International Labour Day being observed today
RISE OF LABOUR MOVEMENTS
Labour Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers. It has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
The day was first proposed in the late 19th century by trade unionists as the labour movement gained significance. In 1894, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve legislation to make Labor Day a national holiday which was signed by President Grover Cleveland.
It is celebrated in more than 80 countries around the world. However, many countries such as the United States and Canada celebrate the day on the first Monday of September.
LABOUR RIGHTS AT UNITED NATIONS
The United Nations through its agency the International Labour Organization (ILO) deals with labour issues and international labour standards, social protection and work opportunities for all. It received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969 for improving peace among classes, pursuing decent work and justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to other developing nations.
The ILO organizes the International Labour Conference in Geneva every year in June, where conventions and recommendations are crafted and adopted. If these conventions are ratified by governments, they become in force and there is a legal obligation for ratifying nations to apply its provisions.
In 1998, the International Labour Conference adopted the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. This declaration contains four fundamental policies: (1) The right of workers to associate freely and bargain collectively, (2)The end of forced and compulsory labour, (3) The end of child labour, and (4) The end of unfair discrimination among workers. The ILO asserts that its members have an obligation to work towards fully respecting these principles.
LABOUR DAY IN PAKISTAN
In Pakistan Labour Day also known as May Day was declared a national holiday in 1972 when the first labour policy was devised. Pakistan has been member of the ILO since independence in 1947. Pakistan has ratified 36 ILO conventions of which eight are core conventions.
The day is marked by rallies and processions, labour union sessions and seminars, and organized street demonstrations where union leaders and civil society activists deliver speeches about the history and significance of the day and labour rights and express solidarity with workers from around the world.