International Labor Day
International Labor Day is an annual holiday commemorating workers’ achievements. The origins of International Labor Day can be traced back to the labor union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated for eight hours of work, eight hours of recreation, and eight hours of rest.
Most countries associate Labor Day with International Workers’ Day, which takes place on May 1. Other countries observe Labor Day on a different date, often with special significance for the local labor movement. Many countries observe Labor Day as a public holiday.
For most countries, “Labor Day” is synonymous with, or linked with, International Workers’ Day, which occurs on May 1. Some countries vary the actual date of their celebrations so that the holiday occurs on a Monday close to May 1.
Some countries have a holiday at or around this date, but it is not a ‘Labor day’ celebration.
The Origins of International Labor Day
The first May Day festivities centered on workers took place on May 1, 1890, after the announcement by the first international conference of socialist parties in Europe on July 14, 1889, in Paris, France, to designate May 1 as the “Workers Day of International Unity and Solidarity.”
Because of developments on the other side of the Atlantic, the day was picked. The American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions sought an eight-hour workday in 1884, which went into effect on May 1, 1886. This culminated in the general strike and the Haymarket (Chicago) Riot of 1886, but it also led to the formal approval of the eight-hour workweek.
May 1 is observed as May Day in the majority of countries throughout the world. The bank holiday is marked on the first Monday of May in the United Kingdom and Ireland rather than May 1.
The Soviet Union officially sanctioned the holiday in the twentieth century, and it is also observed as the International Solidarity of Workers Day, particularly in several Communist regimes. During the Cold War, celebrations in communist nations frequently included big military parades with the latest equipment on display, as well as displays of regular people in support of the government.
Contrary to popular belief (given the origins of the May 1 date), the United States observes Labor Day on the first Monday of September (May 1 is Loyalty Day, a legal but not widely recognized holiday in the United States). There is considerable speculation that this was done to avoid commemorating the 1886 riots. Another reason for the government’s opposition to May Day labor festivities in America is communists’ and socialists’ embrace of May Day as their principal holiday.
May Day has traditionally been a focal point for communist, socialist, and anarchist protests.
Labor Day in Various Countries
Labor Day is a public holiday in Australia, with dates varying by state and territory. It is the first Monday in October in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and South Australia. It is the second Monday in March in Victoria and Tasmania (though the latter calls it Eight Hours Day).
Labor Day is observed on the first Monday of March in Western Australia. Labor Day is observed on the first Monday of May in Queensland and the Northern Territory (though the latter calls it May Day). It takes place on the fourth Monday of March on Christmas Island.
On April 21, 1856, the labor movement marched for an eight-hour day in Melbourne. On this day, stonemasons and construction workers across Melbourne stopped working and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an eight-hour day. Their direct action protest was successful, and they were among the first organized workers worldwide to achieve an 8-hour day with no pay loss.
Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati, a garment worker welfare organization, has urged that April 24 be designated as Labour Safety Day in Bangladesh in commemoration of the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse.
Labour Day is a national holiday in the Bahamas, observed on the first Friday of June to provide employees with a long weekend. However, the traditional date of Labour Day in the Bahamas is June 7, to commemorate a big workers’ strike that began in 1942.
Labour Day is intended to recognize and celebrate workers and the value of their contributions to the nation and society. Thousands of people gather in Nassau’s capital city to watch a parade through the streets, which begins mid-morning.
The procession includes bands in colorful uniforms, traditional African junkanoo performers, and members of various labor unions and political parties. It concludes at the Southern Recreation Grounds, where government leaders deliver speeches. Many residents and visitors to the Bahamas use the afternoon of Labour Day to unwind at home or go to the beach.
Since 1894, Labour Day (Fête du Travail) has been a legislative public holiday in Canada on the first Monday in September. On the other hand, the origins of Labour Day in Canada may be traced back to countless local demonstrations and celebrations in previous decades.
Such rallies gained political significance in 1872 when a labor rally in Toronto in support of striking printers resulted in the passage of the Trade Union Act, which established the legality of unions. On July 22, 1882, 10 years later, a massive labor festival in Toronto drew the attention of American labor leader Peter J.
