May Day: Solidarity and empathy in times of coronavirus
The historic May Day is being observed today as the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic which has rendered millions of workers jobless across countries in recent months.
The day is a public holiday in Bangladesh and in normal times, marked with a slew of events. But there are no outdoor events this year, like 2020, as the country is facing a difficult time due to the second wave of coronavirus.
May Day, also called the International Workers' Solidarity Day, commemorates the historic uprising of the working class in Chicago, USA for an eight-hour workday.
This year, the theme for this historic day in Bangladesh is "Sramik-Malik Nirbishesh, Mujib Borshe-Gorbo Desh".
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages ahead of the day.
President Hamid called upon the owners of mills and factories to assist the government in standing by the vulnerable workers bearing the brunt of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Hasina also remembered the role of Bangabandhu in establishing the rights of the exploited and working-class people.
"Bangabandhu formulated labour policy 1972 in order to establish an exploitation free and equal society. He nationalised the mills and factories to strengthen the economy while ensuring the rights of the workers," she said.
The PM said her government is working relentlessly to establish the rights of workers.
Ten workers were killed when police opened fire on a demonstration in Chicago, demanding an eight-hour working day instead of a 12-hour shift on May 1, 1886.
The authorities were eventually forced to accept the workers' demand, which resulted in an eight-hour day universally.
On July 14, 1889, an international workers' rally in Paris declared May 1 as the International Workers' Solidarity Day in recognition of the Chicago workers' sacrifice.
The day has been observed globally as the International Workers' Solidarity Day since 1890.