Who is represented on May 1?

People demonstrated across Europe on May 1 in favour of workers' rights and social justice. The press wonders what significance International Workers' Day has in today's digitised, globalised world.

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Jutarnji list (HR) /

Today's digital proletariat in distress

Workers today are no longer subject to the miserable factory conditions of the 19th century but their work is as brain-numbing as ever, the daily Jutarnji list rails:

“Today's proletariat sit at computers and have no idea whether it's day or night, rainy or sunny outside. With headphones and a mike, they stammer the same stupid questions or answers in a hole called a Call Centre. The digital proletariat has no way of coming together, let alone going on strike. The Iron Lady Thatcher's vision of a working class without protagonists or antagonists has become reality. They spent yesterday's public holiday slaving away in silence, glad that their short-term employment contracts didn't end on Saturday.”

Cinco Días (ES) /

Trade unions need to redefine themselves

The trade unions must adjust to modern times if they want to truly represent the interests of the workforce, the business daily Cinco Días comments in view of the low turnout for International Workers' Day demonstrations:

“Yesterday, May 1, provided confirmation of the weakened state of the trade unions in terms of getting people onto the streets and, more importantly, representing the workforce. No one is forcing us to cling to 19th century strategies when it comes to representing workers' interests. The trade unions must move with the times and focus once more on their original purpose: defending - and in many cases recovering - workers' rights. … The trade unions need to transform. Also in terms of their financing model and transparency.”