International Workers' Day, is a day that commemorates the struggles of the labour movement in its struggle to achieve basic rights for workers. Celebrated on the 1st of May it is the anniversary of the Chicago Haymarket Massacre, which took place in 1886 when more than a million American workers demonstrated for an eight hour day.
A turning point for South African trade union took place in 1973, when a series of spontaneous strikes in Durban led to a new wave of resistance that resulted in the emergence of our modern workers' movement.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was established in 1982. This was one of the biggest affiliates of the Congress of Trade Unions (Cosatu) when it formed in December 1985, becoming a major ally of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the common struggle to end apartheid.
Today, South Africa's trade union movement forms a significant element of the ANC government's administration, and new legislation secures workers' right to fair labour practices. This legislation includes the Labour Relations Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the Mines Health and Safety Act, and the Employment Equity Act.
As my friend Ridi @ (ridwanlaher.blogspot.com) likes to say ... WE ARE NOT FREE YET!