Labor Day – May 1
Labor Day marks to remember the workers’ struggle for the right to work and security that did not exist until 1867 when this right was recognized for the first time in the US state thanks to the actions of the first trade unions and then allargatosi wildfire in almost every country in the world.
In Europe, the celebration of May was officially recognized in the year 1889 in Paris and in Italy, a periodical of the time Forli “The Claim” published April 26, 1890 an article about the celebrations of May Day that made this festival famous throughout the peninsula.
Since then the work status in Italy slowly began to improve, in fact so far the workers had no kind of protection in the workplace, the danger was high and there were no deaths.
The industrial revolution, which took place thanks to some scientific and technological breakthroughs like the steam engine,
initially it did not bring improvements in working conditions because there was from the public the concept of protection of the worker and the part of employers have no obligation to preventive security measures.
However, due to changes caused by the Industrial Revolution, the population’s health condition began to increase even if unevenly in the walks of life, the greatest improvements were made in the health sector to conquer most of the diseases that decimated the population until then and in the food industry by eliminating famine. Literacy also became the prerogative of the lower middle classes and even the weakest social classes were able to make use of services and goods to them precluded until then.
Finally, thanks to a ‘more mature public opinion and the growing influence of trade unions began major changes to workers’ rights even though there was no need of bitter labor struggles, often violent, between unions and workers on the one hand and employers and law enforcement on the other.
One of the most striking examples of this struggle there was in 1906 when, in Vercelli, mondine (seasonal workers of the rice paddies)
They protested strongly to the difficult working conditions caused by times impossible, from an unhealthy work, since they were forced to work all day with its feet in the ‘water, tormented by bites of insects such as mosquitoes carry malaria and wages much lower than those of men. In the years to ‘internal factories sprang the council to have a voice of representation that were working a little later recognized in Italian companies. The October 27, 1906 took place the first trade union agreement between the Italian Federation of Workers and the automotive company Itala designed to resolve disputes between management and workers on issues regarding the employment contracts. During the Fascist period, all trade unions were abolished and, partly because of the Second World War, were not all the labor rights achieved until then. With the end of war and the fall of the fascist regime were reassembled laws in favor of the workers and were later extended to all categories of industry, recognizing trade unions as a means of official contact between companies and workers.
In Italy, after the war thanks to the economic boom, workers were able to enjoy great benefits due to the increase of wages that in the decade 1950/1960, increased by 142% and that allowed them to improve their living conditions thanks to the possibility of access to many consumer goods such as cars, refrigerators, television.
Unfortunately for them that happy time did not last very long, labor demand was greater than the supply of labor and there followed a gradual lowering of wages and an increase in inflation and government policies were not always spot on causing the reductions of investment by employers and employment has decreased.