Statement on the International Workers’ Day on 1 May 2021
Dear Kolping sisters and Kolping brothers all over the world,
On 1 May 2021, the International Workers’ Day will be marked by the COVID-19 pandemic for the second time. All over the world, governments are dealing with this crisis in very different ways. There is one phenomenon, however, they all have to face: People who do not have any reserve capital they can use in times of lockdowns, curfews and job restrictions see their own and their family’s livelihoods threatened. Meanwhile, many of them have used up their reserves, others worry about how long their resources will last.
This crisis has made people around the world aware of the fact that they cannot meet basic needs if they are not able to work. Campaigning for good working conditions and for the creation of jobs has always been part of our association’s core traditions. In the past few months many people did not have a chance to do their job, and with good reason. The risk of becoming infected with the virus at work was too high. That means that all those who sacrificed their work for the benefit of the community must be strengthened by the solidarity of the community and receive sufficient benefits to make a living. This is what we want to campaign for in all countries to be heard as a voice of civil society.
And there is another aspect that comes to mind. When John Paul II writes in his encyclical Laborem exercens (No. 9) that through work man becomes “more a human being“ he means that for many people work is not only a burden but it also helps them to achieve self-fulfillment. Through work we can make a substantial contribution to shaping the world and ultimately to shaping our own life. This has not been possible for everyone in the past few months, many people were no longer able to work together and to exchange ideas and creativity and some of them may have developed symptoms of sadness and loneliness. Let us take advantage of digital technologies, let us be alert and aware when people need someone to talk to. In these times when many people are spending less times socializing with their colleagues at work, we must remain vigilant to identify those who are at risk of experiencing loneliness.
Let us pray and hope together – not least through the intercession of Saint Joseph – that the world of labor will soon be open again to all people, that all women and men will be able again to secure their livelihoods in decent working conditions and with the strength of their hands, their heart and mind. And it is our sincere wish that young people will soon be able again to continue their training and studies that will help them find a fulfilling career which makes them feel “that they have been assigned to the place where God needs them“ (according to Adolph Kolping).
Kind regards and have a blessed and healthy May Day
Msgr. Ottmar Dillenburg, General Praeses
Dr. Markus Demele, General Secretary
Karin Wollgarten, Managing Director