Scuffles, Arrests In Paris As Thousands Mark May Day

A protester standing next to a burning objects holds up his hand during the annual May Day (Labour Day) rally in Paris on May 1, 2021. PHOTO: Bertrand GUAY / AFP


Police scuffled with protesters in Paris on Saturday, firing tear gas as thousands turned out across France for May Day workers’ rights demonstrations. 

A police source told AFP that far-left “black bloc” protesters had repeatedly tried to block the trade union-led march in the French capital, with 34 people detained.

Some protesters smashed the windows of bank branches, set fire to dustbins and threw projectiles at police, who responded with volleys of tear gas and stingball grenades. An injured policeman had to be evacuated, an AFP journalist saw.

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The CGT union said nearly 300 May day protests were planned around the country, with authorities expecting around 100,000 demonstrators to join them in total.

French police in riot gear stand in tear gas smoke during clashes with protesters at the annual May Day (Labour Day) rally in Paris on May 1, 2021. PHOTO: Alain JOCARD / AFP


The crowds held placards with different demands, ranging from the end of the nighttime curfew in place as part of coronavirus restrictions, to a halt to unemployment reforms due to come into force in July.

Members of the yellow vest anti-elite movement, which rocked Emmanuel Macron’s presidency two years ago before largely fizzling out, could also be spotted at protests up and down the country.

Five people were arrested in the southeastern city of Lyon as black bloc protesters again clashed with police at the demonstration, which drew some 3,000 people despite the rain.

“There are so many motivations for a revolt that are building up — the management of Covid, the so-called reforms that are going to take away people’s ability to live, job-seekers who are going to lose their benefits,” said a pensioner who gave her name as Patricia.

“We absolutely need to express ourselves,” the 66-year-old said.


Anger After May Day Protesters Break Into Famed Paris Hospital

A man walks toward the entrance of the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris next to a banner reading “Emergency hospital on strike” at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris on May 2, 2019 on the sidelines of a visit of French Minister for Solidarity and Health.


The French government on Thursday accused radicals of storming a famed Paris hospital during a fiery May Day, an incident that risks further raising tensions between authorities and a nationwide protest movement.

Doctors at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital — where Diana, Princess of Wales died in 1997 after a car crash in Paris — also said protesters had forced their way into the hospital and even tried to enter an intensive care unit.

The break-in drew a sharp response, with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe denouncing it as “totally irresponsible” and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner describing it as an “attack” on an intensive care unit.

But supporters of the “yellow vest” movement, whose protests have shaken the government of President Emmanuel Macron over the past half year, insisted the demonstrators were merely seeking refuge from tear gas fired by police.

The incident came during a hugely tense May Day which saw police clash with hardline protesters on the sidelines of the annual labour union march.

The hospital is close to the Place d’Italie where the march ended, with more than 30 people arrested over the break-in, prosecutors said.

Hospital director Marie-Anne Ruder said the gate had been forced open and she saw dozens of people going inside, some wearing the protesters’ trademark high-visibility yellow vests and others with their faces covered.

She called the police because of their “violent and threatening behaviour”, she told France Inter radio.

READ ALSO: May Day: Police Clash With Marching Protesters In Paris

“Several dozen people tried to force the door into the intensive care unit,” she told RTL in a separate interview, saying the security forces had turned up 10 minutes later to remove the intruders.

Paris hospitals director general Martin Hirsch, who has filed a complaint, said CCTV footage showed a number of intruders trying to get in as a group of nurses struggled to hold the door shut, shouting: “Be careful, there are patients in here!”

At the time of the break-in, a riot police officer was being treated there for a head injury, but Hirsch said it was not clear what motivated the “inexplicable intrusion”.

“I don’t know if they were looking for a particular injured person. I don’t know if it was an invasion or whether they were fleeing something,” he said, indicating there was “no damage”.

First time at a hospital

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn described the break-in as “unspeakable”.

“This is the first time there has been an act of violence at a hospital,” she told Europe 1 radio. “I think that all French people, like me, are extremely shocked.”

