May Day: May 1

May Day is also called International Workers’ Day or Labour Day. The date, May 1, was chosen to commemorate the Haymarket affair. It occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886.

First Labour Day in India

The first Labour Day in India was hosted by the Labour Kisan Party in Madras in 1923. It was initiated from the Labour Union Movement.

Labour Union Movement

The Labour Union Movement began in response to the attacks of industrial capitalism. In Euorpe, the Labour Union Movement began during the industrial revolution.

How did Labour Movement begin in India?

  • In 1920, the Indian National Trade Union Congress was established. With the establishment of the Union, the Labour Union Movement got a major fillip.
  • The first Industries Act was passed in 1881.
  • After Industries Act, Lokhande summoned a summit in Bombay Presidency. The major demands of the summit were to provide weekly holiday, half-an hour of rest every day, accidental compensations to the workers, etc. This is the first time the demands of the labours in British India were agreed by some of the industrialists.
  • After the Partition of Bengal in 1905, strong social reformers emerged in different parts of the country. They were highly agitated when Tilak was arrested in 1908. It was during this period that the working class awakened and got organised in India. In 1905, the workers of printing press organised themselves into a trade union. In 1907, postal workers formed a trade union and in 1910 the Labour Welfare Association was established.

Labour Day in US

  • Some countries such as Canada and US celebrate Labour Day on the first Monday of September.
  • May 1 is celebrated as Law Day in the US.


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