This year, May Day is different in a number of ways.
The world of work as we know it has changed rapidly since the arrival of covid-19. Many have lost their jobs, others are working from home while balancing family life and other commitments and essential workers across sectors ranging from healthcare to retail and many more are keeping our society functioning.
On this day, we celebrate and commend every worker. Shop workers who keep the shelves filled with food, public transport drivers who keep the wheels turning, cleaners who ensure we can live safely and well – these are just a few examples of the people who we could not live our lives without and we thank them for it.
Yet while we celebrate workers we must also stand up for their struggles and their rights.
A substantial number of people have lost their jobs since the lockdown began and although the government has taken some measures to alleviate the situation, it is unknown how long they will maintain adequate support for workers.
The crisis has also brought essential workers under the spotlight, many of whom are on low wages and not too long ago some were on strike seeking better, fairer working conditions.
A significant number of our essential workers are also women who not only have their jobs but also have family and childcare responsibilities – they are not just heroes who deserve tokenistic gestures and clapping, they are valuable workers who deserve good salaries and better working conditions in the long term.
On this May Day, Labour Youth calls for:
• A living wage of €12.30 per hour for all workers.
• A right to trade union recognition.
• Childcare support for essential workers.
• Comprehensive and long-term unemployment support.
• Fair taxation that targets wealth and assets.
Labour Youth is calling for a fairer society where everyone’s contribution is fully recognised and rewarded, to set up the basis for true social and gender equality.