Buzyn, who was to visit the hospital Thursday to thank staff for their conduct, said the incident exposed a “level of violence and behaviour which was shameful”.

While acknowledging some people may have entered the hospital to seek shelter, she suggested others might have been bent on theft, notably of hi-tech equipment.

The situation would be clearer after those in detention had been questioned, she said.

By Thursday morning, a total of 191 people were still in custody over the Paris unrest, 11 of them minors, prosecutors said.

‘Pseudo attack’

The yellow vest protests erupted in November over social inequality with a show of anger against the policies of Macron, whom opponents accuse of not doing enough for the poor.

The weekly protests have often spilt over into violence. But Macron has acknowledged the demands of many protesters are valid, and last month announced tax cuts and other measures to show he was listening.

At the same time, the authorities have accused some protesters of displays of anti-Semitism and homophobia, though demonstrators say this is a tactic aimed at discrediting the movement.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the ultra-left France Unbowed party, accused Castaner of making up what he described as a “pseudo attack” on the hospital.

“Truth is the first victim of Macron’s sidekicks,” he wrote on Twitter.

Princess Diana was brought to La Pitie-Salpetriere in the early hours of August 31, 1997, with massive chest injuries and haemorrhaging after a car crash in Paris.

Doctors at the hospital’s emergency unit battled to save her but she was pronounced dead hours later.


May Day: Cross River Workers Decry Early Payment of Salaries

Cross River, Special CourtsWorkers in Cross River State have criticised the state government for paying their May salaries early.

Adorned in colourful apparels to mark May Day, the workers who received their May salaries on the eve of the celebration protested against the early payment of their salaries.

At the U.J Esuene Sports Stadium in Calabar where the workers converged for the celebration, the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the state, John Ushie, said labour had advised the government against such a move.

He said, “We had advised the governor not to be paying salaries like this but he insisted.

“Maybe it is his own way of showing that he cares for the people. He feels he should make the life of the people better and he has expressed this by paying a month salary in arrears.”

Ushie called on workers to be prudent to avoid running into financial problems before the next pay day.

He said, “We believe that salaries should be paid for work done but since he has gone ahead to pay, we can only advise workers to be prudent.

“He did the same thing last year, but we didn’t expect he would do the same thing again because he just finished paying salaries last week and then by yesterday (April 30) he had paid May salaries. That is the situation of ground.”

Similarly, the Chairman, Nigerian Civil Service Union in the state, Dr. Peter Ipole, said paying two months’ salaries under one week is not a good idea for majority of the workers.

This, according to him, is because many workers do not have the attitude of saving, especially considering the present economic times.

While commending the government of Professor Ben Ayade for the prompt payment of salaries since he became governor of the state, the workers called on the government to pay salaries at the end of the month and not at the start.

The state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Eyo-Nsa Itam, said although the workers did not expect to get paid, the attitude of the governor towards salaries was good.

Itam said, “I think it is a tradition. We didn’t expect it yesterday. We expected it today. But you know because of the economic strain, there may be suffering if people are not careful.

“It means people would work for two months without seeing salaries, because the governor just paid salaries last week. Within one week, he has paid two months’ salaries. So it is a good development, but the impact would be very hectic.”

May Day: Angry Workers Disrupt Labour Minister’s Speech

 A mild drama ensued in Abuja on Monday as angry workers refused to allow the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, address them.

The incident occurred at the Eagles Square where workers in the Federal Capital Territory gathered for the Workers’ Day celebrations.

The event had gone on peacefully until Dr. Ngige began his address to the workers.

He had barely spoken for a few minutes when the workers began yelling and screaming, asking him to stop.

The workers shun all entreaties by labour leaders and other top government officials at the event to allow the minister’s address to continue.

Osun NLC Cancels Workers’ Day Celebration In Tribute To Adeleke

 The Osun State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress on Monday cancelled the Workers’ Day celebrations in the state over the death of Senator Isiaka Adeleke.

Adeleke, who was the first executive of the state had died on April 23, shocking many of his supporters.

The NLC Chairman in the state, Mr. Jacob Adekomi, who confirmed the development, said the decision was taken to honour the late politician, whose Fidau prayer also comes up on Monday.

