Commemorating the ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’: a trade union origin story in brick and stone

There can be few visitors to Tolpuddle over the past twenty years who have resisted the temptation to sit on the bench that forms part of sculptor Thompson Dagnall’s statue the ‘Tolpuddle Six’. Unveiled in 2002 and depicting an anguished George Loveless awaiting transportation to Australia, the work, carved from local Portland stone, has proved a popular addition to the small circuit of sites in … Continue reading Commemorating the ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’: a trade union origin story in brick and stone

David Isserman (Edge Hill) on transnational syndicalism and industrial unionism in Liverpool and Glasgow, 1905-1926

My research focuses on the history of syndicalism and industrial unionism among maritime workers in Liverpool and Glasgow during the early twentieth century. Both cities were centres of labour unrest during the Edwardian and inter-war years, with Liverpool experiencing the 1911 transport strike and Glasgow being the host city to the dual unionist British Seafarers Union (BSU) and Scottish Union of Dock Labourers (SCUDL). Thanks … Continue reading David Isserman (Edge Hill) on transnational syndicalism and industrial unionism in Liverpool and Glasgow, 1905-1926

The People’s March for Jobs: taking the protest to Westminster

The first People’s March for Jobs had been a great success. Five hundred marchers set off from Liverpool, Yorkshire and South Wales, heading towards Westminster in a conscious echo of the Jarrow Crusade of 1936 and with a similar objective – to highlight the plight of those at the sharp end of government economic policies that were devastating whole industries. Initiated by the North West … Continue reading The People’s March for Jobs: taking the protest to Westminster

The Edwardes Plan and Your Job: when the 1970s ended and the managerialist 1980s began

By November 1979, the ‘Winter of Discontent’ was long past, Margaret Thatcher was nearing her first Christmas as prime minister, and everything had changed. But if you were looking to identify the exact moment at which the confident trade unionism of the 1970s gave way to the rising managerialism of the 1980s, you could do worse than choose the day that this pamphlet landed on … Continue reading The Edwardes Plan and Your Job: when the 1970s ended and the managerialist 1980s began

GCHQ: a badge of honour for trade unionism

On 14 May 1997, just a fortnight after the landslide election of a Labour government, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook stood up in the House of Commons to announce that a thirteen-year ban on trade union membership at the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) was to be rescinded. The long-promised move brought to an end one of the longest-running industrial disputes in British history, and one of … Continue reading GCHQ: a badge of honour for trade unionism

‘Farewell to convicts’: the long life of a classic trade union image

The medallion shown here was awarded by the TUC for ‘organising services’, as the text on the clasp makes clear. The ‘farewell to the convicts’ design had been commissioned by the TUC for a commemorative badge issued to all delegates to the 1934 Congress, marking the centenary of the Toldpuddle Martyrs’ arrest and transportation to Australia. It depicts a sailing ship under a night sky … Continue reading ‘Farewell to convicts’: the long life of a classic trade union image