Celebrating 150 years of the TUC

General secretary Frances O’Grady looks forward to a year of events to mark the 150th anniversary of the Trades Union Congress.

Public sector workers have suffered nearly a decade of pay freezes and cuts. Physiotherapy staff in the NHS are several thousand pounds out of pocket. The impact of below-inflation rises for millions of workers is stark evidence of the challenges facing working people today. It is a reminder that the unions have never been more important in campaigning for decent working conditions and fair pay, such as the public sector pay lobby of parliament in November.

In 2018, the TUC will celebrate 150 years of standing up for working people. The 150th anniversary – #TUC150 – is a chance to celebrate our proud history and reach out to a new generation. In the sweep of history, physiotherapy staff would count among that new generation. Today, contrary to stereotypes, a typical trade unionist is a woman and a professional.

The actual anniversary falls in June, so that will be the focal point of our celebrations. And the anniversary activities will continue when we bring Congress back to Manchester in September, where the TUC first met in 1868. But all year we’ll be sharing content and talking about building stronger unions – and that’s where you come in.

The main anniversary project will be 150 stories for 150 years. We will capture 150 inspiring trade union stories and share them widely on social media and at events through the year. The stories will represent our regions and nations. They will reflect the diversity of our movement and our wide-ranging work.

#TUC150 will provide a way to involve you as union members in organising campaigns and growing our membership, winning key campaigns and securing new recognition agreements with lawyers. As part of that, the TUC will train a cohort of 150 new reps by Congress 2018. And we’ll launch a pilot trialling new ways to organise young workers. As the TUC was founded in Manchester, TUC North West will be organising a programme of local events.

We hope that CSP members will get involved in the celebrations. If you have events or activities planned for 2018, please consider how they could be used to mark the anniversary. You could tell the story of your trade union on social media using the hashtag #TUC150 or do something public to get non-members involved in the CSP.

#TUC150 is about looking forwards, not backwards. We can position ourselves as a modern, confident movement with a central role in today’s workplace, protecting the rights of all workers.

  • Frances O’Grady is general secretary of the Trades Union Congress

More information www.tuc.org.uk/TUC150
CSP contacts: Kevin Dale and Siân Caulfield on GetOrganised@csp.org.uk

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC

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