What Does Labour Day, May Day And International Workers Day Really Mean?


I had been wondering what Labour Day, May Day and International Workers Day really meant. A quick search on Google, and this is summarized as “International Workers Day, also known as Labour Day in some places, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement, anarchists, socialists, communists, and occurs every year on May Day, 1st May, an ancient spring holiday.

Turning to the media, the news was all about workers protesting and not celebrating their day. It begs the question: how is a day set aside for celebrating men and women whose sacrifices sustain humanity be marred with anger, groaning and threats by these same men and women the world celebrate. I began to wonder what the missing link was.

So I took time to read and listen to their complaints, and one seemed the loudest: poor remuneration for all their hard work; promises of minimum wages not kept. So it went, on and on! I began to see the equation of long hours of hard labour + poor working conditions + health hazards + time away from families + poor housing conditions + lack of insurance for injuries sustained at work = economic poverty x low wage. How is it that the very hands that craft the most expensive diamonds, pearls, sapphires and leather receive so little? What is behind such unjust imbalances?

Labour connotes strength, integrity and dignity, which are the finest qualities any human being can possess. It commands a certain kind of respect from people, and to the man or woman who is a labourer it brings such satisfaction in having well-deserved achievements in life. But alas! What have we got in today’s world? Scores of groans and mourning, dissatisfaction of the highest order, protest upon protest to demand equity and fair payments of wages after a hard day’s work to keep the society working. Should this be the case? Does a labourer not deserve his or her rightful pay, and not the stipends handed down.

The earth as we inhabit is a space given to all by God to till and prosper equally. Is there a deliberate act by some to make the plenty resources seem scarce that only those who are extremely wealthy can afford to obtain them? The extent of poverty and inequality amongst the citizens of the world has grown so much that the rich may soon need to abandon earth for another planet if they indeed intend to enjoy their wealth undisturbed! Therefore, people must begin to make a conscious effort to put structures that will benefit the more vulnerable of the society. People here now refers to the authorities, the government and the governed because by and large, they all make up the society but are divided according to status and functions.

When I look at human society and see all the intrigues that humans play on themselves, it is no wonder why the society knows no rest from its own vices. When the youths who make up, or ideally who should make up, the strong work force of any vibrant economy are not involved in the wealth creation and growth of a nation, then it begins to seem that the nation has deliberately turned against itself. What you see is a recycling of the same minds who have long used up their creative and innovative capacities, then the law of diminishing returns sets in, and the society begins its gradual journey to an unproductive and stagnant economy.

Every function as given must be performed with the utmost truth, respect, integrity and responsibility to self and society at large. Structures to help form a new balanced society where the youths at their primes are involved in nation building and not as reserved troops for thuggery and social miscreants; and where the older generation must step up to guide and mould new minds that would replace them at the appropriate time. The old should not insist on remaining at the helms of affairs and cause the society to work at a much slower pace. The result of this may be frustration, which may lead to chaos and total breakdown of law and order as is constantly seen in riots and protests.

Well all hope is not lost, even as we celebrate the workers who themselves don’t feel there is anything worth celebrating, as their hard work has not taken them away from poor living conditions, and inadequate funds to provide for their families. A lot has to give and change and it begins with the government formulating the right policies that will uplift the dignity of labour, and ultimately the people must demand the implementation of such policies if society and humanity is to have a balanced existence that would help reduce all the negativity in the world today.

Till I write again, I love you for reading.


Photo-Credit: carigoeskorean.wordpress.com

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