International Workers' Day is a celebration of working people and a day when people campaign for decent work and fair pay. Thanks to action taken by workers over many years, millions of people have won fundamental rights and protections, like minimum wages have been established, there are limits on working hours, and people have the right to paid holidays and sick pay.
However, in recent years, working conditions in many situations have got worse. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, part-time, short-term and badly paid work has become more common, and state pensions are at risk.
We have also seen the rise of the 'gig economy', where companies hire workers casually for one short job at a time. These workers don't have the usual rights to paid holidays, the minimum wage or redundancy pay. Solidarity with other workers is as important as ever.
The history of International Workers' Day
In May 1886, 400,000 workers in many parts of the USA went on strike, demanding an eight-hour working day. The strike started peacefully, but on the third day of protests in Chicago there was some violence. The police shot at unarmed workers, killing several of them. The next day there were more protests and someone threw a bomb. Seven police officers and four workers were killed by the bomb or police shooting just after the bomb. The person who threw the bomb was never identified, but eight workers were arrested. Seven of them were sentenced to death, and one of them was sent to prison for 15 years.
This event, known as The Haymarket Affair, was very important in bringing working people together in the USA. Many people didn't believe the men were guilty, and the trial was criticised for being unfair. The Haymarket Affair became an international symbol of the struggle for workers' rights, and May 1 was chosen to be International Workers' Day.
On this day, socialist parties and trade unions called for workers to demonstrate for the eight-hour day and in favour of peaceful protest. The eight-hour working day became law for public workers in 1892 in the USA. Since then, workers' movements all over the world have continued to fight for and win this right.
How is Workers' Day celebrated now?
Celebrations and protests take place in different ways in different countries around the world. May 1 is a public holiday in countries such as India, South Africa, Tunisia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and China. In many countries, including India, France, Greece, Japan, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States, there are demonstrations on International Workers' Day.
Workers' Day is a day for working people to have a rest from their usual labour. It is an opportunity to campaign for workers' rights, show solidarity with other working people and to celebrate the achievements of workers all over the world.
In India, Labour’s Day is a national holiday. 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 May 1 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 Antrarashtriya Shramik Divas in India.
Maharashtra and Gujarat celebrate May Day as ‘Maharashtra Divas’ and ‘Gujarat Divas’, respectively, as they got their statehood on 01st May, 1960.
BPT & Labour Day
In BPT, we encourage the culture of taking care of our labour force. They are family.
They constitute our fore workforce and are the helping hands, be it an individual labourer helping a person to lift the burden on his shoulders or labourers in a group helping to run our company and the industry. Without them, attaining our goal is impossible as they are an integral part of the organizational structure, who make things happen at ground level.
BPT is absolutely honoured & beams with pride, to ensure that each of our worker’s health and safety is prioritized by providing them with the needful resources of health & hygiene. Occupational hazards are minimised by various means of rescue, first aid, and the clean-up arrangements are duly in provision at all our work sites.
Further, the BPT Management is obliged to establish that no charge is levied on any employee, with respect to any measure taken and provided for maintenance of health & safety at the workplace, which may include conducting medical examination and / or investigation for the purpose of detecting occupational diseases.