The Osun NLC, however, joined other state chapters in calling for the payment of outstanding salaries.

Calls for a review of the minimum wage and payment of salary arrears have dominated the Workers’ Day celebrations with NLC President Ayuba Waba describing the calls as modest and legitimate.

“By law and practice, and through a collective bargaining process, government, employers of labour and organised labour as represented by TUC and NLC, have agreed that in every five years, we need to review the minimum wage because of a lot of factors – the cost of living, inflation and other factors that need to be considered,” Wabba told Channels Television.

“Therefore, it is due both by law and in practice. And it is a legitimate demand.”

Workers’ Day: Ortom Declares Emergency On Payment Of Salaries

Benue,As Nigeria marks Workers’ Day, the Governor of Benue State, Mr. Samuel Ortom, has declared a state of emergency on the payment of salaries to workers in the state.

The governor made the declaration at the IBB Square in Makurdi, the state capital, insisting that the welfare of workers must be prioritised over ongoing infrastructure projects across the state.

Governor Ortom expects to clear two month’s salary arrears with the second tranche of the Paris Club refunds of N13bn.

The NLC Chairman in the state, Mr. Godwin Anya, commended the governor for deciding to clear the five months’ salary arrears of civil servants in the state.

May Day: Workers Demand For Minimum Wage Increase Legitimate, Says NLC

NLC, Tax, Nigeria
NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba,

 The Nigeria Labour Congress has defended the demand by workers for the increase of the minimum wage, saying it is modest and backed by law.

NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, said this in an exclusive interview with Channels Television to mark the May Day celebrations.

He said, “By law and practice, and through a collective bargaining process, government, employers of labour and organised labour as represented by TUC and NLC, have agreed that in every five years, we need to review the minimum wage because of a lot of factors – the cost of living, inflation and other factors that need to be considered.

“Therefore, it is due both by law and in practice. And it is a legitimate demand.”
Wabba explained that it was because the demand was legitimate that all parties have not rejected it or called it frivolous.

“And that was why the tripartite team was constituted and now the negotiating team will be constituted,” he added.

The NLC president explained further that the demand was meant to take into consideration the impact of inflation on the current minimum wage.

He said, “In fact, we are being very modest; we are trying to bring back the value of N18,000. At the time we signed the N18,000 minimum wage, which was (through) a tripartite process, the value was about $110.

“Today, what is the value of N18,000? It’s less than $40. This is the reality – inflation has actually taken (away) the impact and import of the increase.

“What we are merely doing, which I think is very modest and needs to be commended, is the fact that we are trying to bring back the value of N18,000. This is realistic.”

Wabba also faulted concerns about the ability of government to pay the minimum wage, stressing that the political elites did not complain about the ability to pay when they increased their salaries.

“Don’t forget, when we demanded N18,000, our political elites increased their salaries and earnings, across board – from councilor to the highest office in the land – by over 800 per cent. Nobody is talking about their ability to pay, they are being paid now,” he said.

He added that claims that organised labour was demanding that salaries across board should be equal was not accurate.

“We are saying that the minimum below which no employer of labour – both government and private – should pay should be the minimum wage. So, let us not confuse the issue of the minimum wage with the entire package,” the NLC president said.

May Day: Saraki Praises Workers For Priceless Contribution To Nigeria

Senate President, Budget reformThe Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has described Nigerian workers as the lifeblood and driving force of the nation’s development in view of their invaluable contributions.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, to mark the 2017 Workers’ Day celebration, Senator Saraki lauded the resilience and commitment of workers in both the formal and informal sector, describing their contribution to the nation and the economy as priceless.

He stated that from the SMEs that contribute over 47 per cent to our GDP, to the civil servants who are the driving force behind our government, all the way to the unregistered business owners who work to make a living for themselves and their families, every Nigerian worker in both the formal and informal sectors makes a priceless contribution to the sustainability of our nation.

He further stated that the Senate would continue to partner with Nigerian workers to enact legislation which would guarantee that they get their dues at the appropriate time and that their safety and well-being in the workplace are guranteed.

