May 1 (GIN) – Calls for better working conditions resounded throughout the continent as Africans marked May First, International Workers Day.
In Nigeria, labor leaders linked the rise of Boko Haram, an insurgent group, with stagnant labor conditions. “That the terrorist ideologues are able to recruit willing and daring foot soldiers with ease lies deeply rooted in the decaying social conditions in our nation: joblessness, hunger, poverty, lack of electricity, illiteracy and lack of access to education”.
In Zambia, Congress of Trade Union President Leonard Hikaumba demanded a full-scale transformation of the national economy that puts the interests of the people first and guarantees the respect for human rights.
Kenyans received news of a higher minimum wage but called a strike anyway for May 14 to protest new health insurance rates.
Ghana’s labor leaders noted the “huge army of unemployed Ghanaians among whom are unemployed graduates from our tertiary institutions… We wish to respectfully ask, “Where are the jobs?”
Finally, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) marked May Day under the theme “Celebrating Workers Contribution in the Struggle for Liberation”. Fifteen rallies were organized across all provinces in the country with speakers COSATU, the ANC and the South African Communist Party.