We celebrate International labour day or Workers day to show gratitude towards our workers worldwide. Let us take this moment to look back at its history, how it all began and find out why this day became an iconic day.
During the industrial revolution, the exploitation of workers was very common. Labourers in the United States were working in factories up to 16 hours a day without any benefits. However, workers started voicing their distrust towards this malpractice. As a response, the labourers started forming a union. Through the union, they demanded better pay, reasonable hours and paid leaves. One of the first biggest rallies was seen in Chicago, USA. The union organised a peaceful rally asking for their demands to be met. This got the attention of workers around the world.
International Labour Day 2020 – A Status Update
Fast forward nearly 140 years and labourers are still getting exploited. Many minimum wage policies and average labour salary have barely increased. However, CEO and owner salaries have not stopped increasing. The richest top 1% own half of the world’s wealth. Moreover, 2 billion people are still working in the informal sector, which is 60% of the world workforce. This means, these people do not have access to any form of social protection but are adding tremendous value to a country’s growth and economy.
On top of this, additional problems have arisen. There has been a rise in gender inequality in the global workforce. As per the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report, for every 5 workers, 3 are men. This gender gap has not improved since 2003. This report has also revealed that many of the workers today do not have the necessary economic securities and opportunities for development. This is why SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic growth remain elusive.
The recent COVID-19 crisis has revealed one thing, without labourers our society will not be able to function. Which is why, this International Labour Day 2020, we need to celebrate our workforce all over the world. People who are working incredibly hard, so that we can have a functioning society. However, if we want to achieve SDG 8 by 2030, we still have a long way to go. Sustainable development and economic growth should bring equal rights and opportunities for all, not just the rich.
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