May Day

May Day in North KoreaFor one day a year New Zealand celebrates working people, our unions, and the achievements we have campaigned for (such as ‘the weekend’, the right to be paid enough to live on and the right to be safe from injury and disease at work). We do this on Labour Day in October. You can tell Labour Day apart from other public holidays by the lack of interest large multinational companies have in decorating their shop fronts and trying to sell you things in the six weeks leading up to your day off.

The rest of the world celebrates these important achievements on May Day (today). Unlike New Zealand, where most of us choose to spend our day that recognises the importance of workers by not working, other countries often spend May Day campaigning, organising and protesting to protect and extend their rights as workers. See for instance some of the May Day events in Botswana, Barbados, Hungary and Korea.

So let’s do our bit for May Day by supporting some of those workers in other countries who would appreciate some of the working conditions that New  Zealand workers and union members have campaigned for throughout our history.

You can help workers in Zimbabwe where the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says it was forced to cancel May Day celebrations in four provinces after militant supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party allegedly threatened to murder union officials if the celebrations went ahead. Send a message to the Zimbabwe government calling for it to treat Zimbabwean union members democratically and fairly.

(Thanks to Pricey for the photo)


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