TO some, today's public holiday is another day off work to go fishing, but Labour Day has a strong following in the Rockhampton region with local union members still showing up in force to march and a show of solidarity with other workers in Australia.

Queensland Council of Unions secretary Craig Allen said Rockhampton members would today hold festivities around the region to remember those who fought for better working conditions across the state.

He said local unions would be celebrating the day with a parade starting at 8.30am near the riverside car park followed with a barbecue at Victoria Park until 2pm.

Mr Allen said the event will kick off with two minutes' silence to remember the more than 50 Queensland workers who died on the job in 2011.

"We pay our respects to those workers who have died in the course of their work in the previous year," he said.

Mr Allen said Rockhampton's Labour Day celebrations would be family-orientated with food, drinks and give-aways for the kids.

"We have free rides, over 1000 cans of soft drink, over 500 bags to give away to the kids, 1000 ice creams, over 1000 bags of chips. It's just a great day," he said.

Mr Allen said Labour Day celebrates Queensland's strong union history with some groups in the state being active for more than 160 years.

He said unions in Central Queensland gained a strong following after a strikeat the town of Barcaldine, 600km west of Rockhampton.

Mr Allen said the Barcaldine strike, known as the Great Shearers Strike, started with 3000 workers downing tools and ended with 13 shearers punished with three years hard labour.

He said the strike was an important part of Queensland union history as it paved the way for working class representation in the political arena.



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