Lithuania's Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius says that the country still has do do much to lower the number of its citizens seeking employment abroad.
Algirdas Butkevičius
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

In a congratulatory message circulated on the International Labour Day, the prime minister said that growing profits, investments and new markets "should not outshine social cohesion, silence justice and trample upon the interests of honest workers".

"We have to do a lot to have enough jobs in the country for anyone who wants it, to lower the number of our citizens seeking better life elsewhere. And the number of those who want to eat the bread earned abroad will decrease even further, if people in our country enjoy fair pay and good working conditions, if the law and employees' rights are respected here," said the Social Democratic leader.

The International Labour Day is a holiday in Lithuania. Nevertheless, observing 1 May has drawn controversial reactions in Lithuania over the last few decades. Initiated by the Social Democratic Party, it was made a state holiday and a day-off in 2001 after parliament voted down a veto by then president Valdas Adamkus.

Adamkus then said that a part of the Lithuanian population associate 1 May with the Soviet rule, therefore, the day does not unite the nation. In the interwar period, 1 May was not a nation-wide holiday, but became an ideological holiday celebrating Communism during the Soviet era.

Supporters of the holiday stress that it is marked in the democratic Western world as well.

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