Honouring the Origin of May Day in India: Significance for Entrepreneurs in Employee Care

International Labour Day, also known as May Day or Workers Day, is an annual celebration observed on May 1st in over 80 countries, including India. It serves as a poignant reminder of the essential role that workers play in society and commemorates the historic struggles of the labour movement.

May 1st was originally a festival marking the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere. However, in the late 19th century, it became synonymous with the labour movement. Trade unions and socialist groups designated this day as an occasion to advocate for workers’ rights, including better working conditions, fair wages, and reduced working hours. The significance of May Day lies in its acknowledgment of the ongoing fight for workers’ dignity and justice.

The theme for 2024:

The theme for International Labour Day 2024 is “Building Back Fairer: Recovering from Crisis through Decent Work.” This theme underscores the importance of prioritizing decent work opportunities as nations strive to recover from the socio-economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It emphasises the need to address inequalities and ensure that all workers have access to fair wages, social protection, and safe working environments.

Celebrations in India:

In India, International Labour Day is marked by various events organised by trade unions, workers’ associations, and left-wing parties. These celebrations include parades, marches, rallies, and public speeches aimed at raising awareness about labour rights issues and advocating for social justice. It’s a time to recognise the invaluable contributions of workers across all sectors and to reaffirm the commitment to upholding their rights and dignity.

Challenges and Opportunities:

While International Labour Day is a moment to celebrate the achievements of the labour movement, it also serves as a reminder of the persistent challenges faced by workers worldwide. Issues such as precarious employment, gender inequality, unsafe working conditions, and inadequate social protection continue to impact millions of workers globally. However, May Day also presents an opportunity for collective action and solidarity to address these challenges and build a more equitable and inclusive society.

Origin of May Day in India:

Malayapuram Singaravelu

May 1st, 1923, marked a pivotal moment in Indian history as the first May Day celebrations were organised in Chennai by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan, led by Comrade Singaravelar. This historic event, a culmination of efforts to advocate for the rights of workers and peasants, laid the foundation for recognising the rights and contributions of workers in India. Comrade Singaravelar‘s leadership in organising two significant meetings in Chennai brought together workers, peasants, and activists to demand better working conditions, fair wages, and social justice, symbolising the solidarity and unity of the labour movement in India. These events hold significant lessons for entrepreneurs today, emphasising the importance of caring for their employees and promoting fairness, justice, and solidarity within their organisations.

Significance for Entrepreneurs:

For entrepreneurs, understanding the origin of May Day in India carries profound significance, particularly in recognising the importance of taking care of their employees. Here are some key lessons:

Respect for Workers’ Rights: May Day serves as a reminder that workers are not just a means to an end but essential stakeholders in the success of any business. Entrepreneurs should prioritise respecting the rights of their employees, including fair compensation, safe working conditions, and opportunities for professional growth.

Promoting Social Justice: Just as the May Day celebrations in 1923 advocated for social justice, entrepreneurs have a responsibility to contribute to a more equitable society. This includes addressing inequalities within their own organisations and supporting initiatives that benefit workers and the community at large.

Fostering a Culture of Solidarity: The spirit of solidarity that characterised the early May Day celebrations is equally relevant in today’s business landscape. Entrepreneurs can foster a sense of unity among their employees by promoting teamwork, collaboration, and mutual support.

Recognising Employee Contributions: May Day is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to reflect on the invaluable contributions of their employees. Recognising and appreciating their hard work and dedication can boost morale, enhance productivity, and foster loyalty.


As we commemorate International Labour Day 2024 and reflect on the origin of May Day in India, entrepreneurs are reminded of their pivotal role in shaping workplaces that prioritise the well-being and dignity of employees. By embracing principles of fairness, justice, and solidarity, entrepreneurs can honour the legacy of May Day while building thriving businesses that benefit both workers and society as a whole. This occasion serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggle for workers’ rights and underscores the importance of collective efforts to ensure that every individual is treated with dignity, respect, and fairness in the workplace. Together, we can strive towards a future where all workers enjoy decent work and social justice.


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