World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


MAYDAY2K: New Holiday Declared In East Timor

Timor Loro Sae Comisaun Loron Maio
East Timor May Day Committee


spokesperson: Eusebio Guterres 0419 417 327


UNTAET Declares New National Public Holiday in Response

In the midst of these early days of Timor Loro Sae's transition to independence, and at a time of endemic unemployment and growing labour strife, East Timorese have won their first new national public holiday.

Following months of preparation and with broad community support, the East Timor May Day Committee has received a declaration from Transitional Administrator Sergio de Mello proclaiming Monday, May 1 as May Day.

The Committee, comprised of emerging workers' associations, the Labor Advocacy Institute, many representatives of civil society and the unemployed, will now join all East Timorese and their counterparts around the world in an international day of celebration, education and advocacy for workers' rights.

"The UN Transitional Administration is not only the temporary government of East Timor but is the biggest employer of our people", stated May Day Committee Coordinator Nino Periera. "While they are so often the source of labor strife in these conflicting roles, we are encouraged by their support for a day which brings together all workers, the unemployed and their families."

The May Day declaration also follows a two day forum on employment and labor relations sponsored by the ILO (International Labour Organisation) and UNTAET. According to Eusebio Guterres of LAIFET, the Labour Advocacy Institute of East Timor, these two events may signal a shift in the UN's previous attitudes towards labor issues and of the process of creating legislation during the transition period.

"For months, East Timorese have struggled with 90% unemployment. Those lucky to work receive subsistence wages, endure poor working conditions and have no health and safety protections, social benefits or contracts, even when they work for wealthy overseas companies or United Nations organisations", said Guterres.

As a result of the ILO/UNTAET forum, East Timorese will be now be full participants in the formulation of labour and employment laws and the creation of interim measures which will set minimum standards, protect workers' rights, consider price controls and settle disputes.

"The UN has agreed to implement a ILO-based Tripartite Plus participatory process, including representatives from workers, employers, government and civil society. Together with the May Day Declaration, East Timorese can finally participate in meaningful job creation and in the planning of their own economic future," according to the LAIFET coordinator.

"As the best expression of their support, we hope that the UN will authorise their overseas employees to join with all East Timorese workers, employed, unemployed and their families, in celebrating our new national holiday," concluded Guterres.

East Timorese workers and the unemployed will be joined in East Timor on May Day by international labour officials and leaders of Aboriginal organisations in Australia.

- end -


Messages to the Union movement here would be most welcome - they can be faxed to:

(0)011 6729 390 323 527

Or e-mail to LAIFET and the Unions c/o

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


New IPCC Report: ‘Unprecedented Changes’ Needed To Limit Global Warming

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “far-reaching and unprecedented changes,” such as ditching coal for electricity to slash carbon emissions, says a special report that finds some of the actions needed are already under way, but the world must move faster… More>>


Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France, Germany Join Calls For Credible Investigation

Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. More>>


MSF Not Wanted: Nauru Government Shows Continued Callousness

The Nauruan Government’s decision to ask Doctors Without Borders to immediately leave shows continued callousness towards asylum seekers desperately seeking a safe place to call home, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said today. More>>


Sulawesi Quake, Tsunami: Aid Response Begins

Oxfam and its local partners are standing by to deploy emergency staff and resources to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, as an estimated 1.5 million people are thought to be affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit on Friday. More>>


Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC