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Today's quote:

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy Labour Day

 

It’s a holiday today in Canberra and in Victoria and in Tassie. They’re celebrating Labour Day, to commemorate the granting of the eight-hour working day. This all kicked off in the 1850s when working hours were long and hard ... usually around 12 hours a day, six days a week.

According to timeanddate.com:

‘Many Australians saw the need for better working conditions and in the 1850s there was a strong push for this. On April 21, 1856, stonemasons at the University of Melbourne marched to Parliament House to push for an eight-hour working day. An agreement with employers for a 48-hour week was eventually reached and Australian workers welcomed the new eight-hour day. A victory march was held on May 12 that year and each year after that. In 1856 the new work regulations were recognized in New South Wales, followed by Queensland in 1858 and South Australia in 1873.’

Note the eight-hour day was for six, not five days a week. I’m not sure when that changed to the 38-hour week and I’m too lazy to look it up. Not that I have ever worked a 38-hour week. 50 hours yes; also 60 hours; even 70 and 80 hours, but never 38. So when people tell me how lucky I am, I tell them the harder I worked the luckier I got.