Celebrating migrant workers on this International Workers Day
On May 4th, 1886, a labour demonstration at Haymarket Square in Chicago in support of an eight-hour work day turned violent, resulting in the deaths of at least 11 people – and is now remembered around the world as International Workers Day, Workers’ Day or Labour Day. Those alive at the time could not have foreseen the impact this event would have on the future of the working world. Some parallels exist with the Covid-19 world of today where the pandemic has pushed us into being a working from home workforce.
Today, workers around the world find themselves at a new crossroads – one which has the potential to change how we think about working forever.
Many people are adapting to this new reality, many have taken pay cuts or reduced hours, and sadly, many have already lost their jobs. Worse still, some of those most impacted by the current economic climate are those that are already the most vulnerable in our society: migrant workers.
In practically every crisis imaginable, it is the most disenfranchised in our societies that are the most negatively impacted. The Covid-19 pandemic, while altering the working day of many, has eliminated work for millions of migrants around the world. Many migrant workers are confined to overcrowded living arrangements – making them even more susceptible to the spread of the virus. Most tragically, many in the migrant community lack the financial means required to persevere through this crisis and the inevitable economic instability this pandemic will bring will greatly impact their future employment and earnings potential.
Covid-19 has uprooted the entire world. On International Workers Day, while it is important to acknowledge all workers suffering through this crisis, we must especially acknowledge the struggle and perseverance of the migrant worker community. The migrant worker community are a strong people: they leave their homes to find work to provide a better life for their families back home.
On this International Workers Day, we at Ding would like to celebrate all that these migrant workers do, and the important role they play in societies all around the world.