Labour Day (Vic)

Labour Day Quick Facts

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2021 Date8 March 2021
2022 Date14 March 2022
Labour Day (Vic)

Labour Day History

Labour Day in Victoria celebrates the achievements of workers and their struggle for an 8-hour work day. On April 21, 1856, workers marched through the streets of Melbourne demanding an 8-hour working day. Their protest was ultimately successful and earned the Australians a reduced work day and more humane working conditions. The day serves to remember all of those who endured harsh working conditions and the battle to secure better working conditions.

Labour Day is an annual holiday in Victoria and is celebrated on the second Monday in March. Elsewhere in the country, it is referred to as Eight Hours Day or as Labour Day but celebrated on differing dates.

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Labour Day Facts & Quotes

  • A victory march was held on 12 May 1856 to celebrate the new work week and workers' rights.
  • The original work week was reduced to 48 hours (6 days a week at 8 hours a day). The five-day week was only adopted in 1948.
  • The march that took place on 21 April 1856, saw stonemasons marching from the University of Melbourne to the Parliament House.
  • Choose a job that you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life - Confucius
  • All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today. - Pope Paul VI

Labour Day Top Events and Things to Do

  • Enjoy the long weekend during the height of the Australian summer. Get out and take advantage of the weather by having a BBQ or park day.
  • Learn more about the fundamental rights of workers in Australia. The Australian Government provides a comprehensive list of your rights and obligations in the workplace. Read up and know your rights.
  • Watch a documentary about the lack of workers' rights in other countries. Some of our favourites: Santa's Workshop, Rednecks and Culchies and Apple's Broken Promises.
  • Attend the Inverlock Jazz Festival held over the Labour Day weekend in Victoria. The festival boasts over 100 hours of jazz music to enjoy your long weekend.
  • Read a popular book to help shape your perspective of workers' rights. Our favourites include: Gender, Labor and Power in the Global Apparel Industry, Fugitive Denim, Making Sweatshops and The Power to Choose.

Labour Day References and Related Sites

Wendy Lewis; Simon Balderstone; John Bowman (2006). Events that Shaped Australia. New Holland Publishers. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-74110-492-9. Retrieved 7 March 2016. Events That Shaped Australia Eight Hours Day Labour day

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