STRONG SUPPORT: Union members gather to hear the addresses at the May Day rally at Gladstone Marina.  PHOTO: Allen Winter
STRONG SUPPORT: Union members gather to hear the addresses at the May Day rally at Gladstone Marina. PHOTO: Allen Winter

Elation as next year's Labour Day returns to May

A ROAR of approval went up when State MP Glenn Butcher announced Labour Day would be moved back to May yesterday.

Mr Butcher told the hundreds of unionists and union supporters at the traditional May Day rally that the

public holiday on the first Monday in May would take place next year.

The holiday was shifted by the Campbell Newman-led LNP government to the beginning of October soon after the party took office after the 2012 election.

The move at the time was seen by many Labor supporters as being the government's attempt to reduce the strength of unions in Queensland.

AMU member Ben Loakes said he was elated at the move back to May.

"Not only did Newman's lot shift the holiday to October, they also abolished the payroll deduction scheme for all government workers. This forced a lot of people not to join the unions. It crippled the unions, but now Labor has turned around the May date. Let's hope they can also change the payroll scheme soon as well," he said.

"There will be a few other things that Newman put in place which will have to be overturned."

Mr Loakes said as far as he knew Gladstone was the only community which managed to retain the May Day tradition, following the date change, and hold a rally on the Monday.

"Many others decided to shift their rally and march to the weekend, but we've always stayed with Monday."

Mr Butcher told the crowd it was sad that many people were not able to attend

yesterday's rally, "because for them it is a work day".

"I am very happy to confirm that today marks the last time Labour Day will be held on a day that is not a public holiday," he said.

"The thieving of the tradition of Labour Day being the first Monday in May was just another vindictive insult dealt to workers by Newman.

"This is a day that belongs to working Queenslanders and should be celebrated with families as a dedicated public holiday.

"It's your day to reflect on the power of workers, 'standing united, never to be defeated. Keep up the good fight for what is deserved as a worker's right - a fair day's work for a fair day's pay."



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