Labour Day, also known as International Workers’ Day or May Day, is held in observance of workers’ struggles in the workplace.
Trinidad and Tobago’s celebrations are held on June 19, in observance of the Oilfields Labour Riots in 1937. These riots were led by Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler. This event and its repercussions are generally seen as the genesis of the modern trade union movement in Trinidad and Tobago.
Prior to and after the riots, there were other contributions that aided in the development of our “modern trade union movement”, these include:
- the establishment of the Trade Union Ordinance (now Act) in 1932 (Ordinance 20 of 1932)
- the evaluation of social and economic conditions in the British Caribbean by the West India Royal Commission, 1938-39 (better known as the Moyne Commission),
- the examination of the Trinidad and Tobago Disturbances in 1937, (also known as the Foster Commission)
- the establishment of Trade Disputes (Arbitration and Inquiry) Ordinance, in 1938
These historic documents on the labour movement are available at the Heritage Library Division.
A bibliographic compilation of publications on the labour movement in TT and the Caribbean is available.
These bibliography (totalling 114, including Biographical Information Files), is representative of a preliminary research guide. It represents a selection of works available at the Heritage Library Division’s vast TT Collection and Rare Books items. These titles are searchable via NALIS OPAC/Website [https://www.nalis.gov.tt/.]
Posted on 17, June 2022 by Nicole Martin-John - Librarian