McGuire arranged a similar parade on September 5 in New York City. Following that, unions affiliated with the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor in Canada and the United States organized parades and festivals on September 1. During these years, local celebrations were held in Hamilton, Oshawa, Montreal, St Catharines, Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, and London. In 1889, Montreal declared a civic holiday. Coal miners in Nova Scotia have been staging picnics and parades since 1880 to commemorate the anniversary of their union, the Provincial Workmen’s Association, which was founded in 1879.
Furthermore, the Royal Commission on the Relations of Labor and Capital in Canada suggested that the federal government recognize an official “labor day” in 1889. Unions lobbied Parliament in March and April 1894 to make Labour Day a public holiday. Prime Minister Sir John Thompson introduced legislation in May and got royal assent in July 1894.
Rasoul Taleb Moghaddam, a Tehran bus drivers’ syndicate member, was given 74 lashes, according to the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, on June 1, 2020. Moghaddam was one of a dozen workers arrested on May 1, 2019, at a rally commemorating Workers’ Day. Moghadam was sentenced to 74 lashes as well as two years in prison.
Before 1961, May 24 was observed as Empire Day in Jamaica to commemorate Queen Victoria’s birthday and her emancipation of enslaved people in Jamaica. As the name implies, the day commemorated the British Empire with flag-raising rituals and patriotic song singing. In 1961, Jamaican Prime Minister Norman Washington Manley advocated replacing Empire Day with Labour Day, a commemoration of May 23, 1938, when Alexander Bustamante led a labor insurrection that resulted in Jamaican independence.
In 1972, Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley supported Labour Day as a day of voluntary community engagement in constructive projects and a demonstration of the importance of labor to Jamaica’s growth. Since then, Labour Day has been a public holiday and a day of widespread community participation across the country.
Labor Day is observed in Kazakhstan on the last Sunday of September. The holiday was first observed in late 2013. Kazakhstan’s government replaced International Workers’ Day with Kazakhstan People’s Unity Day in 1995. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev introduced a special medal to labor veterans during the festival. Labor Day is widely observed throughout the country, with official speeches, award ceremonies, cultural events, etc. Because it always falls on a weekend, it is a non-working holiday for most Kazakhstanis.
Labour Day is a public holiday in New Zealand celebrated on the fourth Monday of October. Its roots can be traced back to the eight-hour working day movement, which developed in the newly created Wellington colony in 1840, owing to carpenter Samuel Parnell’s unwillingness to work more than eight hours a day. “There are twenty-four hours each day provided to us; eight of these should be for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for enjoyment,” Parnell reportedly told a prospective employer that year.
Labour Day was initially observed in New Zealand on October 28, 1890, to commemorate the first anniversary of the Maritime Council, an organization of transport and mining unions. Thousands of trade union members and sympathizers marched in major city centers. Many businesses closed for at least part of the day, and government personnel was given the day off. Originally, the day was known as Labour Day or Labour Demonstration Day.
The Labour Day Act of 1899 was passed by the government in 1899, making the day a national holiday. The date was established for the second Wednesday in October, and the holiday was first observed the following year, in 1900. The holiday was moved to the fourth Monday of October in 1910.
Labour Day is a public holiday in Nigeria, held annually on May 1. The holiday is intended to honor employees’ accomplishments. The origins of Labour Day may be traced back to the eight-hour day movement, which advocates for eight hours of labor, amusement, and relaxation.
To make a livelihood in the 1800s, most workers had to work more than 12 hours a day, seven days a week, which led to the formation of labor organizations that organized strikes to alleviate the dismal working conditions.
Many of the strikes of the period became violent, notably the Haymarket Affair on May 4, 1886. The incident began as a peaceful labor protest demonstration in favor of the eight-hour workday near Chicago’s Haymarket Square. Still, it quickly became a riot after a bomb was thrown at the police. At least seven police officers and four civilians were killed, and many more were injured. The Haymarket Affair is often regarded as the birthplace of Labor Day.
Labour Day was first formally observed in Russia on May 1, 1917, following the February Revolution, and it became a significant holiday in 1918. Many nations, including the Soviet Union, observed May 1.
Workers’ day is a public holiday in Nigeria on May 1. It is part of International Workers’ Day, often known as Labour Day, which is observed worldwide.
This is a day to remember and honor workers and laborers all across the world for their efforts. It is endorsed by the international labor movement and is observed worldwide on May Day (May 1).
