Labour Day comes on 19 June in Trinidad and Tobago, which is a unique date compared to other countries around the world. This date was chosen to commemorate the Fyzabad labour uprising that took place on that day in 1937. This event sparked the modern trade union movement in Trinidad and Tobago.
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The Fyzabad uprising began as an oil worker strike on 18 June. The arrest of the strike’s leader led to riots and the death of two police officers and nine others on 19 June. In the months following the incident, oil workers formed a union to protect their rights. Sugar plantation and factory workers soon did likewise, as did others.
Trinidad and Tobago gained independence from Spain in 1962 after riots that were related to labour issues. In 1973, 19 June was declared a public holiday named Labour Day to commemorate the labour uprising of 1937. Trade unions still are very active on Labour Day in Trinidad and Tobago, but many others just see the holiday as a welcome day off and a chance to hit the beaches or spend time with family and friends.
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