Abudu Vincent Yahaya — A health worker
Abudu Vincent Yahaya — A health worker

Mixed reactions over annual commemoration of May Day

As Ghana joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s May Day last Wednesday, opinions were divided in Tamale over the annual commemoration to celebrate Ghanaian workers.


While some residents viewed the day as an opportunity to honour the contributions of workers towards the development of the country, others questioned the relevance of the celebration.

Some were of the view that the day had lost its significance over time and had become more of a symbolic gesture rather than a meaningful acknowledgment of workers' rights and struggles.

Others also expressed concerns about the challenges facing the labour force, such as poor conditions of service, which they believed should be addressed more effectively by policymakers.


In an interaction with the Daily Graphic, a health worker at Saboba, Abudu Vincent Yahaya, was of the view that the celebration was a complete waste of state resources, noting that many of the requests made by workers during the celebration over the years had not been addressed by the government and employers.

He said though the labour unions have been working hard to improve the condition of workers over the years, successive governments have not been giving them the needed attention.

"On May Day, the authorities will speak nicely and workers will also pour out their grievances but after that you won't see any impact made in the next celebration.” “But anyway it’s good to celebrate the effort of workers because it’s only the suffering that reflects in our pockets but not government commitments,” he noted.

Mr Yahaya appealed to the government to pay much attention to the cries of workers and address their concerns to enhance productivity and efficiency.

Worth celebrating

For his part, a Teacher in the Mion District, Samira Assabey Musah, said she believed it was worth celebrating because it recognised and appreciated the efforts of Ghanaian workers.

Notwithstanding that, she believes workers deserve better remuneration and conditions of service, particularly in the wake of the prevailing economic hardships. She added that “the reason for the celebration does not reflect on the workforce, compelling a number of the labour force to migrate to other countries for greener pastures”.

The Founder of Girls Empowerment Mission Ghana (GEM-GHANA), a not-for profit organisation, Abdul Rafiiu Alhassan, said May Day was worth celebrating as it reflected the collective power of workers in advocating fair wages, safe working conditions, and social justice for all workers nationwide.

"Workers are human beings and definitely need to be recognised and acknowledged to boost their morale,” he said.

Working conditions

The Northern Regional Industrial Relations Officer of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU-Ghana), Yakubu Abdul-Majeed, congratulated all workers in the region on their dedication and efforts that had enhanced the growth and development of the area.

He said ICU, and for that matter organised labour, was working assiduously to improve the working condition of all employees. As the country gears up for this year’s election, he said “ICU and organised labour will be working closely with all workers and stakeholders to promote peace before, during and after the 2024 General Elections.”

He added that “Peace is the most essential condition or requirement for social and economic development, which is the reason organised labour is bent on helping to maintain peace in the country.”

May Day celebration

May Day is dedicated to honour the invaluable contribution of workers across the globe. Also known as International Workers' Day, it is a significant public holiday celebrated annually on May 1.

The event is marked with different events which include parades, cultural performances and speeches aimed at recognising and acknowledging the contribution of the workforce and advocating their rights.

Proponents of the May Day celebrations emphasise the importance of recognising and appreciating the labour force's role in driving economic growth and development. They view the holiday as a time to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of workers across various sectors.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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