May Day – a day to reflect on what workers have won and to focus on the future fight

1 May
Workers, Unite!
by Hannah Blythyn
Today is international workers day or May Day as it is often more commonly known here – a day that will witness rallies and marches around the world. Events that take on special significance across Europe as unions, grass-roots groups and the public gather together to call time on the economic agenda of austerity that is making working people and the most vulnerable pay the highest price.
At home and abroad workers are facing the biggest battles and challenges of a generation – from cuts to the public sector to attacks on employment rights.
Here in the UK, the coalition government is hell-bent on chipping away at health and safety protection, with Cameron declaring that his new year’s resolution was to kill of health and safety culture for good.
But the Prime Minister does not live in the real world nor does he have any experience of a real workplace. The reality is that to kill off health and safety at work would result in more workers being killed whilst just doing their job – even with the protections we currently have around 20,000 people die every year in the UK as a result of their work.
This clampdown on health and safety is part of a wider attack on workers’ rights by the coalition government – from rolling back the right to access unfair dismissal, to right-wing Tory assaults on trade union facility time and introducing charges for taking cases to employment tribunals.
This Conservative led coalition government has even gone as far as to previously suggest that the May Day bank holiday be moved – making their feelings on workers’ rights all too clear.
But it also right that on this day we take time to reflect and commemorate all that has been achieved by the trade unions for working people – the weekend, statutory paid holidays, the national minimum wage, health and safety legislation and much, much more.
We know that there are tough times and great fights ahead but lest us not forget on today of all days that we have won in the past and together we will win for working people in the future.
Are you marking May Day 2012?
If you are taking part in any May Day activity this coming weekend or know of any events near you then let us know and we’ll make sure we give you a mention.

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