Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Trades Union Congress 150 years: commemorative sheet.

In June 2018 the Trades Union Congress (TUC) will celebrate its 150th Anniversary. The first TUC meeting was held in 1868 when the Manchester and Salford Trades Council convened the founding meeting in the Manchester Mechanics' Institute.

The fact that the TUC was formed by Northern Trades Councils was not coincidental. One of the issues which prompted this initiative was the perception that the London Trades Council which was formed in 1860 was taking a dominant a role in speaking for the Trade Union Movement as a whole.

In 1897 the Congress, took the decision to form a more centralised trade union structure that would enable a more militant approach to be taken to fighting the employer and even achieving the socialist transformation of society. The result was the General Federation of Trade Unions which was formed in 1899. For some years it was unclear which body (the GFTU or the TUC) would emerge as the national trade union centre for the UK and for a while both were recognised as such by different fraternal organisations in other countries. However, it was soon agreed amongst the major unions that the TUC should take the leading role and that this would be the central body of the organised Labour Movement in the UK.

The self-adhesive sheet has been designed by Hat-trick Design and International Security Printers in lithography. It contains 10 'Royalty Seal' stamps each with a label attached depicting scenes from major events in British labour history.  This includes the Tolpuddle Martyrs' deportation in 1834, the London dock strike of 1880, the 1968 Ford car plant strikes for equal pay, and the Grunwick dispute over mistreatment by management in 1976.  All images are (c) TUC Library.

1 comment:

  1. It surprises me that more has not been made of this. Trades Unions, whether you like them or not, have been an important part of British Life - more than some, rich women being given the vote 100 years ago for example. It deserved a proper issue really.