———–International Labor Day: It is relevant still today———-
Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed
International Labor Day or May Day is celebrated to complete the struggle and to make only 8 working hours of the Labor. It was more than 12 to 16 hours of the work provided by the people to the workers in unsafe situations. Due to the major working hours to the workers, many workers became injured, ill and had any type of problems with them. So, it was necessary for the government to focus on the working hours of the labors. Labors were tired by working more than 8 hours a day and they were provided with many types of ideas and plans to work quickly in a better way. International Labor Day is used to celebrate every year by providing every person holiday for the accomplishments of the tasks by the Labor. International Labor Day is used to provide lots of relief to the Labor by which they can be able to live a better life in the World. International Labor Day maintains and cultivates the people to manage their tasks properly to make better improvements in their work. International Labor Day is used to make the labor provide a lot of facilities to them to give them relief from the burden and pressure of the work. For the celebration of International Labors Day, people are used to spreading various messages and news to make the people aware of the social activities of the labor. On the International Labor Day, people are used to coloring their flags and banners such as the Day of Independence. There are various events launched by the International Labor Day to make the people know about the situations and conditions of the labor in any country. It is quite good to make the people manage their tasks which is possible to perform by them in the working hours by which it provides the workers to manage their things properly without any mental pressure to them. There are lots of activities to be fulfilled by the people to target lots of goals to be achieved in daily life. Labors should get every possible way to handle and focus on things easily with lots of understanding to make the work complete easily and quickly. There are many people who are used to provide many ideas and plans to create lots of possible ways to fulfill and complete the tasks properly and safely. There are many companies who made labors to work only for 8 hours to 10 hours and not more than it. They provide fewer hours of work but are used to provide big targets to the labors to make their work to complete for their own profit and benefit. So, to make the labor work accurately and quickly, there should be no stress given by the boss of any company to make their target to complete in a better way.
Labor Day acknowledges the revolutions in every country. The Bolshevik Revolution under Vladimir Lenin in Russia was the first working class protest. Thus, 1st May is celebrated as Labor Day for every worker in the world. In India, Labor Day is celebrated with great zeal. It was in solidarity with the communist and socialist party, and on this day, a red flag was used in India for the very first time. Presently, on Labor Day, every school celebrates and honors the workers who toil tirelessly throughout the year. Students organize and formulate programs to extend their love to their beloved caregivers in school. They sing, dance and recite for them. Labor Day is a critical day because it also teaches us about the dignity of labor. No work is disrespectful, and we must acknowledge and celebrate every profession. Starting from a sweeper to a farmer, every business helps us in some way or the other, and we must express our gratitude to those who work so hard to give us the facilities we need. In Ghana, Labor Day is celebrated by the trade unions and labor organizations by organizing parades all over the city. They put up banners and posters to mark the importance of this day.
Since its inception in 1886, the May Day has hardly come at a more crucial time for workers the world over. Factories, industries and businesses in most industrial and commercial hubs of the world have remained closed. Workers are no longer pitted against owners of establishments but they along with their managements are fighting an invisible foe, coronavirus that is sweeping the world mercilessly. Now governments, owners and workers are all desperate to overcome the crisis. But it is the workers whose desperation beggar’s description as evident from the streams of garments workers arriving to their workplaces defying not only the enormous difficult journey but also the rule of social and personal distancing. Confusion over reopening of garments factories forced them to take the arduous journey to the capital once earlier and again they have been subjected to similar travail by partial reopening of factories. In fact, almost half the number of garments factories has reopened, exposing the workers to risk of infection. Then garments workers are not all. There are daily laborer’s, menial workers in the informal sector and many others who have lost income on account of the prolonged lockdown.
Labor Day is a celebration for the working class who have suffered a long time under capitalist rule. The rise of the working class happened due to the teachings of Karl Marx, the creator of the Communist Manifesto. He was the first person ever to speak about their rights. His teachings aspired to organize a revolution by which the working class will seize production from the capitalist class. Labor Day, thus, has a detailed history of class struggle. Capitalism seeks to suppress laborer’s and exploit them. Under this system of the economy, the laborers did not get paid and were thoroughly tortured by those who had control over the means of production. Labor Day recognizes the prolonged, revolutionary efforts of the working class to get what they truly deserve. Labor Day has its roots in the labor union movement in the United States of America. The exploitation of the working class has been prevalent since the very onset of the feudal order. The feudal lords used to treat their workers in ways unimaginable to humans.
Laboure’s were given their due rights after a lot of struggle. Those who toiled hard recognized its importance much more. The day held a special significance for them. Thus, in most of the countries, Labor Day celebration initially included paying honor to the union leaders who took the lead as well as inspired others to fight for their rights. Speeches were made by prominent leaders and laborer’s spent time together, making merry. Trade unions conducted special lunches and dinners or organized picnics and outings for their team of laborer’s. Campaigns and parades were carried out to celebrate the worker’s rights. Fireworks were also done. While campaigns and parades are still carried out on this day by trade unions in many organizations and group lunches and picnics are also organized, many people these days just see this day as an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate. They spend time completing their pending household tasks or go out with their friends and family.
Labor Day is experienced differently today, for reasons that go beyond the pandemic.
Most towns are not hosting parades, sponsoring fireworks or encouraging large gatherings. What else has happened to change our attitude about Labor Day? In 1970, an agency was established to monitor workplace safety. With mandated standards, random inspections and hefty penalties for noncompliance, the workplace is vastly improved – addressing a major raison d’etre for unions.
Today’s millennials view the world differently. They’ve grown up in a gig economy, are skeptical of those in power and appreciate their independence. The “union drum” is not their beat. They want to make a difference but in their own and independent way. The decline of Labor Day is not cast in stone, but its value proposition needs an update. Can we use Labor Day to engage on timeless topics that challenge us – dispute resolution, workforce diversity and health care, for example — seen through a modern lens?
Former Deputy Director General
Bangladesh Ansar VDP &
Writer, Columnist and Researcher