University College London Union

International Workers' Day - UCLU will close

UCLU will be closing for International Workers’ Day on May 1.

All union functions and services (including bars, cafes and shops) will be closed on May 1 to celebrate International Workers’ Day.

This excludes the following services, which will remain open as normal:

  • The Wolfson Study Space (Second Floor, 25 Gordon St.)
  • Bloomsbury Fitness (Third Floor, 15 Gordon St.)
  • Shenley sports ground

The Phineas Bar and George Farha café will also be open as study spaces.

May 1 is a public holiday in 82 countries around the world. The UK government does not recognise it and overall has fewer public holidays than most European nations, forcing people in this country to work harder and longer. UCLU’s employees make our Union work. Without them, our cafes, bars, clubs & societies, Rights & Advice service, campaigns and much more would not exist. We take our ethical responsibilities to our workers extremely seriously, and believe they deserve better than the bare legal minimum. That’s why we are a certified London Living Wage employer, and that’s why we believe they deserve the extra day’s holiday they will receive in recognition of International Workers’ Day.

International Workers’ Day (also known as May Day) is celebrated worldwide on May 1 to remember the struggles of the labour movement in the past and the present. It has been celebrated by marches and other activities in London since the 1890s.

The annual London May Day march to Trafalgar Square will assemble at noon at Clerkenwell Green. More information here.

International Workers’ Day has been observed on May 1 since 1890. It is largely considered to have originated as a commemoration of the bloody suppression in 1886 of a demonstration at Haymarket in Chicago for the 8-hour day.

If you’d like to find out more about International Workers Day, a description of the events of 1886 can be found here, and a history of the holiday since then here. For example:

“In the postwar period, May Day was generally tolerated and in some cases even recognised as a public holiday. In the UK, 1 May was made a bank holiday by the Labour government in 1978. In some cases, this was part of a process in which organised labour was co-opted, resulting in the holiday becoming an observed ritual and little more. But it continued to inspire astonishing upheavals – May Day protests played a significant role in the Portuguese revolution of 1974, as well as in the uprisings against apartheid in the 1980s. And even in less dramatic circumstances, it assumed greater importance during periods of turbulence, such as during the miners’ strike.”

If you’re interested in the history of May Day before the 1880s, you could read this article.

Get Involved

Bloomsbury Latin American workers’ demonstration

Several groups, including the SOAS and Senate House cleaners’ campaigns (which UCLU has policy to support!) have organised a joint demonstration to raise awareness on the issue of workers’ rights for the Latin American community in the UK. The group will meet at SOAS from 12.30 until 13.00 and then tour the Bloomsbury area campuses. Come celebrate Latin American culture and working class solidarity!

Find out more at uclu.org and on Facebook.

Annual London May Day march

The annual London May Day march to Trafalgar Square will assemble at noon at Clerkenwell Green. More information at uclu.org and the London May Day Organising committee website.

May Day party

On Saturday 4 May, come and celebrate International Workers’ Day at London’s only union-run pub: Bread and Roses, 68 Clapham Manor St, SW4 6DZ, organised by LabourStart.

7.30pm until midnight. More information on Facebook. LabourStart presents a fun evening of entertainment, music, and good company, featuring The Ruby Kid and David Thorpe. All proceeds will go towards helping us in our campaigning work for workers around the world.