International Labour Day 2023 in Chiang Mai, Thailand

On 1 May 2023, MMN took part and assisted in the organization of Chiang Mai’s annual International Labour Day celebrations. This year’s event took place under the banner “We Are All Workers”. The slogan aims to promote solidarity and recognize the diversity and dignity of all workers, including those engaged in less visible and informal occupations.

May Day festivities began with the Northern Labour Network, whose members (including MMN) represent workers in various professions, such as baristas, sex workers, delivery drivers, and migrant workers. Together, we submitted a list of 16 demands to government representatives at Chiang Mai City Hall. Our demands reflect the everyday struggles faced by workers in Thailand that have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. These labour rights issues include problems related to unfair dismissal, violations of minimum wage legislation, non-payment for work undertaken on holidays, forced overtime, long working hours, and employer breaches of contract, such as failing to enroll workers in the social security system. Read the full demands here:

Later in the evening, over 150 people joined a May Day parade. The march began from the Le Tawan area along Sri Don Chai Road to Loi Kroh Road, with red and black flags and messages from various groups symbolising workers’ struggles. Following the parade, several activities took place, including performances by various groups and discussions on labour issues. Representatives from six political parties – Move Forward Party, Democrat Party, Thai Liberal Party, Bhumjaithai Party, Palang Pracharat Party, and Commoners Party – were in attendance to listen to and engage with labour representatives.

The event concluded with a declaration from the Northern Labour Network calling for solidarity among workers and greater equality in Thai society. The declaration ended with a call to continue advocating for workers’ rights and to demand that all workers enjoy their rights without exception.

MMN wishes to thank all those who participated in a lively, engaging day of campaigning and discussions, where existing networks were strengthened and new alliances formed. We look forward to re-convening next year on May Day and in solidarity on other occasions throughout the year.