Since 1981, Workers Day has been a public holiday in Nigeria. Today, people traditionally gather with friends and family to commemorate the workers and laborers whose crucial job keeps governments and companies worldwide operating efficiently.
On Workers Day, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress traditionally addresses the public and workers.
Workers’ day was declared a public holiday in Nigeria for the first time in 1980 by the People Redemption Party of Kano State. It was declared a national holiday on May 1, 1981, and has been observed on that day.
International Labor Day is observed in over 80 countries throughout the world.
Many people attend the National May Day Celebration in Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city. The President would give a speech, and hundreds would gather in the square to hear him. Some individuals attend various additional May Day celebrations held by schools, labor organizations, hospitals, and other institutions around Nigeria. While others in Abuja go shopping, they visit Ceddi Plaza, the most contemporary shopping mall in town, which includes multiple big-brand shops, a nice book store, a wine shop, and plenty of cafés.
Some people also visit Silverbird for its theatre, arcade, bowling alley, Shoprite, the newest Abuja mall, and many stores and massive grocery stores. Some eventually travel to Abuja Farmers Market for superb, local fresh products or Garki Open Air Market for arts and crafts and fresh cuisine. Some people travel outside the city to witness Africa’s most untamed, Gashaka-Gumti National Park.
This country’s largest national park is located in the central Cameroon border area. The landscape includes grasslands, mountains, valleys, woods, cliffs, and gorges, as well as several wild animal species like elephants, antelope, wild dogs, buffalo, golden cats, chimps, and over 500 bird species. While Labour Day may be political in Nigeria, it is more of a day off for many people and an opportunity for travelers to explore the country’s urban and rural sections.
In Nigeria, International Workers Day is being redesigned.
Even though Nigeria commemorates Workers Day, there is always a need to restructure the working sectors. People, including so-called workers and their unions, are unaware of the historical meaning of this holiday. Why should workers celebrate Workers Day when they suffer from terrible welfare, low wages, and bonuses? Bad compensation scales and bonuses, irregular salary payments, worker neglect, welfare, and poor governance and management toward workers exist in many sectors and states throughout the country.
The story of workers demanding their rights is not unfamiliar to Nigerian government employees. Over the years, Nigerian civil servants have played important roles in ensuring that government policies result in tangible services for Nigerians, and the various Labour unions under the two major umbrella bodies of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have demonstrated maximum tenacity in demanding Nigerian workers’ rights.
Because billions of Naira intended for employees are wasted and misdirected, Nigerian workers’ hardships and struggles will continue indefinitely.
If you are in Nigeria on May 1, there are three things you should do:
Attend the National May Day Celebration in Eagle Square in Abuja, the capital city.
The President will deliver a speech, and many will gather in the square to hear him. On this day, you may also attend various activities hosted by schools, labour organizations, hospitals, and other institutions around Nigeria.
Go shopping in Abuja while you’re there.
Ceddi Plaza, the most contemporary shopping mall in town, features various big-brand stores, a superb book store, a wine shop, and plenty of eateries. Visit Silverbird for its theatre, arcade, and bowling alley, as well as Shoprite, Abuja’s newest mall, for its various stores and massive supermarket. Finally, visit Abuja Farmers Market for amazing, local fresh products or Garki Open Air Market for arts and crafts and fresh food.
Get away from the city and see Africa at its most untamed in Gashaka-Gumti National Park.
This country’s largest national park is located in the central Cameroon border area. The landscape includes grasslands, mountains, valleys, woods, cliffs, and gorges, as well as several wild animal species like elephants, antelope, wild dogs, buffalo, golden cats, chimps, and over 500 bird species.
Gifts that can be given to celebrate the holiday
If your firm has a strong culture, you know how critical it is to show your staff appreciation throughout the year. You can do this on International Workers’ Day in Nigeria.
It is a particularly appropriate time to recognize your employees’ contributions. In recognition of their contributions to the company’s success, prominent corporations commemorate International Workers’ Day once a year.
This is a great time to show appreciation for your employees by providing meaningful, enjoyable, and memorable events. Some gift ideas for this event to serve as a token of gratitude include a raise in salary, customized accessories like backpacks, jotters, pens, flasks, etc., cards, etc.