Trade unionists and supporters on a May Day march through the centre of Sheffield

May Day Parade through Sheffield. 28 April 1979.

May Day Parade through Sheffield. 28 April 1979.

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There was a healthy turnout for the May Day march through Sheffield city centre on April 29, 1979.

A year earlier, former Labour leader Miachael Foot, then Employment Secretary, had created the May Day Bank Holiday, which this year falls on Monday, May 5. There was opposition at the time, because May Day was celebrated as International Workers’ Day in the then Communist states. But, particularly during the late 70s and eighties - by which time South Yorkshire gloried in the title of Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire with its headquarters in Sheffield - the holiday was an opportunity for trade unions and left-leaning political groups to come together in an impressive show of unity. In recent years there have been, from time to time, calls to move the early May bank holiday to later in the year when the chance of fine weather to enjoy the break is greater.