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Wednesday, 01 May 2024 17:17

International Workers' Day Commemoration

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Indonesian migrant workers attended an event by the Indonesian Migrant Worker Protection Agency (BP2MI) in Jakarta on Tuesday (5/3/2024) before being placed in their destination countries. (Photo: RRI/Ryan Suryadi)

 

Today, May 1, 2024, workers worldwide commemorate the Workers Day, or Labor Day. The commemoration, often called May Day, is intended to honor the struggle of workers to obtain fair rights and protection as well as decent working hours.

The date refers to the demonstration by American workers on May 1, 1886, demanding an 8-hour working day. The demonstration led to riots in Haymarket, Chicago, and left 4 workers and 7 policemen dead.

 

In Indonesia, International Workers' Day was celebrated for the first time on May 1, 1920. At the time, Indonesia was still under Dutch colonial rule. President Soeharto's administration then stopped the day's open celebration because it was deemed synonymous with communism. During the Reform period, Workers' Day was celebrated again regularly in many cities and carried various demands ranging from welfare to the outsourcing system elimination. In 2013, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono declared Workers' Day on May 1 a national holiday.

 

For more than a century, workers have celebrated Workers' Day, but the challenges faced by workers are increasingly diverse. If in the past the challenges were only about overlong working hours, low wages, and workplace conditions unsuitable for health, now workers are facing technology and digitalization that are taking away their jobs.

 

For Indonesia, its migrant workers' condition abroad is also a challenge. Practices of human trafficking and slavery haunt Indonesian migrant workers. Apart from the conditions of domestic workers, the Indonesian government should also consider the conditions of its citizens who work abroad. In this case, the government has implemented various policies, programs, and agreements with countries to provide maximum protection for migrant workers.

 

Hopefully, the next Indonesian government will pay greater attention to the welfare of Indonesian workers at home and abroad, because workers contribute greatly to the country's economic development.

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