May Day observed in Poland

"Poland needs higher wages" was the motto of a May 1 rally organised by the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ) in Warsaw. Demonstrations were also organised by trade unions and leftist organisations in other Polish cities.

OPZZ head Jan Guz said that with the Warsaw rally trade unionists want to manifest "unity in the struggle for progress and decent living conditions."

May 1 rallies were also held in Lodz, Poznan, Szczecin, Bydgoszcz and Kielce. 

This year manifestation in the central city of Lodz was held under the slogan: "Workers, unite."

Several dozen people gathered at the Monument of the Deed of Poles in northwestern Szczecin. Labour Day celebrations were combined with the 14th anniversary of Poland's accession to the European Union, organised by the local branch of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) party.

In the western city of Poznan, SLD activists laid flowers at a plaque commemorating the first May parade of 1891, while the members of the Solidarity trade union laid flowers at the monument to the participants of the Poznan 1956 protests against the communist government of the Polish People's Republic by workers demanding better working conditions. 

SLD also organised manifestations in central-eastern Kielce. Addressing the 150-strong gathering, the chairman of the local branch of the party Andrzej Szejna said that when SLD manages to get into parliament next year "Poland will change" and  all laws passed by the current government that harmed people who worked for Poland will be annulled.

Around 80 people gathered at the Freedom Monument in Bydgoszcz (northern Poland) to demand more workers' rights. They stressed that Poland is still a country full of divisions and injustices, not always amiable to employees. They also appealed for better employment and living conditions for workers from Ukraine.

The International Day of Solidarity among Working People was first observed 127 years ago, on May 1, 1890. May 1 was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of a workers strike in Chicago in 1886 which was brutally dispersed by police.

On May 1, 1890, May Day demonstrations took place in the United States and in the majority of European countries.