Labour Day: Reflecting on Workers' Contributions & Challenges

Labour Day: Reflecting on Workers’ Contributions & Challenges

by Sopuru Sopuru

Labour Day, also recognized as International Workers’ Day, is an annual celebration held on May 1st to honor the invaluable contributions of workers to society. While Nigeria stands among the 160 nations observing this significant day, it’s noteworthy that some countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand, do not formally recognize this occasion.

The origins of International Labour Day trace back to the late 19th-century labor movement in the United States. In 1886, May 1st was chosen as the date to commemorate a nationwide strike advocating for an eight-hour workday. However, the movement took a tragic turn in Chicago, resulting in what is remembered as the Haymarket Affair.

Despite the setbacks, the spirit of solidarity prevailed, leading to the establishment of May 1st as International Labour Day by various socialist parties in Europe in 1889. Since then, it has been commemorated annually to honor the struggles and achievements of workers worldwide.

On this day, numerous events and seminars take place, underscoring the vital role workers play in society and raising awareness about their rights. This year’s theme, “ensuring safety and health at work in a changing climate,” reflects the pressing need to address the challenges posed by environmental changes while safeguarding workers’ well-being.

As we commemorate Labour Day, let us not only celebrate the accomplishments of workers but also reaffirm our commitment to creating safer and healthier workplaces for all, amidst the evolving global landscape.




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