Labour Day

Oct 28, 2013

Today in New Zealand we mark “Labour Day.” In 1900 this day became a workers holiday in NZ, and in 1910 the holiday was “Mondayised” as the fourth Monday in October.

For many this is simply a welcome day off work. We gardeners know Labour weekend as the time when it is safe to plant out seedlings – the danger of frosts is past. 


For too many people there is little reason for celebration. How many employees are forced to work on this day, with no chance to relax with friends and family who do have a free day?  Too many have employment that on paper is for the forty hours in the office, field or factory, but then they are kept awake at night by the stress of their 8 hour work day.

Offer a prayer too for those around the world who, despite being highly skilled with good qualifications, are unable to find work. The unemployment rates in many countries appears to be relatively low. In NZ last year, less than 7 percent of the workforce were unable to find work. But too often it is younger people who suffer. This month, (October 2013) the youth unemployment rate in Italy reached 40%.

Pope Francis is well aware of this reality both in Italy at present, and in Argentina a few years ago. Last month he spoke about this saying: “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.”

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