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From Brisbane to Townsville and Toowoomba to Barcaldine, nurses and midwives have a long and proud history of participating in Labour Day events in May each year.
For many nurses and midwives Labour Day is a timely reminder of the sacrifices made by working people to improve pay, conditions and hours of work over the decades.
Labour Day is also a celebration of the gains made over that history and of the strength workers have when they act collectively.
What is Labour Day?
The day known as Labour Day in Queensland and the Northern Territory and May Day in other Australian states, is a celebration of workers’ achievements throughout history.
May Day was declared an international working class holiday in Paris in 1889 to commemorate those who lost their lives during 1886 demonstrations for an 8 hour day in Chicago.
The historic strike was the culmination of many years of struggle by working class Americans.
The first May Day march in Australia was held in Barcaldine in 1891 by striking shearers.
Since that time Labour Day in Australia has symbolised workers’ continuing struggle for decent working wages and conditions.
Conditions like the eight hour day, sick leave and annual leave, equal pay for women and the 40 hour week, are all tremendous gains by working Australians which are remembered on Labour Day.
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