Subject: Workers and students rally for May Day in Dili

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Timor Leste: Workers and students rally for May Day in Dili

By Mericio Akara

DILI, May 1, 2008 -- A May Day rally attended by some 700 workers organised by the Trade Union Confederation of Timor Leste demanded the implementation of labour laws, just wages that comply with the minimum wage regulations and lowering of prices. Demonstrators consisted of workers from several companies in Dili, students and civil society activists. The Luta Hamutuk Institute sent along its members to participate also.

The main demands of the rally were: the need for fair labour laws in Timor Leste, that employers and government must pay attention to and comply with workers' rights through the payment of a fair minimum wage; decrease prices as the Timorese government now is unable to deal with spiralling prices of consumer items. Demonstrators also pledged to continue their actions until their demands are met. The slogans were: ``Workers of the world unite'', ``International solidarity among workers is necessary'' and ``Workers need to organise for their future'', ``Let the momentum of May Day become the way to unite workers'' and so on.

At the same time, students also held a speakout at the social and political sciences faculty of the Timor Leste National University. Their demands were very similar, but the slogans were different, such as ``We are anti-capitalist'', ``Get out capitalists'' and "Get out those who suck the blood of the people''.

Photos courtesy of Mericio Akara, Luta Hamutuk Institute, Dili. Report by Mericio Akara. Translated by Vannessa Hearman.

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