While the Government did not object to the principles of the Bill, the point of contention was the BIU and PLP’s insistence that the holiday be held on May 1st which is the date globally recognised to acknowledge both workers’ contributions and the sacrifice of lives during a peaceful demonstration held at Haymarket in Chicago in 1884.
The UBP, however, strongly opposed recognising Labour Day on May 1st because of its association with the Eastern European countries in the Communist bloc. As a result, the UBP Government amended the Bill to have Labour Day on the first Monday in September, in line with the observance in the United States and Canada, arguing that it would be more beneficial for tourism.
The Opposition PLP ultimately supported this proposal and the Bill was passed in Parliament on March 29, 1982. The first Labour Day was observed Monday, 6 September 1982.
It is important to note that Bermuda’s labour Unions are still fighting for the recognition of May 1st as the official Labour Day.
The Bermuda Trade Union Congress encourages everyone to come out and join in the Labour Day March and Rally at Union Square on Monday, September 3rd, starting at 11am as we ‘Progress to a Fairer Bermuda’.
We are asking all to wear red which is the official colour of labour.
Labour Day is not just for unionised workers, it is for ALL WORKERS!