We all love public holidays, what ever the occasion may be. And lucky us there is one just around the corner – 6th March 2017 is Labour Day!
But have you ever stopped to wonder what is Labour Day?
These days we may think that the 8 hour working day is too long. We always look forward to the weekend. Little do we realize that today’s 8 hour working day was brought about by much struggle.
In the early 1800s, the normal working day was long and arduous with some working 12 hours a day, six days a week! Many Australians saw the need for better and fairer working conditions. On April 21, 1856, stonemasons at the University of Melbourne marched to Parliament House to push for an eight-hour working day. An agreement with employers for a 48-hour week was eventually reached and Australian workers welcomed the new eight-hour day. A victory march was held on May 12 that year and each year after that. In 1879 the Victorian Government made one further step towards better conditions for employees by proclaiming a paid public holiday that year.
Now we can enjoy this public holiday visiting the coastal region, fishing and camping, having a BBQ, spending time with friends and family.
So as we enjoy the upcoming public holiday on 6th March here in Western Australia, let us also commemorate the granting of 8 hour working day for Australians and recognize worker’s contributions towards this nation’s economy.
And who knows, perhaps in the not so distant future, there will be a push for 4 day working week as we adapt to this fast paced, technology driven world.