Jeremy Corbyn MP being shown the collections
The TUC Library was delighted to welcome local Labour MP for Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn, for a tour round the collections today. Staff at the library showed Jeremy a selection of the collections, which date back to the founding of the TUC in 1868. Items included the original strike fund register from the 1888 match workers strike (a digital version can be seen here), the original manuscript of Robert Tressell’s novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (available here), and a whole range of other items in areas such as housing policy, the development of the welfare state, the 1926 General Strike, and the local history of London.
If you are interested in visiting or arranging a library tour, please contact us at www.londonmet.ac.uk/tuc
TUC Library saw Darren Hayman play his new album Chants for Socialists at the Union Chapel on Saturday 24th January. Darren (formerly of John Peal favourite Hefner) having discovered Chants for Socialists, a pamphlet written by William Morris, at the William Morris Gallery in Walthemstow, wrote an album of music to accompany it. Darren is currently touring the album. The TUC Library bought the record on red vinyl.
We found the following music sheet from 1925 in our collection of the song Darren finished his gig on, No Master. (Seems like G W Crawford had a go pre 1925).
As Greece prepares to hold an election this weekend, the result of which may have significant repercussions for the rest of Europe, it is also the 70th anniversary of a TUC delegation to the country. The delegation left London 70 years ago today – January 22nd 1945.
The TUC had been invited by the Greek Confederation of Labour to advise on the re-establishment of free trade unions following the withdrawal of Germany from Greece in October 1944. The TUC produced a report of the delegation’s activities, as can be seen below:
A second delegation visited Greece in February 1945 in order to supervise trade union elections and the reconstitution of the Provisional Committee of the Confederation. The photo below shows Victor Feather [front centre] with the rest of the newly elected Committee in June 1945. Feather, who would later serve as General Secretary of the TUC from 1969-1973, had stayed in Greece to assist with the elections.
Students from London Metropolitan University’s BA in Labour and Trade Union Studies hard at work researching, amongst other things, the impact of technology and the internet on the labour market and trade unions, agency work, and migration.
With the London bus strike taking place today and the announcement over the weekend that the Conservative Party plans to include further anti-strike reforms in its 2015 General Election manifesto, the issue of the right to strike in key public services is back on the national agenda. The proposals have provoked much debate, with some generally supportive while others have argued that the union laws don’t need changing.
The TUC Library is one of the best research collections in the country to study the historical development of trade union laws and the right to strike.
As this item from 1958 on our website shows, there have been similar London bus strikes in the past over the issue of differing wage rates :
Leaflet relating to the 1958 London bus strike, produced by the Transport and General Workers Union (now Unite).
The trade union law covering the right to strike has also been reformed dramatically in the post-war period. Introductions to the major changes appear on our history websites here and here, and the Institute for Employment Rights have also produced a useful summary of the main legislation.
The TUC Library contains material that documents many of debates surrounding the main legislative changes, ranging from the 1971 Industrial Relations Act:
To the legislation in the 1980s and specific events such as the campaign for union recognition at GCHQ:
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