Announcement on the occasion of International Labor Day

The initiative “Life outside of season” congratulates all workers on May 1, International Labor Day. We welcome this May 1 in the atmosphere of the war in Ukraine. We know that the war has never been an ally of workers, because job insecurity, loss of life and economic crisis are always affect the workers.

Today, when May 1 is just another day of rest and fun for many, we must remember all those who fought with their lives for dignified working conditions and the improvement of working standards for all workers. The fight continues!

That is why we raised our voice when the Draft Law on Employment due to the increased volume of work in certain activities was proposed, because it disenfranchises workers and legitimizes their exploitation. We expect the new Government of Serbia to stop the work on mentioned law and stop derogating from the umbrella Labor Law. Serbia needs a new Labor Law that will stop the rampant labor exploitation. Workers in Serbia need protection through trade union organization and collective agreements, dignified working conditions and safety at work without further flexibility of labor relations. We remind you of the still unsolved case of exploitation of workers from Vietnam who are working on the construction of the Linglong factory. This was not an isolated case, but a case that threatens to become a rule for hiring foreign workers.

This May 1, we will pay special attention to the rights of workers and the position of women in the labor market. Labor exploitation, the economic crisis and unregulated labor relations will worsen the already poor position of women, increase gender-based violence, and sexual harassment will only now become more frequent. Inspections and other institutions must protect all women, especially those engaged in flexible working relationships. Economic independence is a prerequisite for the emancipation of women in the private, social and political spheres.

We recall the beginning of the commemoration of May 1 and 1886, when hundreds of thousands of American workers took to the streets of Chicago to demand the general acceptance of eight-hour working hours. At the First Congress of the 2nd International in 1889, it was established that “1st of May is a common holiday of all countries where the working class should manifest the unity of its demands and its class solidarity”. Since then, every year on May 1, the holiday of workers and their struggles for labor rights on all world meridians is celebrated. International Labor Day was marked for the first time in Serbia in 1893, with large protest rallies in Belgrade.