Full Text: May Day Speech By President Muhammadu Buhari


Great Nigerian Workers!

Great Nigerian Workers!

I bring you greetings.

It is with great pleasure that I honour the invitation by the two Federations of Trade Unions, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to attend the 2016 National May Day celebrations. As you all know, this is my first outing in this forum which has a long and historical tradition that are noble and progressive. The efforts of all the heroes past who had fought for the workers of all nations to have a ‘voice’ in determining the course and direction of both national and international issues affecting the state of their being, are commemorated today, the first day of May all over the world. Labour remains unarguably an important element in any policy, programme and project propagated for national development.

This year’s celebration is significant in a number of ways. First, it marks the first May Day celebration under the All Progressive Congress (APC) Administration which brought an end to the sixteen (16) years of national squander, bad governance, unbridled corruption and economic woes by the previous administration. Second, it is coming at a time when the whole world is experiencing some form of economic crisis or the other.

For us whose main foreign exchange comes from oil, the global decline in the price of oil has further exacerbated our economic crisis. The resultant effects of this are noticeable in government dwindling resources, reduction in operational capacities of most companies especially in the Oil and Gas Sector, threats of workforce reduction by multinationals and the escalations of volatility amongst others. These developments no doubts, have socio-economic implications for the economy as well as the working class. I therefore appreciate the theme you have chosen for this year’s National May Day celebration – The Working Class and the Quest for Socio – Economic Revival. A quest it is, and the realization of the revival is not farfetched. It only requires reasonable time to remedy the maladministration and put forth a change so desired by all of us.

I make no excuses as this Government of the APC is determined to tackle headlong all socio – economic ills that have troubled our nation and we shall evolve solutions to emerging threats to our well being and the realization of sustainable development as well as growth anchored on equity and social justice.

Development must be sustainable for it to benefit society in general. It is therefore the responsibility of those in the citadels of power to align themselves with the working class who make development possible by generating and sustaining the momentum of positive change. That is why the present Administration has sought and will continue to seek the hands of Labour so that together we can attain the enviable heights of progress in our beloved country.

It is for this very reason that I aspired to become President which the Nigerian people have now made a reality. This Administration shall effect positive Change in the lives of average Nigerians, to ensure that the downtrodden are elevated and most importantly to fight the intense pain of corruption which has enriched the very few to the detriment of the majority of Nigerians who groan under the overwhelming weight of poverty and all the superstructural and infrastructural maladies resulting from corruption.

In this fight against corruption, I need you all to be very willing partners. Fighting corruption in the Public Service in particular, requires the workers to play major roles by cooperating with the Government.

I have listened to the speeches made by both the Presidents of the TUC and NLC. By the speeches, you have without any equivocation affirmed  your faith in the greatness of Nigeria as a nation. The challenges facing Nigeria have been highlighted and I assure you that they shall be accorded due consideration. It is worthy to note that solution to some of those issues and requests are already being considered and would be made public in the near future. The times may be tough, but we Nigerians are by nature resilient and strong and it is that nature that propels us to overcome adversities and still thrive as a nation.

Let us use this National May Day to celebrate the workers and Nigeria as a Nation. There will always be challenges in the life of a man and what defines greatness is the way and manner such challenges are tackled and overcome. I assure you, great Nigerian workers that this Administration is able and willing to constructively handle the challenges.

In so doing, I request your cooperation and understanding, as partners in progress. The need to ensure a conducive atmosphere devoid of incessant industrial actions becomes paramount to ensure no loss of man – days and accordingly promote high productivity which is perquisite for sustainable development based on increased investments, creation of jobs as well as protection of jobs. I further assure you that working together, this Administration protect workers rights and shall promote incentives for great productivity and hence greater prosperity.

Thank you and I wish you all happy May Day celebrations.

God Bless.


May Day: Obiano Promises Salary Increase Once IGR Hits 2.2 Billion Naira

May DayAnambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has promised to increase the salary of the workers in the state if they assist in stepping up the state’s Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, from the present 1.1 billion Naira to 2.2 billion Naira monthly.

The Governor was speaking at the Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, the venue of the 2016 May Day celebration.

