May 1st - International Workers Day


The 1st of May or 'May Day' isn't just about dancing around the Maypole. You may not know that it is also International Workers Day. Many workers take to the streets across the globe, in large rallies and protests.

International Workers Day

In London, a rally is taking place in memory of Bob Crow and Tony Benn, both of whom furthered the rights of workers up until their untimely deaths. Also of note is the fact that the tube strikes are still ongoing, organised by the RMT, the union that Bob Crow was the general secretary of.

The Work Done so Far

It is right and proper that having remembered those who have lost their lives at work earlier this week we are celebrating the positive achievements of workers today.

There are numerous rights at work that have been secured down the years by working people coming together and campaigning. Many of those rights were hard won and need defending today as much as ever.

Across a range of areas - health and safety, pensions, protection from dismissal, pay and many others - workers and trade unions face a fight even to just stand still. As well as fighting for rights that should be, there is a fight against the erosion of what has been fought. Today is about celebrating what has been achieved, but also reflecting on what still needs to be done.

Health and Safety's Not Mad

Workers rights are still ignored and abused on an institutional level in the UK. There may be a strong feeling of 'health and safety gone mad' in some cases, but 148 workers were killed at work in 2012/13, which is still 148 too many. 27 million working days were lost due to work-related illnesses and injuries in 2011/12 also. The UK still has some way to go.

May 1st is an international celebration of working people and we should not forget workers around the world, many of whom face a far more perilous situation than people in the UK. In Colombia, Bangladesh, the Philippines and countless other countries, workers put their lives on the line when they go to work and particularly when they stand up for their rights.

Their fight should be our fight.

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