The Guardian March 29, 2000


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:

apheda@topend.com.au

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.

Back to index page