The Governor urged them to also see themselves as key stakeholders in the governance of the state and therefore give their best in the growth of the state economically and socially.

The Governor recalled that his government had earlier increased the salary of the state’s workers by 16% immediately the state IGR improved from 500 million naira to 1.1 billion naira.

He then encouraged the workers that with their collaboration, the IGR of the state can hit 5billion Naira monthly.

The state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Jerry Nnubia, commended the Governor for his interest in the workers’ welfare and his giant strides in the development of the state.

He, however, asked the Governor to consider the implementation of the new minimum wage and look into issues of promotion, provision of low cost housing for workers and cancellation of all contract appointments among others.

Civil Servants In Northern Nigeria Celebrate Workers Day

Workers Day-Northern NigeriaState governments and civil servants in northern Nigeria have joined the rest of the world to mark the 2016 edition of the Workers Day.

In Kaduna State, the government called on both Federal and state governments to address some of the socio-economic challenges facing the nation.

The civil servants demanded for an upward review of the current minimum wage to at least 100,000 Naira in line with the present economic realities.

At separate rallies to mark the May Day, the workers called on the Federal Government to tackle the epileptic electricity supply, fuel scarcity, insecurity, unemployment and casualisation of workers among other challenges.

They also warned the Kaduna State government to shun any plan to retrench its workforce, threatening a showdown against government if any civil servant is sacked.

While a faction of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Kaduna State, led by Mr Adamu Ango, marked the Workers Day with a rally held at the Kaduna Township stadium, the other faction held a road procession near the Ahmadu Bello Stadium.


In Kano State, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, said that his government has recently established the salary and wages directorate as part of efforts to ensure transparent salary administration for the state’s civil servants.

Addressing workers to mark the 2016 Workers Day celebration, Governor Ganduje noted that the welfare of workers has been one of the major priority of his administration since inception.

Channels Television correspondent reports that hundreds of workers turned out during the colorful match pass held at the Sani Abacha indoor stadium.

While expressing happiness with the cordial relationships between his government and labour unions in the state, the Governor promised that his government would not leave a stone upturned in ensuring the state civil servants are catered for.

He added that various policy frameworks had been put in place to ensure that workers in Kano State benefit from his government’s welfare packages for the civil servants.

Although the NLC Chairman in Kano State, Dr. Kabiru Minjibir, commended the Governor’s civil service initiatives, he disagreed with some policies the workers considered injurious to them.

He stressed the need for government to fully study the report of the just concluded workers’ biometric data exercise, to avoid further complications that might result to confrontation between government and workers.

Other issues highlighted by the workers were the issue of labour casualisation and scarce job opportunities for teaming youths in Kano State.


In the northeast, civil servants in Borno State demanded a total implementation of the 18,000 Naira minimum wage.

Pensioners who joined in the celebration also called for an upward review of their pension, which is still on a minimum of 4,400 Naira.

The anniversary was marked with an elaborate rally under heavy security in the Ramat Square in Maiduguri, the first rally in five years, owing to the insurgency problem.

In line with the 2016 theme “The Working Class and the Quest for Economic Revival”, the civil servants lamented that their income was no longer sufficient, considering the economic reality of the country.

The Borno State NLC Chairman, Comrade Titus Abana, said that the theme was symbolic as people of the state were faced with two fundamental problems of insurgency and dwindling resources.

Unpaid Salaries: Labour To Partner Agencies To Probe Governors

Labour-SalariesOrganised labour unions have threatened to initiate the probe of state governors owing workers salaries despite collecting bailout funds from the Federal Government.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) made the threat to partner with anti-graft agencies to investigate the governors at a conference in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

They accused the ruling class of amassing wealth at the expense of the Nigerian worker.

The labour union has insisted on pushing for a new minimum wage of 56,000 Naira, even though some states are unable to pay the current national minimum wage of 18,000 Naira.

The demand was made public a week before the celebration of the International Workers’ Day which is also known as Labour Day in some places. It is commonly referred to as May Day in Nigeria.

May Day is an annual celebration of labourers and the working classes. It is promoted by the international labour movement, socialists, communists and anarchists.