How can the TUC Library help with your course?

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Just a small selection of recently acquired material on economic, social and employment issues.

Welcome to all the university’s new students starting term this week. How can you make the best use of the unique resources offered at the TUC Library?

The library contains one of the UK’s most extensive collections of material relating to labour and employment issues.

If your course is in any way connected with contemporary issues of economic policy, the labour market, employment relations, equality and discrimination, women at work, migrant workers, pay and conditions, then we have something that will interest you (see pic above).

The library also contains a unique historical record of the development of all aspects of social policy over the last hundred years. If your studies concern housing policy, education, health, tax, benefits and the welfare system, then we have material that is relevant to you.

For more information on how the TUC Library can assist you with your studies, pop in and see us on the ground floor of the Learning Centre LCG-22, or get in touch: tuclib@londonmet.ac.uk, 020 7133 3726

An example of some of our historical collections, in this case a selection of pamphlets on the development of education policy.

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Labour Party publications in the TUC Library

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The report of the first conference of the Labour Representation Committee, 1900.

As Labour Party Conference takes place this week, we thought we would highlight our Labour Party collections.

The TUC Library was founded in 1922, originally as a joint library between the TUC and the Labour Party. Today they are totally separate organisations, but in those days they worked much more closely together and even shared office space in Ecclestone Square, SW1.

As a result, the TUC Library contains an extensive collection of the Labour Party’s publications. The material includes all the annual conference reports, from the first conference of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900 (see above). You can see the report of the 1918 conference that ratified the Constitution including the original “Clause 4″, and the special conference in 1995 in which the clause was amended (below).

We also hold a full collection of the Labour Party’s reports and publications, their NEC and policy papers, electoral campaign materials and manifestos, leaflets, posters and ephemera, etc.

A selection of Labour Party conference reports, including part of the 1918 report and the 1995 conference that repealed Clause 4.

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Pride movie reveals true story of LGBT support for the miners’ strike

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We love the new film Pride, which tells the true story of how members of the London LBGT community formed the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners to deliver funds and solidarity to a Welsh mining community during the 1984/85 miners’ strike.

For those interested in the events of the miners’ strike and the many groups that were formed in solidarity with the miners, the TUC Library contains a substantial collection of leaflets, posters, badges, stickers and other ephemera relating to the dispute.

We also have material relating to the history of the strike, its causes and its development, from the NUM, the government, the TUC, the police and the media. You can see some other leaflets and posters from the strike on our history website here, here and here.

The library also contains an extensive collection covering the history of the LGBT rights movement and similar social movements for equality. You can see a guide to our LGBT collections here.

To find out more visit londonmet.ac.uk/tuc or contact us at tuclib@londonmet.ac.uk or 020 7133 3726

A small selection of material the TUC Library holds from numerous miners’ strike support groups

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Guest post: Researching the GMB at the TUC Library

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Dr John Callow consulting the GMB’s union journal

Dr John Callow, writer, historian and National Officer at the GMB union recently visited the library to undertake research using our collection of the union’s journal.

We’re delighted that John has very kindly written a guest blog post describing his research:

“The GMB cares about its history; and there is no better place to start uncovering the stories of the women and men who fashioned the union than the TUC Library.

You can tell a lot about the union’s trajectory, and over-riding priorities, just by looking through the pages of its journal. Sometimes it is ambiguous, or doesn’t tell you what you want – or even what you want to hear – but if you accept its cadences and concerns then there is no surer guide to the history of industrial struggle as it was actually lived, and acted.

For a brief window, in the early 1930s, the journal was transformed from a rather dry account of executive decisions and financial balances into a mirror of the age: with bold modernist design, colourful covers, discussion pieces, letters columns and regional pages. It coincided with a changing union and a changing political landscape. The old guard – Thorne, Trevanion, Clynes and Jones; the giants who had founded the union – were on the point of retirement; unemployment and the Means Test bit at the workers’ pocket, while the creation of Ramsay MacDonald’s National government and the rise of fascism, both at home and abroad, threatened to undermine optimism in a Socialist future and to destroy the foundations upon which trade unions, and civil society, were built.

As a consequence, the journal campaigned against the Blackshirts on the streets of London; spoke-out against the gassing of Ethiopian tribesmen by Mussolini’s airforce; and consciously framed arguments against racism. At the same time, it recorded the simple pastimes and extraordinary heroisms of its members; the strong sense of regionalism and federalism that characterised the union’s culture; and managed to name-check Shelley, Hampden, and Thomas Muir of Huntershill as easily – and breathlessly – as it reported upon parliamentary proceedings and gains in local council elections.   

There is nothing more democratic than a library, which sets neither limit nor cost in the way of knowledge. When conjoined with the practical goals of trade unionism, to realise not only economic and social equality but also the full potential of each and every individual; the sky really is the limit. Knowledge is still power, and the TUC Library stands uniquely positioned as both power-house and treasure trove.”

A selection of National Union of General and Municipal Workers (now GMB) journals from the 1930s

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Happy Labor Day!

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Labor Day issue of the Seattle Union Record 1923

Happy Labor Day to our American readers! The USA celebrates the contribution of workers and the labour movement on the first Monday in September and has been doing so as a national public holiday since 1894.

Following the Haymarket Riot in May 1886 – the traditional month in which international workers day is celebrated – there was an attempt to deflect attention from the more socialist connotations of May Day, and thus Labor Day began to be celebrated in September instead.

The TUC Library has a unique collection of Labor Day and May Day material from many different countries. The library also contains an extensive collection of material relating to US trade unions and the US labour movement.

Publication from the US Department of Labor, issued on Labor Day 1947

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