International Labor Day which is also commonly referred to as May Day is celebrated on 1 May every year. This time, the labor day falls on Monday 1 May 2017. The history of Labor Day comes from a series of struggles of workers who demand their rights when capitalism grew and flourished in the 19th century. At that time, the industrial development was very rapid, especially in Western Europe and the United States. Very low wages and poor working conditions led to workers' resistance. Their main demand was a more humane working time, namely eight hours per day.

May 1 was marked as a labor day after a clash between security and workers in Chicago, United States, which resulted casualties on May 4, 1886. To commemorate the event, in 1889, May 1 was proposed by the Second International Congress, the world trade union and socialist organization, as the world's labor day.

In Indonesia, the labor day has actually been commemorated since May 1, 1920. But since entering the new order era, labor day in Indonesia was no longer commemorated, because the labor movement and the union of workers are always associated with the banned communist party. Until finally when the New Order fell and was replaced by the Reform era in 1998, labor day has started to be commemorated again.

Since 2014, the government of Indonesia has indeed set May 1 as a national holiday. The commemoration of Labor Day in Indonesia is usually filled with actions taken to the streets to convey demands through oration and banners carried by the participants of the action. At the 2017 Labor Day celebration, the Indonesian labors will also make various demands, including implementing certification for local workers to protect themselves against foreign invasions, rejecting the inappropriate system of internship and improving health services.

On the other hand, Indonesian Minister of Manpower, Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri plans in 2018 to hold a unique event that is the national labor soccer league as part of the series of "May Day is Happy Day". Football is one of the most popular sports in Indonesia. It is hoped that this activity can encourage workers' communities, both unions or company-based communities, to take part in the national football league. This soccer league can be incorporated into a series of May Day celebrations that may become a tourist attraction.

Hopefully, the next Labor Day celebration is no longer a mere demonstration of action, which is sometimes frightening and disturbing the order, but it can be something positive that even pleases the community because there are other positive activities.


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