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Labor Day in Pakistan—History and its Importance

Overview of Labor Day in Pakistan

What is Labor Day?

In more than 80 countries, every year of 1st May is recognized as Labor Day. It is an internationally celebrated event and in some countries, it is celebrated on the first Monday of September. Labor Day is a day honored to pay tribute to the achievements and contributions of American workers.

Labor Day is also known as worker’s day. In Pakistan, there is held a public holiday all over the country. It is a day in which the general population, schools, colleges, and universities remain off. All Pakistani nation stands with the labor and struggles to promote their value in the eye of the government.

Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?

Labo day is celebrated and observed in Pakistan in order to appreciate and give tribute to the sacrifices and struggles of the laborers and workers. As it is celebrated in may in more than 80 countries, it is also known as May Day. On Labor Day–the international workers’ day public celebrates a holiday but this holiday is not a national holiday.

All over Pakistan, this day is celebrated for labor rights. On that day the people of the country also raise their voices for the laborer’s rights in which they demand to increase in their salary and be paid the amount actually they deserve for their work. They also want to do just 8-hour work in a day because they like to spend time with their families, friends, relatives, etc. On that day the labor also raises their voice for justice and equality.
On that day the laborers and general public come out of their homes in rallies, do marches, etc. The purpose is to gain the attention of the government. So the government has to take steps to solve their problem and implement some welfare rules for the authorized people to act upon it.

History of Labor Day

Labor Day raise its foundation from the labor union movement when the workers unite and the Knights of Labor promoted “Labor Day,” which was celebrated in New York City for the first time on September 5, 1882. This was an eight-hour day movement, which supported an eight-hour workday, eight-hour evening rest period, and eight-hour early morning sleep.

At that time, labor’s working time was not fixed. They had to do 16 to 18 hours of duty and also there was no off in a week or in a month due to which the laborers got sick day by day in a huge amount because they didn’t get rest as they want. Moreover, they were unable to spend time with their family.
There was also an income issue. The salary was too less due to which they suffered from financial crises and their families were stuck with different problems. they were not able to fulfill the family’s needs. Also, their workplace was too much dangerous and there was a big risk of losing their lives.

Due to facing all these difficulties, people started to make labor unions and did protests. But companies denied giving them rights. In order to get their postulates, the labor day celebration trend got power. During the Haymarket affair on May 4, 1886, the socialist and communist parties chose May Day as a day of commemoration. This event occurred in Chicago when almost 3000 laborers gathered for the protest.

In Pakistan, the first labor policy was celebrated in 1972  in which the date of 1st May was confirmed as a public holiday to celebrate labor day in Pakistan. This policy expressed the following points:

  • formation of the Social Security System
  • Old Age Advantage Organizations
  • Labors Welfare Fund


When and where labor is celebrated?

Labor Day, May day or international workers’ day is celebrated around the world and different countries celebrate this day in different time of the year as in the United States and Canada, this day is celebrated on the first Monday of September whereas in New Zealand it is celebrated on the fourth Monday in October and the countries that celebrate Labor day in the month of May are:

  • Pakistan
  • Australia
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom

Why is 1st May celebrated as Labor Day?

When the Industrial revolution Progressed and stated growth and advancement, laborers start demanding for Labor and trade union to reduce their working hours from ten hours to eight hours. On the behalf of the eight-hour movement in the 1850s. the American Federation of Labor called the labor to go on strike on May 1 for the demand of eight-hour work.

In Chicago, there was a bomb blast in the crowd that killed about 40 civilians, and 50-60 police officers. many of the labor leaders were sentenced to death by hanging. As a result, employers regained sovereignty and ten-hour of working again became the norm.

But in 1889, May 1 was designated as labor day and International Workers’ Day by the European federation of socialist parties and trade unions. From this day,1st May has become a symbol for laborers’ rights in the whole world.

Labors income?

In Pakistan, labor income ranges between 12000 to 20000. How they can manage all activities in that amount. In a low-income family, there is just one person to do the job and 5 family members are at home. This one person has to fulfill all the needs, wishes, and requirements of the family members. Due to less amount of income they are not able to give the best education and future to their children. So like that many children are not able to get an education and their precious time is spent in the work of hotel mechanic shops etc.

How is labor day celebrated in Pakistan?

As labor day is a public holiday in Pakistan, it is marked by marches, rallies, processions, street demonstrations, and labor union sessions.

Seminars are organized throughout Pakistan by the Labor unions. In parades, seminars, and rallies, labor union leaders deliver speeches in which they give gratitude to the hard-working labor nation and they motivate them and praise them with their stimulating and inspiring words. they also emphasize the history of Labor day and its need and importance.

In Pakistan, the current scenario is much better than the previous situations and laborers have somewhat more rights and facilities than before. But still then Pakistani laborers living in a developing country don’t enjoy the facilities and rights as are given to the laborers who live in industrialized and developed countries. So on 1st May, the labor family through processions, rallies, and protesting demand for increased wages, benefits, and more rights.

Our Responsibility Regard to Celebrate Labor Day

The purpose of labor day is to give tribute to the efforts of laborers. Thus it is our responsibility to take care of them sincerely. It is observed that on labor day, the holiday is celebrated in the upper and middle sectors and the actual victims are busy doing their work.

Labor day means also give holiday to all laborers and despite not doing work on that day, pay them fully. So they can realize how much important they are and we really concern about their problems and take care of them.

Anesa Yasmeen

Aneesa Yasmeen; a Senior analyst on Current affairs who always focuses on exploring better-researched outcomes by deep analyst strategies. She is a passionate author and enjoys writing about the latest events happening in Pakistan.

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