To honor the struggles and achievements of workers, May Day is celebrated as International Labor Day. On May 1, 1886, unions in the United States decided to go on strike demanding that workers not be required to work more than 8 hours a day. Just three days after the strike started, an explosion occurred in Haymarket Square, Chicago, killing many people. To pay tribute to those who died in the explosion, the International Socialist Conference declared May Day a day dedicated to workers. Memorial Day was established at a meeting in 1889 and has gradually spread to other parts of the world.
In India, the first Labor Day was celebrated on May 1, 1923 in Chennai. The day was celebrated by the Hindustan Kisan Labor Party. The red flag, symbolizing Labor Day, was used for the first time in India. Exceptional communist leader Malayapuram Singaravelu Chettiar raised the flag and held meetings to celebrate the occasion. Chettiar passed a resolution declaring that the government should announce a national holiday on Labor Day in India and since then the country has continued to celebrate May Day.
Some of the most well-known events of the day include the acts of civil disobedience by the United States against the Vietnam War in 1971. More recently, in 2016, on May 1, various demonstrations and marches were held around the world in places like Istanbul, Moscow and Taipei, where workers have commemorated the holidays or called on governments to reduce working hours and raise wages. In India, May 1 is also celebrated as the day of Maharashtra and the day of Gujarat. On that day, in 1960, they obtained state status after the division of Bombay (now Mumbai) on the basis of linguistic lines.
The immediate danger of destroying their livelihoods warns the International Labor Organization. The drop in working hours in the (second) quarter of 2020 should be significantly worse than previously estimated. Compared to pre-crisis levels (Q4 2019), a deterioration of 10.5% is now expected, i.e. 305 million full-time jobs (assuming a 48-hour work week).
The previous estimate predicts a decrease of 6.7%, which is equivalent to 195 million full-time workers. This is due to the length and length of the blocking measures. At the regional level, the situation has worsened for all major regional groups. Estimates suggest a loss of 12.4% of second-quarter work hours for the Americas (compared to pre-crisis levels) and 11.8% for Europe and Central Asia. Estimates for the rest of the regional groups follow closely and exceed 9.5%.
As a result of the economic crisis created by the pandemic, nearly 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy (representing the most vulnerable in the labor market), out of a global total of 2 billion and a global workforce 3.3 billion, suffered considerable damage to his ability to earn a living. This is due to blocking measures and / or because they work in the most affected sectors.
It is estimated that the first month of the crisis led to a 60% drop in the income of informal workers worldwide. This translates into a drop of 81% in Africa and the Americas, 21.6% in Asia and the Pacific and 70% in Europe and Central Asia. Without alternative sources of income, these workers and their families will have no means of survival.
The proportion of workers living in countries with recommended or mandatory job closings has increased from 81% to 68% in the past two weeks. The decrease from the previous estimate of 81% in the second edition of the monitor (published April 7) is mainly due to changes in China; Elsewhere, measures to close workplaces have increased. Globally, more than 436 million businesses face high risks of serious disruption.
These companies operate in the most affected economic sectors, including 232 million in wholesale and retail trade, 111 million in manufacturing, 51 million in food and accommodation services and 42 million in real estate, retail and other commercial activities. The ILO calls for urgent, targeted and flexible measures to support workers and businesses, particularly smaller enterprises, those in the informal economy and others who are vulnerable.
Economic recovery measures must follow a job-rich approach, backed by stronger employment policies and institutions, more comprehensive and better resourced social protection systems. International coordination of stimulus packages and debt relief measures will also be essential for the recovery to be effective and sustainable. International labor standards, which already enjoy a tripartite consensus, can provide a framework.