On May 1 International Workers’ Day is celebrated in many countries across the world. Workers achievements are celebrated and people often march the streets demanding fair pay and better working conditions. Governments are urged to adjust salaries and wages and to acknowledge workers’ rights to strike and hold unions.
Why do we need International Workers Day?
Thanks to the action taken over many years, millions have won the rights to a minimum wage, paid holiday and sick pay, and limits on working hours.
However in more recent years, working conditions in many situations have got worse. Since the financial crisis on 2008, part-time, short-term and badly paid work has become more common than ever. There has also been a rise in gig economy workers with more companies hiring temp workers for one short job at a time. These workers don’t have the usual rights to paid holiday, minimum wage or redundancy pay.
The History of International Workers Day
The struggle to have eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest was the origin of International Workers’ Day, which is also referred to as May Day or Labour Day. Most countries celebrate International Workers’ Day on May 1, except in the United States and Canada, where Labour Day is held in September.
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 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.
This event, known as The Haymarket Affair, was very important in bringing working people together in the USA. 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.
Each year there is a theme. In 2019 the theme was “Uniting Workers for Social and Economic Advancement”. The theme for 2020 was Coronavirus. The coronavirus pandemic has affected every worker across the globe, regardless of where they work or what they do. The majority of office workers have been instructed to work from home for over a year now, but for those who are unable to work from home the COVID-19 outbreak resulted in concerns around how they were treated and how safe their working conditions were. Many workers raised concerns about their working practices and lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), and failure to implement social distancing. Read more about the new health and safety protection coming to force in the UK, in our recent blog post.
What we do
TCP is a European Professional Employer Organisation and compliance specialist with over 25 years’ experience and a People 2.0 company. Our expertise lies in the employment of skilled temporary/contract workers on behalf of clients. TCP operate in 8 countries across Europe, with partners worldwide. Take a look at the countries we operate in here. We have registered entities in all the countries were operate and can support work visa applications as well as act as the employer of record and manage the payroll according to local legislation, allowing TCP to manage the risks involved and indemnify our clients.
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