“What Is A Living Wage?” Symposium On May 2

April 29, 2016

The BTUC is inviting all of Bermuda to attend  a Symposium on Monday, May 2nd at the St. Paul’s Centennial Hall, with the event set to commemorate International Workers Day.

The BTUC said, “International Workers’ Day or May Day, commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world, and is recognized in every country except the United States, Canada, and South Africa, despite the fact that the holiday began in the 1880s in the United States, with the fight for an eight-hour work day.

“This year the Bermuda Trade Union Congress will commemorate International Workers Day on Monday, May 2, 2016 with a symposium discussing the topic “What is a Living Wage?”

“Panelists will include BPSU President, Brother Jason Hayward, Bermuda College lecturer, Craig Simmons, Nathan Kowalski from the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, Martha Dismont from the Family Centre, and Youth Parliament’s Opposition Leader, Destineè Taylor. The Symposium is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. at which time light refreshments will be served.

“Of historical significance is the fact that in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions passed a resolution stating that eight hours would constitute a legal day’s work from and after May 1, 1886. The resolution called for a general strike to achieve the goal, since legislative methods had already failed.

“With workers being forced to work ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day, rank-and-file support for the eight-hour movement grew rapidly, despite the indifference and hostility of many union leaders. By April 1886, 250,000 workers were involved in the May Day movement.

“While Bermuda does not commemorate May Day or International Workers Day, there was an attempt to get the Bermuda Government to recognize the day some years ago.

“In his book “The History of the Bermuda Industrial Union”, author Ira Philip writes “Regarding the Labour Day Holiday, [George] Baisden said not many might remember “how we knocked our heads against the walls, campaigning to bring it about. To back up our demand to observe May 1st along with the rest of the world as Labour Day, for more than ten years, a group of us would set out from St. George’s Parish on May 1st with a musical band and march to [BIU] headquarters in style.”

“Many Bermudians will remember the late “Comrade Richard “Doc” Lynch who always recognized “May Day” or International Workers Day on May 1st by placing an advertisement in the daily newspaper. May 1st is a national holiday in more than 80 countries and celebrated unofficially in many other countries.

““Comrade” Lynch served for many years as the President of the BIU’s Construction Division. Additionally “Comrade” Lynch ran as a Bermuda Progressive Labour Party candidate in Devonshire South for several years, the last time being in the 1993 General Election.

“Trade unions in Bermuda are grateful to the late C. Eugene Cox, JP, MP, who as the Shadow Minister for Home Affairs in March 1982, piloted the amendment to the Public Holidays Act, 1947 which added Labour Day to the list of holidays that were included in the Act at that time. The first Labour Day was celebrated in Bermuda on Monday September 6, 1982.

“The BTUC is inviting all of Bermuda to attend the Symposium on Monday, May 2, 2016 at the St. Paul’s Centennial Hall as they commemorate International Workers Day.”

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