GIS - Apr 30, 2012: A half-day forum on the theme Origin of the Labour Day meant for students and an exhibition projecting the world of work as well as the different services offered by the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment opened this morning at the Auditorium of the University of Mauritius, Réduit.
Organised at the initiative of the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, these activities are in line with a series of other forthcoming events in the context of the Labour Day which is celebrated on the 1st of May each year.
The forum which targeted the youth, especially students who are aspiring to join the world of work, aimed at sensitising them on the importance and the significance of the Labour Day. Besides providing an opportunity to one and all to reflect on the evolution in the world of work from the era of slavery to the time of indentured labour, the forum paid tribute to the hard work of those people. It also served as a platform where students interacted with historians on various aspects of the evolution of Labour Day in Mauritius.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Mr Shakeel Mohamed, made an appeal to the students to be conscious of their future career prospective. He pointed out that, this year, the Ministry has given a new impetus to the celebration of the Labour Day highlighting the efforts of workers who have contributed to gear Mauritius onto the path of success and prosperity.
Minister Mohamed observed that one cannot embrace the future without being aware of the past, which according to him, is the rationale behind the holding of the forum and the exhibition. He also underlined that free education has played a pivotal role in the emancipation of the people in Mauritius especially as regards the world of work.
Labour Day was proclaimed public holiday for the first time in Mauritius in the year 1950. The first Labour department was created in May 1938 and the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment was set up in 1957 with Mr. Edgar Millien as Minister. Following social upheavals in 1938, where workers lost their lives, the Industrial Associations Ordinance was passed and workers were authorised to group themselves in trade unions. In 1969, Mauritius pledged to adhere to the International Labour Organisation and in 1975 the Labour Act was passed.