Labour Day in Trinidad And Tobago
Every year on June 19th in Trinidad and Tobago is a holiday called Labour Day. The purpose of this day is to commemorate the 1938 uprising that was the start of the modern trade union movement in the country.
Before that date in the 1930s, workers’ rights were all but nonexistent. But thanks to the labor movement, people all across the country now have better working conditions. This day is a public holiday in the country, which means that it’s a day off for the general population and that schools, government offices, and businesses are closed.
It’s a day to honor the labor movement, but it’s also a day to continue to push for much-needed labor reforms.
The History Of Labour Day In Trinidad & Tobago
On the 18th of June in 1937, Butler Oil Field workers started a strike against the company to protest earnings inequality. The police were called in to arrest the leader of the strike, Tubal Uriah Butler on the following day.
This would lead to riots that resulted in 9 workers and 2 policemen being killed. Although Butler originally ran from authorities, he did eventually give himself up to the authorities in September of 1937. He would end up serving two years in prison.
The riots would lead to a 1939 commission headed by Lorn Moyne that tried to investigate the cause of the riots and suggest recommendations for ensuring that it never happens again. Of course, the rights were also the impetus that was needed for the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) to be created.
Facts About Trinidad & Tobago
Below are the following facts about Trinidad and Tobago that we feel everyone should know about. So, let’s take a look at them before moving on to how Labour Day is observed in this country.
- The world’s largest natural deposit of asphalt is located in Trinidad.
- Trinidad and Tobago is also where the world’s largest brain coral is located.
- The Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve was established on April 13th, 1776.
- The national instrument of this country, the Steel Pan, was invented there during the 20th century.
- This country has over 600 species of tropical butterflies.
Observing Labour Day In Trinidad & Tobago
This holiday is observed with festivals, parades, and other events all across the country. There are also protests and other events that push for improvements in workers’ rights.
People also use the day off to spend time with friends and family members. And on social media, the hashtag #LabourDay is used to spread the news about this holiday online.