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The Trades Union Congress TUC is a national trade union centre , a federation of trade unions in England and Wales , representing the majority of trade unions. There are fifty affiliated unions, with a total of about 5. They campaign for more and better jobs, and a more equal, more prosperous country.
Between congresses decisions are made by the General Council , which meets every two months. An Executive Committee is elected by the Council from its members. Affiliated unions can send delegates to Congress, with the number of delegates they can send proportionate to their size. At election time the TUC cannot endorse a particular party by name. It can also politically campaign against policies that it believes would be injurious to workers.
It was established in and now focuses on expanding the online and digital collections. The archive contains files from c - consisting of correspondence, internal and external documents, minutes, reports, printed material and press statements. Notably, the TUC succeeded in forcing Sports Direct to undergo an independent review into their treatment of workers in September The TUC was founded in the s.
The United Kingdom Alliance of Organised Trades , founded in Sheffield , Yorkshire , in , was the immediate forerunner of the TUC, although efforts to expand local unions into regional or national organisations date back at least forty years earlier; in , John Gast formed a "Committee of the Useful Classes", sometimes described as an early national trades council. One of the issues which prompted this initiative was the perception that the London Trades Council formed in and including, because of its location, many of the most prominent union leaders of the day was taking a dominant role in speaking for the Trade Union Movement as a whole.
The second TUC meeting took place in at the Oddfellows Hall, Temple Street, Birmingham where delegates discussed the eight-hour working day, election of working people to Parliament and the issue of free education. Arising out of the Congress, a decision was taken 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 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 GFTU continued in existence and remains to this day as a federation of smaller, often craft-based trade unions providing common services and facilities to its members especially education and training services.
As the TUC expanded and formalised its role as the "General Staff of the Labour Movement" it incorporated the Trades Councils who had given birth to it, eventually becoming the body which authorised these local arms of the TUC to speak on behalf of the wider Trade Union Movement at local and County level.
Also, as the TUC became increasingly bureaucratised, the Trades Councils often led by militant and communist-influenced lay activists found themselves being subject to political restrictions and purges particularly during various anti-communist witch-hunts and to having their role downplayed and marginalised.
In some areas especially in London and the South East the Regional Councils of the TUC dominated by paid officials of the unions effectively took over the role of the County Associations of Trades Councils and these paid officials replaced elected lay-members as the spokespersons for the Trade Union Movement at County and Regional level. By the end of the 20th century local Trades Councils and County Associations of Trades Councils had become so ineffective and weak that many had simply faded into effective dissolution.
The Congress saw a motion "calling for a special conference to establish a voice for working people within parliament. Within the year the conference had been held and the Labour Representation Committee established the forerunner of the Labour Party. The Scottish Trades Union Congress , which was formed in , is a separate and autonomous organisation. The Parliamentary Committee grew slowly, confining itself to legal matters, and ignored industrial disputes. In Harry Gosling proposed that organised labour needed an administrative machine.
Following the railway strike of , Ernest Bevin and G. Cole proposed a new system. The Parliamentary Committee became the General Council, representing thirty groups of workers. The system was successfully implemented by Fred Bramley and Walter Citrine. By the TUC had the making of a trade union bureaucracy similar to the civil service.
However, in , national conference voted against the introduction of military conscription. The TUC played a major role in the General Strike of , and became increasingly affiliated with the Labour Party in the s, securing seven of the thirteen available seats on the newly created National Council of Labour in A TUC survey of local trades councils who were approached by unemployed marchers for support in shows widespread support for unemployed workers' protest marches among the local trade union activists.
The TUC leadership subsequently tried to distort the result of the survey to justify its own opposition toward unauthorised marches. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Trades Union Congress disambiguation. List of affiliates of the Trades Union Congress. History of trade unions in the United Kingdom. Frances O'Grady is first female leader". Public Affairs PR Week". What they are and what they do" PDF. Retrieved 10 October Retrieved 12 June Economy of the United Kingdom.
Paul Nowak , Deputy Gen. Congress House , London. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Trades Union Congress.