International Worker’s Day

International Worker’s Day

International Worker’s Day: Why you should celebrate.

International Worker’s Day, or also known as May Day, or Labor Day in some countries, is the day to honour the contribution of working-class men and women across the globe. Annually, on 1 May, people around the world take to the streets to commemorate human and worker rights.

South Africa observes International Worker’s Day as a public holiday, as it originated within the historical struggles of workers and trade unions for solidarity between working people, and in their efforts to achieve fair employment standards. This holiday is marked in over 80 countries and therefore, celebrates the achievements of the labour movement.

The origin of International Worker’s Day

The struggle for a shorter workday dates back to October 1884, when the Federation of Organised Trades and Labor Unions US resolved that a working day should constitute only eight hours. For centuries men, women, and children were forced to work more than twelve hours a day, including weekends, in miserable conditions for very little pay.

The struggle for an eight-hour workday has its origins in the Industrial Revolution where industrial production in large factories transformed working life. In 1985, the movement of celebrating May Day gained attraction, and in 1916, a small group honoured the employees killed during a strike two years before. The movement obtained momentum in 1928, and in 1950, the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) called for a strike to protest against the suppression of the Communism Act.

The South African labour federation Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), formed in 1985, demanded that May Day be recognised as a public holiday and renamed to Workers Day. The call for stay away was heeded by about 1.5 million workers, students, business owners and unemployed citizens.  Rallies were held across the country, mainly in Gauteng, and Premier Foods became the first large employer to declare 1 May and 16 June as paid holidays. Shortly after that, many other companies followed suit.

How to celebrate International Worker’s Day in 2020

We all love spending time on our hobbies, but in order to have money to do that, we also have to work. Whether you genuinely like your job or not, it’s important to remember that each and every job is necessary and valuable to society, from garbage disposal staff to teachers, to police officers. We’re building a community, making it a better place with each passing year. Now, isn’t that something to celebrate?

First of all, we should celebrate and be genuinely thankful for the essential workers during Covid-19. These people are risking everything to keep our families safe and to provide essentials like food and medication when we need it. They are risking their health and the health of their families to provide and support the rest of South Africa without being selfish. Honour our nurses, doctors, ambulance crews, scientists, health care workers, security guards, police officers, soldiers, journalists, shop workers, truck drivers, and grocery store workers for their patriotism…even if it’s just with a simple ‘thank you’.

We personally would like to thank our Tourism Ambassadors and our Sandton Central Cleaners working during the lockdown, ensuring the safety of our people. Thank you for your willingness and your dedication; it doesn’t go without appreciation.

For yourself, take the day and do something different for a change. Pack lunch and enjoy the day embracing the beauty nature has to offer in the backyard of your garden with your family. Think about the friends you don’t get to see very often, and always promise to spend more time with…now is the time! Download the Houseparty app, or any other social app, and invite them to a glass-of-wine, and sharing your favourite recipe – the ingredients you use, the method you follow, and how you serve it. You can also use the built-in games to host a virtual game night.

Treat yourself to a luxurious evening, with a bubble bath, some wine and your favourite music genre playing in the background. Add some of your own personality to it and make homemade bath salts, or scented candles to help set the mood.  If you’re more digitally inclined, put on your comfy pants and binge-watch that specific Netflix series you’ve been longing to watch for some time now. You can invite friends and family to watch with you using the Netflix Party app, as well.

Whatever you choose to do, spend the weekend treating yourself and making other people aware of their importance as individuals and within their professions. Not just this weekend, but also from Monday onwards.