Labor Day in the Philippines is a public holiday every 1 May to celebrate the Filipino worker. It is a chance to remember hard-won workers’ rights.
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Labor Day is also a day for unions to bring attention to current issues affecting workers. In 1886, unions in the United States were successful in demanding an eight-hour working day. In the Philippines, which was under United States colonial rule, workers organised a rally at the American Governor-General’s residence demanding fairer working conditions. This is officially recognised as the country’s first Labor Day. However, it wasn’t until after 1913 when eight-hour days, as well as other workers’ rights, were granted to the people.
Labor Day in the Philippines also shares much of its ethos with other Labor Day celebrations around the world. Often many unions stage demonstrations at Malacañang (the former American-Governor’s residence, now Presidential palace) and big cities such as Manila, to bring attention to their grievances. Issues such as raising the minimum wage and inhumane working conditions continue to be brought before the government.