May Day tradition this year marred by political crisis

national April 30, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

May Day this year will be different. Tomorrow there will be fewer traditional events held by working people because of the political instability which will either discourage them from celebrating fully, or divide them over their political stances.

A long traditional parade of labourers from Royal Plaza to Sanam Luang will not be held, as the route is partly blocked by anti-government protesters and will be occupied by the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) supporters who will soon be moving from Lumpini Park. Instead, a shorter parade is planned on another route to maintain this symbolic march.
Two major labour groups, the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and the State Enterprise Workers' Association Confederation (SERC), which support the anti-government movement, will not submit proposals to the government, saying its caretaker status meant it was unable to respond to their calls. The two groups will hold a separate event of their own near the Parliament House.
Thawee Deeying, chairman of the Private Industrial Labour Assembly, as the head of the 2014 May Day event, said the caretaker prime minister had turned down his request made in January to preside over an event. The PM had not given him a reason. Caretaker labour minister Chalerm Yoobamrung also refused an invitation, citing his caretaker status.
The assembly, which plans the shorter parade, said its 15 labour groups planned to submit to the government traditional proposals for better welfare and protection, while still holding a number of events.
Deputy TLSC chairman Wilaiwan sae-Tia, said that SERC would not encourage or stop its members from joining the PDRC cause or its events. She said TLSC conditions, mostly existing ones frequently proposed, would be submitted to the new government once it was in power.