May Day rallies in Asia

May Day demonstrators denounce low wages and call for reforms in rallies in different parts of the Asia, demanding higher wages and better working conditions

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Protesters from many different unions and associations across Cambodia have marked International Labour Day in the capital Phnom Penh by demanding higher wages and better working conditions.

Organisers said that around 2,000 demonstrators gathered for the May Day rally, chanting slogans and holding banners.

Ath Thorn, the leader of Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union (CCAWDU) led the group toward the capital's National Assembly building, where he handed over a petition to members of Parliament demanding the government understand their concerns.

One of the main points on the petition was a demand that the government increase minimum wage, which would see garment workers receive a minimum of $177 per month, and civil servants a minimum of $250 per month.

Campaigners said they also used the rally to highlight labour issues such as working conditions, freedom to join associations and unions, and justice for persecuted workers and unionists.

In Indonesia, thousands of workers marched on the streets of Jakarta holding up placards reading "reject low wages" and demanding the government increase the country's minimum wage.

Jakarta abolished a decades-old regime of heavily subsidising fuel this year, leaving prices to be largely determined by the market, which added a burdens on many people’s pockets. Indonesia's inflation rate was above six percent in March 2015.

Protesters also said that allowing an influx of foreign investors is the root cause of low wages.

Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, is divided by an enormous wealth gap. About 11 percent of Indonesia's 240 million people live below the poverty line.

In Japan, Russia and Myanmar thousands of people also marched for the annual May Day rally. 

Members of the Group of the National Confederation of Trade Unions  (known in Japanese as Zenroren) and activists demanded higher pay and better working conditions and a halt to nuclear power plants. They also protested against Japanese  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration during a march in Tokyo.

In Moscow, people walked with flags and artificial flowers at Red Square, the second May Day parade on the vast cobblestoned square outside the Kremlin since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

International Workers' Day, also known as Labour Day or May Day, commemorates the struggle of workers in industrialised countries in the 19th century for better working conditions. 

TRTWorld and agencies