Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/16621
The real meaning of May Day
A press release from the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN)
Millions of workers around the world will be marking May Day today (1st May) and over the next few days.
The media and the mainstream politicians will attempt to gloss over the real meaning of this holiday.
But it will be a celebration of the struggle of workers and ordinary poor people through the ages for a decent life.
The NSSN believes that this 2013 International Workers' Day must be more than a memorial.
NSSN national chair Rob Williams said:
"The first May Day in 1886 was the first general strike in the USA, called to fight for an eight hour day.
"The bosses' reprisals saw four of the workers' leaders executed. May Day isn't some quaint holiday but a celebration of the struggle undertaken by working people for the basic necessities, none of which were given willingly by the employers or their governments.
"In that sense, nothing much seems to have changed, with the huge Con-Dem austerity offensive which is attacking the poor, the sick and the unemployed - young and old.
"For those in work, more is being demanded for less. 60% of those being affected by the cuts to welfare are working and there are 1 million workers claiming housing benefit - a figure that's doubled. 40% of the civil servants administering the new Universal Credit will be claiming it! The NSSN will be attending the countless May Day rallies to call on the TUC and the unions to name the date for a 24 hour general strike"
At last week's TUC General Council meeting, lobbied by the NSSN (video-nssn-lobby-of-the-tuc/) it seems that the TUC agreed to organise a meeting of all unions currently engaged in strikes and those planning ballots.
With 250,000 civil servants from the PCS taking action plus some 700,000 teachers about to recommence their dispute plus innumerable other smaller disputes currently taking place, this could be significant.
Also, the government has made its final pay offer to millions of council workers confirming its 1% pay cap - effectively a 2% pay cut in real terms.
The NSSN believes there is a basis for joint strike action on a similar scale to that of 30th November 2011, when up to two million public sector workers went on strike to defend their pensions.