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Labour Day march for ‘Fairer Bermuda’

Bermuda Trade Union Congress president Jason Hayward

“Progress to a Fairer Bermuda” is the theme of this year’s Labour Day march and rally.

President of the Bermuda Trade Union Congress Jason Hayward encouraged the community to join the march at Union Square on Monday, September 3, from 11am.

Mr Hayward said: “This year’s theme provides workers with the opportunity to conduct a critical assessment of the work which still needs to be done to ensure a more equitable Bermuda for all citizens. Every worker should enjoy dignified working conditions and fair wages that enable them to enjoy a reasonable standard of living.”

As per tradition, participants are encouraged to wear red representing labour.

In 1981, the Bermuda Industrial Union led a strike to fight for better wages for private and public-sector workers and was the catalyst for Bermuda’s official recognition of Labour Day. The first Labour Day holiday was held on Monday, September 6, 1982, and this year marks its 37th observance.

Then Shadow Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, L. Frederick Wade, stated in his inaugural Labour Day address: “As with every achievement of the workers and their organisation, this holiday was won only after a long struggle and even then the true wishes of the workers are never given to them in the manner in which the workers demand.”

Mr Hayward said Mr Wade’s words, spoken on the eve of the PLP’s 20th anniversary, are still relevant today.

“It is important to note that Bermuda’s labour unions are still fighting for the recognition of May 1, the date globally recognised as International Workers’ Day,” he said.

Mr Hayward also spoke of the need to explore independence for Bermuda while addressing inequality.

“Additionally, Bermuda, as a country, still has not earnestly discussed the subject of independence. “However, more importantly, there are major concerns that we must tackle today. Our societal inequalities are growing and the world of work is rapidly changing.

“The labour movement must continue its efforts to progress to a fairer Bermuda, ensuring that access to opportunities for economic prosperity are created, and finding solutions to the high costs of healthcare and housing in Bermuda.

“We encourage you to join us in solidarity as we celebrate Labour Day.”