Labour Day on 1 May is a holiday in the Central Asian Republic of Tajikistan. This holiday was long associated with the Soviet Union. Today, however, Labour Day is a general celebration of workers and workers’ rights, and a welcome day off.
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Tajikistan’s Labour Code requires a paid day off for most national holidays and a replacement day if you can’t get off. Plus, it requires workers are let off early on the day before a holiday.
To help protect jobs in Tajikistan, the government has tried to encourage diversification of the economy, which is dominated by cotton and aluminium exports. Cotton production supports three-quarters of the rural population. Also, there is an effort to curb the illegal drug trade, which accounts for over a third of the GDP. These are both important focuses on Labour Day in Tajikistan.
The origin of this worldwide holiday is the 4 May 1886 Haymarket Massacre during a labour protest in Chicago, USA. As the world industrialised in the mid to late 1800’s, the dismal working conditions in many factories led to a protest movement.
The Haymarket Massacre became a key moment in the movement, leading to the establishment of Labour Day, then called “International Workers Day”, to demand things like an 8-hour work day, safer working conditions, and increased pay.