An ecumenical event, ‘Work and Wellbeing – 8 hours more or less‘ is being planned for 21st April. It is an event of significance and may serve as a catalyst for community conversation and advocacy on work/life balance. This is an initiative of the Victorian Council of Churches and partners.
The 8 hour day monument (corner Victoria and Russell Streets) commemorates the 8 Hours Movement which was initiated in Victoria in 1856. The Eight Hour Day was a campaign that brought about one of the most important changes to the rights of workers, seeking an eight hour day on the basis of eight hours work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for recreation and education. On 26th February 1856, James Galloway convinced a meeting of employers and employees to begin implementing the 8 hour day. On 1856 on April 21st, Victorian Stonemasons staged a well-organised and executed protest. They had been working on the construction of the Old Quadrangle Building, the original site of Melbourne University, when they all downed their tools and proceeded to march on to Parliament House along with other members of the building trade. During the march held in Melbourne, those attending the protest carried banners that held the symbol of three figure 8’s. The intertwined numbers ‘888’ represented the ideal that the workers were fighting for – “8 Hours Work, 8 Hours Recreation, 8 Hours Rest”.
Work and Well-Being 2023
The issues around work in our current context remain significant – un/under employment and over-employment; casualisation of work force; insecure work; less staff expected to do more; people holding multiple jobs just to pay the household bills; etc. Now is the time to have a discussion about the contemporary meaning and place of work in human lives, including work and human dignity, the gendered nature of work, and how growing levels of insecure work impact workers and families. It is noted that the Federal Treasurer, Dr Jim Chalmers, has identified well-being as a core focus for the Federal budget.
Date: Friday 21st April 2023
Venue: Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library of Victoria (La Trobe St entrance)
Time: 11am-12 noon
- Nicholas Reece, Deputy Lord Mayor Melbourne
- Dr Mark Zirnsak, Social Justice Advocate for the Uniting Church (Vic/Tas)
- Patty Kinnersly, CEO of Our Watch
- Emma Dawson, Executive Director of Per Capita
- Dr Jeff Sparrow, Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne
This will be followed by a walk to the 8-8-8 Monument (corner of Victoria and Russell Streets), commencing at 12 noon, with further brief speeches at the Monument, including Prof Sean Scalmer who is working on a history of the struggle over working time, from the eight-hour day to the four-day week. It is anticipated a Union representative will also be present at the Monument and will be able to offer a brief speech.
The event will conclude by 12.30pm.