May Day

May Day on May 1 is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday; it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the celebrations that the day includes – Wikipedia

It is not celebrated much in New Zealand, barely at all as far as I’m aware. Of course instead of Spring springing we have Autumn fairly well set in, most of the deciduous leaves have turned colour and fallen, and we don’t celebrate harvests either which are mostly finished already.

In the late 19th Century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers’ Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago. In those countries that celebrate International Workers’ Day, the day may also be referred to as “May Day” but it is a different celebration from the traditional May Day.

There may be a bit of minor recognition of International Workers’ Day in New Zealand but we have our own Labour Day in late October and even that isn’t recognised by most people by anything other than a long weekend.

Oddly Winston Peters spoke at an ‘International Workers’ Memorial Day Service’ on Wednesday:

Speech by New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland, Rt Hon Winston Peters

International Workers’ Memorial Day Service
Maritime Transport Union
Lower Hutt
11.45am, 28th April, 2015

Workers’ safety paramount

Thank you for inviting me to speak today on the occasion of International Workers’ Memorial Day.

Today is a day to remember all those workers who have paid with the lives, and those who have been hurt on the job.

http://livenews.co.nz/2015/04/28/international-workers-memorial-day-service/#sthash.m0W72X7K.dpuf

The Unite Union is marking today with a picket protest

McDonald’s workers need support on May Day

Unite Union is calling on all New Zealanders to give support to McDonald’s workers this Friday, May 1st by tooting their support when they see pickets outside stores and not buying a burger on that day.

Help the McDonald’s workers stand up to bullying and intimidation on May Day – international workers day.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1504/S00279/mcdonalds-workers-need-support-on-may-day.htm

And news this morning says this won’t go ahead, there’s an agreement been reached with McDonalds.

McDonald’s ends zero hour contracts

McDonald’s and the Unite Union have come to an agreement over zero hours contracts – they’re gone.

Union director Mike Treen says it means that now all the major fast food chains have committed to ending zero hours.

That’s where staff must be on standby for work with no guarantee of being called in.

He describes the deal as historic.

Planned strikes are now off – in some cases gatherings are likely to turn into victory celebrations.

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/mcdonalds-ends-zero-hour-contracts/

Meanwhile for most New Zealanders it will be a fairly normal Friday.

Leave a comment

5 Comments

  1. Brown

     /  1st May 2015

    Real workers celebrating communism? Only at the point of a gun.

    Reply
    • Way left of centre

       /  1st May 2015

      Real workers enduring exploitation? Only at the point of a gun.

      Reply
  2. Missy

     /  1st May 2015

    It is Labour Day here in China, and as someone said to me, it is supposed to be a day for the workers, but is really just a day off. A bit like Labour Day at home. I am expecting it to be crowded when I head out sightseeing, but I don’t think there will be much in the way of celebrations as such, though there were a few fireworks last night.

    Reply
  3. Mike C

     /  1st May 2015

    @PeteGeorge. What do you know about Jordan Williams ??? All I know, is that he’s the self-appointed leader of “The New Zealand Tax-Payers Union”, and that he is great buddies with Cameron Slater, and that Jordan had more than one meeting with DotCom at the mansion about a year or two ago, when Williams was a Solicitor employed by DotComs then Lawyer Firm.

    Reply
  4. Missy

     /  1st May 2015

    So my first labour day in China, and the only difference to home is the numbers in which the locals hit the shops! It was very crowded, but like everywhere it seems even here that a day off means most people like to shop.

    Reply

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