Return of Labour Day to May is a victory for Queensland workers
The Queensland Government’s decision to return the Labour Day public holiday to its rightful place in May is a victory for all Queensland workers, tarnished only by its delayed return in 2016.
The former LNP government’s decision to move the Labour Day public holiday was an ideologically-driven attack on unions and workers’ traditional celebration date, which had been in place since 1891.
Our union branch secretary Terry Burke said while Queensland unionists and workers had continued to celebrate Labour Day in May despite the LNP’s callous attack, the return of the public holiday to May honours its special historical significance.
“In May 2013 the then government moved the Labour Day holiday to October, despite the wider community’s preference for the misnamed Queen’s Birthday public holiday to be moved instead," he said.
“It is disappointing that this decision will continue to remain in effect for even one more year, despite a change of government and the wishes of the majority of Queenslanders.
“The initial linking in Queensland of Labour Day with May Day occurred in the outback Queensland town of Barcaldine on 1 May 1891 when striking bush workers marched through the streets.
“It has always been the day for Queensland workers to celebrate past union successes, including the establishment of the eight hour day, workplace health and safety provisions, the establishment of the living wage and the basic commitment to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
“All workers will look forward to rightfully celebrating Labour Day on 2 May 2016, which also coincides with the 125th anniversary of the 1891 Shearer’s Strike and the first Labour Day held in May in Queensland.”