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Trinidad and Tobago Commemorates Labor Day

Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Youth Day: June 19

Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Labor Day in Trinidad and Tobago is celebrated on June 19. It marks the beginning of an uprising of laborers in Fyzabad in 1937. It is also generally recognized as the beginning of the modern trade union movement.

History of Labor Day in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

In 1897, a young man named Charles Phillip formed the Working Men’s Reform Club. This lead to other working men’s associations being formed in other places. The collection of groups came together to form the Trinidad Labor Party to show that it had now become a political party.

On June 18, 1937, oil workers at the forest reserve began a huge strike. This was done under the leadership of a man named Tubal Uriah Butler. The day after, he was arrested, and there were riots and civil unrest, leading to the death of two police offers and nine civilians. During the same year in September, the men who worked the oil fields created the first trade union, registered in Trinidad. In November, factory workers and sugar plantation workers joined suit.

In late 1939, a trade union congress was established. Adrian Cola Rienzi was elected as the president. However, Butler was sucked into military duty during World War II, pulling him away from his goals. After Butler returned, he was hailed as the hero of the working class.

When elections were held in the year 1946, Butler lost to Albert Gomes for a seat in the legislative council. Those people who were in support of Butler staged a march on the Red House ruining the whole of Spain and causing numerous riots. Many strikes ensued with people demanding an increase in wages. In 1957 the Democratic Labor Party was formed. Slowly in 1962, Trinidad and Tobago becomes the first British West Indian colony to gain independence.

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago’s Labor Day Traditions, Customs and Activities

In 1973, the government declared June 19—the day Tubal Butler was arrested causing riots—Labor Day. Despite the numerous man hours lost due strikes, sick outs, and industrial actions, workers have seen fairer job treatment through their efforts.

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