May Day

Nadia Khaloof

2021 / 5 / 1

May Day, also called Workers’ Day´-or-International Workers’ Day, day commemorating the historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labour movement, observed in many countries on May 1.
International Workers’ Day came about in the late 19th Century to commemorate the struggle for the eight hour work day. It was created after an incident in 1886, called the Haymarket Affair. In this incident, anarchists in the labor movement of Chicago were wrongly executed in the aftermath of a bombing. International Workers’ Day is celebrated in most of the of the world.
In Europe May 1 was historically associated with rural pagan festivals , but the original meaning of the day was gradually replaced by the modern association with the labour movement. In the Soviet -union-, leaders embraced the new holiday, believing it would encourage workers in Europe and the United States to unite against capitalism. The day became a significant holiday in the Soviet -union- and in the Eastern-bloc countries, with high-profile parades, including one in Moscow’s Red Square presided over by top government and Communist Party -function-aries, celebrating the worker and showcasing Soviet military might. In Germany Labour Day became an official holiday in 1933 after the rise of the Nazi Party. Ironically, Germany abolished free -union-s the day after establishing the holiday, virtually destroying the German labour movement.
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. Minimum wages have been established, there are-limit-s 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.
Centre of Laic Studies and Research in the Arab World