.
AASU calls on workers to unite in order to defend and promote their rights and interests with more success.
Long live May Day!
Peter Kwasi Kodjie