May Day in Dili
May Day preparations are in full swing in Dili. The May Day Committee is made up of a coalition of organisations including a number of trade unions in the process of formation. There will be a women's group making banners - - general ones about May Day and workers' rights. Some trade unions will be launched on that Day. At this stage they cover education, electrical, port, airport and construction workers, musicians, NGO workers, teachers and a students' union. Representatives are expected to attend representing the ACTU, APHEDA, ILO and individual Australian unions. It is expected that some senior Aboriginal activists will pay a visit at that time. The main aim of the May Day march is to campaign around the right to organise and bargain collectively and for the right to participate in the development of Labour Laws and Labour Rights. The Committee is working to help people understand their rights and for workers to organise themselves. There will be a march on the day, entertainment and a few speeches. Maybe some games — a Worker's Cup is being considered. The aim is to have a week of activities perhaps ending with the Cup on Sunday May 7. Details are still to be decided as preparations continue. The Committee has written a letter to the UN telling them that the workers will be taking the day off. It will be interesting to receive their reply! The labour movement is getting organised and the ILO has been very supportive. The UN has created media laws without consulting the East Timorese but labour organisations are insisting that the UN consult them on the preparation of labour laws. The labour movement was asked by some employers in a round-about way: "How many people could you mobilise if the UN did not include them in the process of drawing up the new labour laws?". The reply was basically "well how many people do you want to see?" Support The East Timor May Day Committee is appealing for assistance in money and materials. Banner-making materials are needed — calico, water-based paints, brushes, thread, etc. Material for T-shirts is requested. Trophies for sports events would also be appreciated. Parcels can be sent to: HAFETI c/- Ramona Mitussis, APHEDA NGO, AFPO 5 International Mail Centre, Sydney 2890 The Committee is inviting messages of support and solidarity on the occasion of May Day. They can be faxed to 0011 6729 390 323 527 or emailed to: email@example.com Cash donations can be sent to : APHEDA Box 3, Trades Hall 4 Goulburn Street, Sydney 2000 Make cheques payable to "APHEDA Overseas Projects" and indicate for East Timor Media.