Labour Day in Trinidad And Tobago

Every year on June 19th, Trinidad and Tobago celebrates a holiday called Labour Day. The purpose of this day is to commemorate the 1938 uprising that marked the beginning of the modern trade union movement in the country.

Before that date in the 1930s, workers’ rights were virtually nonexistent. However, thanks to the labor movement, people across the country now enjoy better working conditions. This day is a public holiday in the country, meaning it’s a day off for the general population, and schools, government offices, and businesses are closed.

It’s a day to honor the labor movement, but it’s also a day to continue pushing for much-needed labor reforms.

The History Of Labour Day In Trinidad & Tobago

On June 18, 1937, Butler Oil Field workers began a strike against the company to protest earnings inequality. The police were called in to arrest the leader of the strike, Tubal Uriah Butler, the following day.

This led to riots that resulted in the deaths of 9 workers and 2 policemen. Although Butler initially fled from the authorities, he eventually surrendered to them in September of 1937. He would end up serving two years in prison.

The riots led to a 1939 commission headed by Lord Moyne that sought to investigate the cause of the riots and suggest recommendations to prevent a recurrence. The riots also provided the impetus for the creation of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU).

Facts About Trinidad & Tobago

Below are some facts about Trinidad and Tobago that we feel everyone should know. 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 home to the world’s largest brain coral.
  • The Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve was established on April 13, 1776.
  • The national instrument of this country, the Steel Pan, was invented there in the 20th century.
  • This country is home to over 600 species of tropical butterflies.

Observing Labour Day In Trinidad & Tobago

This holiday is observed with festivals, parades, and other events across the country. There are also protests and events that advocate for improvements in workers’ rights.

People also use the day off to spend time with friends and family. On social media, the hashtag #LabourDay is used to spread the word about this holiday online.

Where is it celebrated?
Trinidad and Tobago (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
June 20 Thursday
Next year (2025)
June 20 Friday
Last year (2023)
June 20 Tuesday