As you scuff around at home over this long weekend, fretting about whether your business really can afford three whole days off, a quick reminder about why those lazy so-an-sos who call themselves your employees are able, legitimately, to disappear until Tuesday. Since 1891, most of the industrialised world has taken May 1 as a day to recognise those who labour. Rallies, picnics and parties have long been held among the world’s workers as a way to, ahem, celebrate their diligence and service. Funnily enough, in the US, which caused the original Labour Day, May 1 is generally not taken as a holiday. The origins of the day go back to a strike called by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada. This was one of the first days at which black and white workers stood shoulder-to-shoulder in protest in Chicago. Some 65,000 workers marched the streets. Unfortunately, in the days following, protest escalated into violence, and seven peope died when a bomb exploded in the ranks of guarding police officers. Samuel Fielden (pictured) and Michael Schwab were given life sentences for their involvement in the bombing, but they subsequently had their life sentences revoked. More and more countries have since adopted May 1 as a day to recognise its labour. Ironic, then, that in Britain today we’re mulling on local election results that may spell the demise of our own Labour party government… Enjoy the weekend.
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