“On this day, May 1st 2003, workers from all continents are gathering together to celebrate the achievements of the trade union movement, and to embrace the future. The struggle of working people and their trade unions has brought decency, dignity and respect to many. On May 1st, the workers’ day, we call for Respect.”
From ICFTU May 1st Manifesto – www.icftu.org
“The Melbourne May Day committee has continually made representations to the State Government to declare May 1st a public holiday, but only public awareness, support and pressure will finally achieve this demand.”
[May Day Committee statement]
Thousands of workers answered the call, many of them, such as the building workers seen below, taking to the streets for the second time in a week in support of the rights of workers and their unions. At the rally which followed the march, Victorian Trades Hall Council president Dean Mighell repeated the demand for May Day to be declared a public holiday, to loud applause from the crowd. In fact this was only the third year in a row in which there was a serious demonstration on
May Day proper, as distinct from the practice of holding the event on the first Sunday of the month, and the turnout was a clear indication that this is what workers want.
The march began at Trades Hall, with a rally and speakers, including the newly-appointed Young Unionists’ Network co-ordinator Camille Barbagallo, who revealed that only one in six young workers is a member of a union. A small contingent of peace activists assembled at the State Library and marched up to join the main rally, led by the banners of Books not Bombs and the Socialist Alliance.