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May Day crowd celebrates 140 years of Tasmanian unionism

This month hundreds of union members across the state came together to celebrate the biggest event on the union calendar, our annual May Day celebrations: the May Day Dinner and the May Day Parade and street party.  

It’s a particularly special year for our movement, as we celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Tasmanian Trades and Labour Council – known today as Unions Tasmania. For more than a century, unions and their members have stood together to uplift the basic rights and conditions of working people in our state. We’re proud of the part we’ve played in that story of working for a better future, and a more fair and just society.  

“We are, and remain, fearless campaigners for the working class and a counterpoint for workers to pool their collective power and demand a better deal.” – Jessica Munday, Secretary, Unions Tasmania (via The Mercury) 

Our May Day celebrations kicked off with the May Day Dinner, where we recognise those who have gone above and beyond standing up for their colleagues and working people across Tasmania with the annual Unions Tasmania Awards. The awards recognise: 

  • Workplace Campaign of the Year 
  • Union Delegate of the Year 
  • Health & Safety Representative of the Year 
  • Recognition for Outstanding Contribution to the Union Movement  

We were incredibly proud to see CPSU Allied Health Professionals from the Department for Children and Young People recognised with a nomination for Workplace Campaign of the Year. These workers walked off the job last year, the first time their profession has done so as a group, and by building their campaign won 10 days extra leave a year.  

This year’s annual May Day Raffle raised money for cystic fibrosis, in honour of Unions Tasmania team member Toni Miles-Bennett, who passed away late last year. 

The May Day Parade and Street Party was a big success, with hundreds of union members loud and proud in the streets. Thanks to CPSU members who joined us, wearing red! The union movement is a family, and our state as we know it today would be unrecognisable without the collective efforts of generations of working people standing together for a better life.  

Unions are the biggest civil society movement in the world. As pointed out by Jon Falzon, who opened the May Day Dinner by speaking to the values at the heart of our movement: these values, solidarity, struggle, and an unshakeable belief in a better world, make us who we are and give us confidence that by continuing to stand together, in union, we can create a better tomorrow.  

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