Labor Day or International Workers Day is celebrated annually on 1st May to celebrate the working class and laborers across the world. Socialist and labor unions celebrate this day by organizing programs to improve wages and working conditions of the workforce. In more than 80 countries Labor Day is a national holiday.
Before a formal Labor Day came into place, deaths, injuries and dangerous working conditions were very common among the working class globally. During the rise of industrialization, the US exploited the working class during the 19th century and made them work up to 15 hours a day under rigorous conditions. The rising death of the workforce in industries forced the working class to raise their voice for their safety. After efforts made by the workers and socialists, eight-hours was declared as the legal time for the workers in the national convention at Chicago in late 19th century by the American Federation of Labor.
The origin of Labor Day goes back to an incident in Chicago on May 4, 1886 known as the Haymarket Affair. On this day workers assembled as part of a peaceful rally in a strike demanding an eight-hour work day. An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at the police as they acted to disperse the meeting, and the bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians; dozens of others were wounded. The Chicago protests are now celebrated as Labor Day on 1st May. These protests led to many countries, including India, following an eight hour work day. The first Labor Day in India was celebrated on 1 May, 1923, in Chennai. It was organized by the Labor Kisan Party of Hindustan.
International Labor Organization (ILO) is a part of the United Nations Organization works towards improving the working and living standards of workers all over the world. On 1st May every year, the ILO conducts rallies and marches across the world to create awareness about issues like forced labor, minimum wage law and rights of migrant workers.
The theme of International Labor Day 2019 is “Sustainable Pension for all: The Role of Social Partners”.