Struggle for International Workers' Day began in 1856 from Australia

Construction workers in Melbourne demanded working hours to be reduced to 8.

Struggle for International Workers' Day began in 1856 from Australia

International Workers' Day, also known as May Day or Labor Day, is being marked in Turkiye and across the world on Sunday.

The struggle for labor rights began when construction workers in Australia demanded a reduction in daily working hours.

On April 21, 1856, stone masons and construction workers in Melbourne left work, and marched from the University of Melbourne to the Parliament House to push for an 8-hour working day.

After Australia, workers in the US also called for fewer working hours. The movement picked pace and on May 1, 1886 thousands of workers staged a nationwide work stoppage, or mass strike, to adopt a standard 8-hour workday.

The Paris congress in 1889 declared May 1 as the day to take the 8-hour-day campaign worldwide, which is now a public holiday across the world.

During Ottoman rule, celebrations were held in 1911 in Thessaloniki by tobacco and cotton workers, while the first celebration in Istanbul was in 1912.

Turkiye's first official May Day celebrations were held in 1923.

According to January 2022 statistics of the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the rate of unionization among workers is 14.32%.

Hüseyin Demir

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