Celebrating International Workers Day (May Day) and TIASA Day  

1st May 2018

The 1st of May (May Day) is acknowledged globally as International Workers Day and is commemorated in many different ways.

May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and is unofficially celebrated in many more.

It is widely recognised that May Day had its origins in the mid to late 1800’s as working people struggled to gain an 8-hour working day and safer working conditions. It was quite common for people to work 16 hour days and, death and injury were commonplace at many work places.

On 1st May 1886, more than 300,000 workers walked off their jobs to celebrate May Day and to demand an 8 hour working day.

The struggle continues

For many, globally, the struggle for safety at work continues in 2018.

Here in New Zealand, thousands of people are injured and dozens killed every year. Kiwi workers are killed at a higher rate than those in Australia or the UK. Worksafe are currently running Home Time TV and internet advertisements built around the vision that everyone who goes to work, comes home healthy and safe. It has taken the Pike River tragedy; Royal Commission recommendations; countless Forestry and Building industry work deaths; and many years of campaigning by NZ’s Union movement for the Government to formally recognise there is a problem.

It is appropriate on this day to note and applaud the tremendous work done by the late Helen Kelly (former Council of Trade Unions (CTU) President) on her fight for justice for those who had lost their lives at work and, to fight for all workers regardless of the industry or size of the work place.

Celebrating TIASA’s achievements

1st May is also a day to celebrate our achievements and for TIASA, they are many. The strength and unity of TIASA members ensure that the conditions of employment that have been fought for over our 48 year history remain and are built on. Some of these, for example Easter Tuesday and the days between Christmas and New Year, are often taken for granted or, workers assume that they have been gifted by their employer. The strength and unity of TIASA is all that prevents these hard won gains from being temporary in nature. “Easter Tuesday” has been targeted for removal (without success to date) by many tertiary sector employers during bargaining in recent years. Our collective agreement settlements are the best in the tertiary sector and are testament to the fact that a single, “specialist voice” for Allied Staff, is essential, and pays.

Celebrate International Workers Day and TIASA Day and remember “We are big enough to matter and small enough to care”. We are TIASA, the Specialist Voice for Allied Staff.