Labour Day, celebrated on 1 May, has a long history in Mauritius. It was first celebrated in Mauritius in 1938 but not made an official holiday until 1950.
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In 1938, soon after the famed Port Louis Dockers Strike, new standards were set by Mauritius’ government in The Labour Ordinance. Employers were, for example, required to keep records of workers’ hours and earnings, disallowed from docking pay for fines or “poor work”, forced to honour the eight-hour work day and overtime pay beyond eight hours, pay all wages in cash unless employees agreed to another method, and face fines if they violated labour laws.
Today, Labour Day is a day off, a symbol of past achievements, and a time when political and labour union rallies are still held to push for further reforms. Mauritius has come a long way since the days when it was dominated by indentured servant labourers who had very few rights.
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