International Workers' Day

International Workers' Day

May 1 is International Workers' Day. On this day, people in many countries around the world celebrate workers' achievements and march in the streets demanding fair pay and better working conditions.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.


Why do we need International Workers' Day? 

International Workers' Day is a celebration of working people and a day when people campaign for decent work and fair pay. Thanks to action taken by workers over many years, millions of people have won fundamental rights and protections. Minimum wages have been established, there are limits on working hours, and people have the right to paid holidays and sick pay. 

However, in recent years, working conditions in many situations have got worse. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, part-time, short-term and badly paid work has become more common, and state pensions are at risk. We have also seen the rise of the 'gig economy', where companies hire workers casually for one short job at a time. These workers don't have the usual rights to paid holidays, the minimum wage or redundancy pay. Solidarity with other workers is as important as ever.

The history of International Workers' Day

In May 1886, 400,000 workers in many parts of the USA went on strike, demanding an eight-hour working day. The strike started peacefully, but on the third day of protests in Chicago there was some violence. The police shot at unarmed workers, killing several of them. The next day there were more protests and someone threw a bomb. Seven police officers and four workers were killed by the bomb or police shooting just after the bomb. The person who threw the bomb was never identified, but eight workers were arrested. Seven of them were sentenced to death, and one of them was sent to prison for 15 years. 

This event, known as The Haymarket Affair, was very important in bringing working people together in the USA. Many people didn't believe the men were guilty, and the trial was criticised for being unfair. The Haymarket Affair became an international symbol of the struggle for workers' rights, and May 1 was chosen to be International Workers' Day. On this day, socialist parties and trade unions called for workers to demonstrate for the eight-hour day and in favour of peaceful protest. The eight-hour working day became law for public workers in 1892 in the USA. Since then, workers' movements all over the world have continued to fight for and win this right.   

How is Workers' Day celebrated now?

Celebrations and protests take place in different ways in different countries around the world. May 1 is a public holiday in countries such as South Africa, Tunisia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and China. In many countries, including France, Greece, Japan, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States, there are demonstrations on International Workers' Day. 

Workers' Day is a day for working people to have a rest from their usual labour. It is an opportunity to campaign for workers' rights, show solidarity with other working people and to celebrate the achievements of workers all over the world.

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Submitted by Youpenw on Mon, 20/05/2024 - 13:20


In my country, we celebrate it too. It doesn't limited to workers, but for all of the people in our country. During time, we have five das off and we can do what we want to such as experiential labor and relaxing.

Submitted by victorpgiraldes on Sat, 06/05/2023 - 18:59


In my country, Brazil, there are many events where many workers protests. It's most common protests workers meeting with their friends to demand better work conditions.

Submitted by mdasantana on Sun, 30/04/2023 - 16:43


Yes, in many cities, socialist parties and trade unions organize shows, events and marches to celebrate the workers' achievement and fight for others workers issues.

Submitted by Minhhanhtran on Mon, 25/04/2022 - 20:12


Every year on May 1, my country celebrates the Working day, Because our Sounthern Liberation Day is on Apr 30, so we combine these 2 days to celebrate. On these 2 days, every house must fly a flag in front of the house and we have 2 public holidays.

Submitted by Thinthinmyoe on Tue, 01/06/2021 - 12:32

Yes, Many demonstrations are celebrated in our country.
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Submitted by danisep on Wed, 13/01/2021 - 21:07

Yes, like in many countries here we celebrate worker's day on May 1st and that day is a holiday too. here the pension system has many problems, people are getting retire every time in more years, wich it's unfair and the basic wage is not in line with the living cost to every citizen and the government only gives excuses that companies cannot pay more which is not true obviously, it is necessary to take actions because is really a joke and nothing happen never.

Submitted by cittàutopica on Sun, 03/01/2021 - 21:12

People celebrates Worker's Day in my country like in other countries of the world. There are celebrations in many towns and cities, but the most important event is the concert in Rome, which get organised by the Trade Unions, with the participation of famous singers and actors.

Submitted by ikhay on Sun, 07/06/2020 - 12:22

Right! In my country, Myanmar, public meetings, organising labour meetings and discussing labour rights and responsibilities were celebrated on 1 May. But, we couldn't do this year like other countries as COVID-19.

Submitted by Muhammad Bagir on Sat, 06/06/2020 - 04:49

in my country, Indonesia, we celebrate the international workers day on May 1st, which most country celebrated too.