Tubal Uriah Butler in a still from a video on the 1937 uprising.
How long until Labour Day?
|This holiday next takes place in 88 Days.|
Dates of Labour Day
|A labour uprising on 19 June 1937 marked the start of the modern trade union movement in Trinidad and Tobago|
The Labour Day holiday takes place in Trinidad and Tobago on 19 June.
If 19 June falls on a Sunday, the holiday will be observed on the immediately following Monday.
Labour Day marks an uprising in 1937, that is seen as the beginning of the modern trade union movement in Trinidad and Tobago.
While there had been some efforts to create a movement to support workers in Trinidad and Tobago in the early part of the twentieth century, progress had been slow and sporadic.
On 18 June 1937, workers at the Butler Oil fields began a strike against the inequality of earnings from the oil industry. Police tried to arrest the leader of the strike, Tubal Uriah 'Buzz' Butler on 19 June. This led to riots which resulted in the deaths of nine workers and two policemen. Butler went on the run from the authorities, giving himself up in September 1937 and spending two years in prison. The riots were seen as a precursor to the creation of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU), which became the first registered trade union in the country. The riots also led to a 1939 commission headed by Lord Moyne which attempted to investigate the causes of the riots and suggested recommendations to ensure that events wouldn't be repeated.
Butler, a Grenadian immigrant, went on to form his own political party in the 1950's and his efforts to improve rights of workers led to him being awarded the Trinity Cross, the nation's highest honour. As well as having a major highway named after him, a statue of Butler stands at the Charlie King Junction in Fyzabad, the place where the police tried to arrest him in 1937.
Labour Day was declared as an annual national holiday in Trinidad and Tobago in 1973.