Workers and activists across Asia hold May Day rallies to call for greater labor rights


On May Day, observed on May 1, workers, activists, and others in Asian capitals took to the streets to participate in protests highlighting various labor issues and economic grievances. May Day serves as a day to celebrate workers’ rights and has historically been a platform for advocating for improved labor conditions and political reforms.

In Seoul, South Korea, thousands of protesters gathered to voice their discontent with the conservative government led by President Yoon Suk Yeol. Organized by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), the rally aimed to criticize what participants perceive as anti-labor policies. Issues raised include the government’s handling of labor strikes, vetoing bills aimed at protecting workers’ rights, and demands for more transparent accounting from labor unions.

President Yoon has defended his government’s actions, emphasizing the importance of labor reforms to support economic growth and job creation. Despite criticism, Yoon expressed gratitude to workers for their contributions and pledged to protect the value of labor.

In Tokyo, Japan, over 10,000 people gathered at Yoyogi Park for a May Day event, advocating for salary increases to offset rising prices. Masako Obata, leader of the National Confederation of Trade Unions, highlighted the challenges faced by Japanese workers due to stagnant wages and widening income disparities.

In Manila, the Philippine capital, hundreds of workers and activists marched to demand wage increases and job security amidst soaring food and oil prices. Riot police intervened to prevent protesters from approaching the presidential palace. Participants expressed concerns about the government’s modernization program, which could affect public transport workers.

May Day events in Asia reflect a broader global movement advocating for workers’ rights and economic justice. Similar protests were expected in other Asian and European cities, demonstrating solidarity among workers worldwide.

May Day protests in Asian capitals underscore the ongoing struggles faced by workers and the importance of advocating for labor rights and economic fairness. Despite differing political contexts, participants share common concerns about wages, job security, and government policies. As workers continue to mobilize and demand change, May Day serves as a reminder of the collective power of grassroots movements in shaping a more equitable society.


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