Cameroonian workers on May 1, joined millions of workers all over the world to mark the 132nd edition of the international labour day.
This year’s theme on social dialogue economic growth and national cohesion, presents the opportunity for workers across the national territory to reflect and clamour for better working conditions and the need to enhance peaceful social climate in their respective places of work.
For the average worker in Cameroon, a lot has happened between the last labour day celebration and now. Issues of insecurity of lives and property, uncertainty of jobs, unemployment, and the effects of an ailing economy are some of the issues which most Cameroonian workers have had to contend within the last one year.
Unfortunately, most labour day celebrations are largely characterised by jamborees and partying rather than sober reflection of the appalling and worsening condition of the working class. On this day, it is common place to find company names and brands just for promotional values in addition to speeches from trade union leaders that lack a clear path to political and economic emancipation of the workers and the masses.
International Labour Day was instituted as a commemoration of the haymarket massacre of 4th May 1886 in Chicago. On that day, some labourers were killed after staging a demonstration asking for a better working condition essentially an 8 hour working day instead of 10 to 16 hours under unsafe condition.