History Behind International Labour Day

International Labour Day also known as May Day or International Workers’ Day — celebrates the struggle, dedication and commitment of the working class and is an annual public holiday in several countries.

The genesis of the Labour Day goes into the 19th century when industrialization was punishing laborers by forcing them to work almost 15 hours in day.

The 1st May 1886 strike was held in Chicago and a few other cities were the site of a major union demonstration in support of the 8 hours’ workday demand. There was a confrontation between demonstrators and the government. The police then opened fire at the gathering, killing several men and wounding around 200. And, hence, the Haymarket affair became a part of US history.

In 1889, the International Socialist Conference declared that in commemoration of the Haymarket affair, 1st May would be an international holiday.

In the 21st century, we have achieved many milestones as far as labour rights are concerned. A lot has changed due to the rapid change in the mode of work, after technology being inducted in the production system. We have evolved further – as today’s work depends on the data and software. But at the same time developing countries still consist of large unskilled labour forces.

At the same time, this large informal workforce has been deprived of unionising, because their jobs are vulnerable and everywhere in the world state after state is withdrawing in the name of free market. In those situations, who has to suffer the most? Yes, obviously labour forces/working class. We have a classic example of the recent Jet Airlines crisis.

There is an urgent need to address the labour questions at large. And specifically to provide economic justice to women and other marginalized groups.

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