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May Day or International Workers’ Day is observed on May 1st all over the world. On this day, people remember the ancient struggle and sacrifices of the working people to establish an eight-hour workday. It is a state holiday in nearly all the nations of the world.

The Industrial Revolution took place in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe and the US. At that time, the workers in mills and factories had worked a long shift. This shift was fourteen or even more hours a day. On May 1st in 1886, half of the workers at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company in Chicago went on strike. They demanded an eight-hour workday. The leaders of trade unions inspired them very much. After two days, a workers’ rally was held near the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. Approximately 6000 workers joined that rally. The labour leaders led the rally from the front. They requested the workers to stand collectively to go on with their struggle. They suggested the workers not give in to their bosses. At one point in the rally, some strikebreakers started leaving the meeting place. Some of the workers who were striking went down the road to take them back. Suddenly about 200 policemen charged them with clubs and revolvers. One striker was dead immediately, five or six others were seriously wounded, many others were injured.

People remember every year those heroic strikers because some of them have given their valuable life to establish their rights. But still, the workers are not treated very well. Yes, in this modern era, their working hours have been shortened. But the maximum of their rights is still neglected. Their working condition, payment, and living style are at the very least. So, workers are still standing up together and speaking out for better work conditions, better pay, and better lives.


18th and 19th centuries Labour law before the incident of May 1st

  • In 1784, a severe outbreak of fever drew noticing attention for apprentices of health. The Health and Morals Act was passed after 18 years of that outbreak.
  • The beginning of the 19th century was the golden years of industrialization and manufacturing. Child labour was increased at a high level at that time. In 1819 the Factory Act was passed.
  • In 1833, The Act was changed, and the age of children for labour was below 18 years of age.
  • In 1844, The Textile Factory Act was passed. It increased the power of surgeons so that they could examine the physical fitness of all workers.

Labour law after the incident of May 1st

  • In 1886, the newly formed American Federation of Labour approved an 8-hour workday for the labourers.
  • In 1913, Samuel Gompers brought up the problem of low wages before the whole world. Massachusetts passed a wage law in 1913. The women got minimum wage by that law.
  • From 1917 to 1918, National War Labour decided on an 8-hour workday with 50 cent minimum wages.
  • In 1930, William Green was selected as the president of AFL. He realized everyone shortens work means reducing unemployment.

Labour law priorities in 21st century

  • The productivity of labour is increased at a high margin in this modern era.
  • Workers are now getting high responses and recruitments than in the past.
  • Labours are getting overtime if they want to work more. So, their earning is also increasing.
  • Some workers are getting the old aged pension in this 21st century.

May Day is one of the most notable historical incidents in the world. The main reason following this day is equal rights, which is unfair behaviour towards the labour class. There were many movements opposite of this in different parts of the world. Hence, a special day is devoted to the labour class to understand their offering to society.


About Mohammed Rubayet

Mohammed Rubayet is a content writer who specializes in guest blogging, article writing. His greatest dream is to make readers pause, smile, and be happy.