God sells us all things at the price of labourLeonardo da Vinci
International Workers Day, also known as International Labour Day, falls on May 1 every year. Many countries all over the world have a holiday for the working class on May 1. It is also often referred to as “May Day” in several countries. It is a celebration of labourers and the working classes worldwide against exploitation by employers while it also promotes the International Labour Movement. May 1 was selected to be International Workers’ Day to honour the 1886 Haymarket undertaking in Chicago. The workforce world over owes to the people who lost their lives at Haymarket Riot for the eight-hour workday.
The day is of significance in what used to be the Soviet Union and the Eastern-bloc countries, with high-profile parades, including one in Moscow’s Red Square, celebrating the worker and showcasing Soviet military might. With the breakup of the Soviet Union and the fall of communist governments in eastern Europe in the late 20th century, large-scale May Day celebrations declined in importance.
The population of the world has crossed 7.8 billion, increasing by 1.03% every year. WLO estimate puts the number of people employed at 3 billion, and the unemployed population is around 5.8%. The most worrying factor is that more than 200 million children are being exploited worldwide as labourers, the majority of them engaged in hazardous work. More distressing is to know that seventy-three million of these children are under ten years old.
In India, May Day was first celebrated in 1923, with the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan leading the celebration in Madras. The movement was led by Singaravelu, known as the father of the Indian communist and labour union movement. Maharashtra and Gujarat observe the Labour Day coinciding with Maharashtra Day and Gujarat Day, respectively.
Mayday is an emergency procedure word used as a distress signal and used to signal a life-threatening emergency. Convention requires the word be repeated three times in a row during the initial emergency declaration (“Mayday mayday mayday”). The world is crying “Mayday mayday mayday” to protect itself from the onslaught of the COVID pandemic. With the number of cases increasing alarmingly, the world getting into pause and wondering when the light at the end of the tunnel is seen.
Most affected in the pandemic times are the larger number of workers travelling long distances searching for work and livelihood. The pandemic has caused so many hardships to them. The observation of international workers day becomes more significant and needs to find ways to protect the population segment and reduce their misery.
Karl Marx said, From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
Mayday mayday mayday.