30/04/2019 - May 1 is your day - celebrate it!

mayday2019webMay Day falls on Wednesday, May 1 and is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival.

In the UK, traditional May Day celebrations include dances around a maypole, crowning a May Queen and often Morris dancing.

May 1 is not a national holiday in the UK, with May bank holiday instead falling on the first Monday of the month.

International Workers’ Day also falls on May 1 - with the date chosen to commemorate the Haymarket affair of 1886.

The Haymarket affair began as a peaceful rally, held on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago, in support of workers striking in a push for an eight hour day.

But the demonstration ended in tragedy, with a bombing which killed seven police officers and four workers.

Eight people died after the incident which was provoked by an unknown person throwing a bomb at the police. Hundreds of labour leaders and sympathizers were later rounded-up and four were executed by hanging, after an improper trial. This history reminds us that Unions have always had to fight for the rights of workers against vested interests inclined to use the law against them.

In most countries, however, unions have gradually won a larger role and became more accepted in society. Though anti-union sentiment is still strong among some employers,even in the UK. Many still seek to deny recognition to unions and discriminate against them.

Despite all opposition, discrimination and, at times, persecution Trade Unions have won benefits for their members and wider society. Unions continue to fight for safe working conditions, cut long working hours and encourage equality and rights at work.

As well as commemorating those who died, International Workers’ Day celebrates labourers and the working classes.

Solidarity union marks and celebrates International Workers' Day as a day when ordinary British workers remember their achievements and consider those in other nations fighting for their rights.

Patrick Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity union said: "On May 1 I want you to take the time to applaud yourself on being a worker who is helping to build our fine Nation. Make no mistake, it is the labor of workers that builds and improves. Our nation is advanced and that's been built on the skill and energy of all our workers. You are a proud Union member who is honest and hard working, knows their value and upholds their dignity and those of other workers. May 1 is your day - enjoy it!"

Not in a union? You can join Solidarity union here: