1 May, 2017, 12:00 am
“Labour was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.” (Adam Smith).
For working people and union members, Labour Day stands for something special and profound.
It’s a day to honour the deep commitment each of us has towards meeting the obligations of the working class.
Realising the need to highlight the challenges faced by the labour class, May 1 was institutionalised as International Workers Day or Labour Day to celebrate and honour the service of the working class.
It is important to emphasise celebrating Labour Day and improving the lives of the working class.
Every nation owes its success to its labourers.
Since the Industrial Revolution, labour has been the driving force of our economic and industrial progress.
Labour fuels industries and spurs economic growth.
Labour helps build roads and run factories, hotels, shops and restaurants.
The sweat and toil of the working class has been the building block of growth.
In Fiji, thriving businesses owe gratitude to the labourers whose sweat and hard work have resulted in huge profits and success.
Hence, it is imperative to value their hard work and pay them a decent wage.
Giving them a little bit of respect and dignity won’t do any harm, but would motivate workers.
This would in turn increase productivity and profits.
Thanks to the labour movements around the world and in our own country, labourers today, despite the many struggles, to some extent, enjoy a host of privileges, and have earned their place in industry through a fair and equitable compensation.
As we celebrate Labour Day, we honour the men and women who fought tirelessly for workers’ rights, which are so critical to our strong and successful labour force.
Today is the time to celebrate workers, the working class and the labour movement and genuine efforts must be put in place to restore lost workers’ rights.
I conclude with this quote: “Without labour nothing prospers.” (Sophocles).
May we all have a blessed and fruitful Labour Day celebration.