International Labour Day

News: Every year 1st May is observed as May Day and is also known as International Labour Day worldwide. The day is observed as an occasion to commemorate the contributions of labourers and the working class. The International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency, works towards setting international labour standards.

Significance of the day in different regions:

United States:

  • Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement in the United States in the 19th
  • However, the USA and Canada celebrate Labour day on the first Monday of September, every year.
  • Labour day was designated as a day in support of workers by trade unions and socialist groups in the memory of the Haymarket affair of 1886 in Chicago, USA. Haymarket Affair was a peaceful rally in support of workers which led to a violent clash with the police, leading to severe casualties. Those who died were hailed as “Haymarket Martyrs”. Workers’ rights violations, straining work hours, poor working conditions, low wages and child labour were the issues highlighted in the protest.

Europe:

  • May Day was first celebrated on 1stMay, 1890, after it was declared by the first International Congress of Socialist Parties in Europe in July 1889.

USSR:

  • The Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc nations started celebrating the Labour day after the Russian Revolution, 1917. New ideologies such as Marxism and Socialism inspired many socialist and communist groups and they attracted peasants and workers and made them an integral part of national movement.

India:

  • The first Labour’s Day was celebrated in 1923 in Chennai. This day was observed by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan. On this day, communist leader Malayapuram Singaravelu Chettiar asked the government that 1stMay should be considered as a national holiday to symbolise the efforts and work of the workers. This day is also known as Kamgar Divas, Kamgar Din and Antarrashtriya Shramik Divas in India.