Rallies, job fairs mark May Day in Asia

May 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM
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MANILA, Philippines, May 1 (UPI) -- Philippine workers celebrated International Workers' Day Tuesday with marches as labor officials offered as many as 300,000 jobs during various job fairs.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the nationwide job and livelihood fairs offering local and overseas jobs are among key events for the celebration, the Malaysia Star reported.

In the Philippines, thousands of public- and private-sector workers marched Tuesday to the presidential palace to press President Benigno Aquino to act on their demands, The Philippine Star reported.

Groups and unions belonging to labor coalition Nagkaisa gathered by the University of Santo Tomas in Manila to mark May Day, also known as International Workers' Day and sometimes referred to as Labor Day. During their program, labor leaders ripped a symbolic contract to demonstrate opposition to labor policies such as privatization of government agencies and the award of what they said were low pay raises.

Some labor officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Department of Labor and Employment said the ministry was having difficulty encouraging new graduates and the unemployed to participate in the job fairs, the Star said.

"There are so many young graduates and other unemployed who have been discouraged from looking for jobs because they believe there are no employment opportunities available to them," a labor official said.

In Ankara, Turkish police used tear gas to break up a group of demonstrators trying to cross a police barricade, Hurriyet reported.

May Day celebrations took place at two locations in Ankara after local government officials said they would not allow for a joint celebration.

Hurriyet did not include whether there were any arrests.

In Pakistan, workers and their unions marched in several cities to demonstrate union solidarity, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

Pakistan became a member of the International Labor Organization after its independence in 1947.

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