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International Labor Day 2021

International Labor Day 2021

International Labor Day 2021 or May Day falls today. Dedicated to workers and laborers around the world, this day is also known as International Day of Workers or International Labor Day. May Day celebrates workers and encourages them to be aware of their rights. May 1, International Labor Day, is a public holiday in many countries. Demonstrations, rallies, and festivities are organized in every country of the world to commemorate the day. However, due to the spread of the Covid 19 epidemic, the major political parties in the country have taken steps to cancel the World Labor Day celebrations and rallies this year.

The history of May Day goes back as far as 1888. On May 1 of that year, 65,000 American workers arrived in Chicago to demand to limit their working shift to eight-hour. The situation heated up as the Chicago factory owners decided to close their factory, rejecting this demand of the working people. As a result, thousands of people began to flock to the Chicago Hemaquat Square. The crowd rallied against injustice and called on the authorities to point out and punish the murderers. On the third day of the strike, four workers were killed in an attack by armed police. Police and workers clashed that day, and a police officer was killed in a bomb blast. It escalated into a confrontation, killing six police officers.

Labor leaders Augustus Spice, Albert Pardens, Adolf Fischer, George Engels, Samuel Fielden, Luis Lang, Michael Stwatch, and Oscar Niebe were arrested by police and later charged. Oscar Niebe was prescribed to 15 years in prison, while Samuel Fielden and Michael Steward were prescribed to lifetime in prison. This ploy of the bourgeoisie, which owns the Chicago super factories, was approved by the police at the time, but not by any ethnic group in the world. As a result, an international workers’ struggle spread throughout the world. In 1889, the International Labor Organization (ILO) decided to hold a celebration in Paris under the patronage of Engels of Pedro, to commemorate its colleagues who had struggled for eight hours of service.

Accordingly, May 1st of every year was declared as the International Labor Day and the first Labor Day in Sri Lanka was celebrated in 1927. The first May Day rally in the history of Ceylon began in 1933 at Price Grounds in Colombo and ended at Galle Face Green. History of May Day in Sri Lanka May Day 1926 began under the patronage of Labor leader A.E. Gunasinghe. On May Day, a May Day procession was held and sports equipment was given as gifts to the working people. Also, for the first time, May Day became a national holiday under the Bandaranaike government. At that time the Minister of Labor was T.B. Ilangaratne. Subsequently, in 1956, May Day was declared a public holiday in the country.

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