The TUC isn’t the only trade union movement protesting today. As well as colleagues in Glasgow and Belfast, there’s going to be a huge demonstration in Rome, too – also against austerity, and in particular focusing on youth unemployment. We’re not swapping speakers like some Live Aid gig, but CGIL General Secretary Susanna Camusso has sent us a video message we’re playing at our rally in Hyde Park, and I was asked to send a message from the TUC which they’ll show on the screens in Piazza San Giovanni. Here it is, in Italian (the English translation appears below!)
Brendan is a former General Secretary of the TUC, the 9th person to hold the position since its introduction in 1922. He worked with the organisation from 1975 until his retirement in 2012, and was elected General Secretary by the TUC’s General Council in 2003. Brendan has been a Non-Executive Director of the Court of the Bank of England, and member of the ACAS Council and of Sport England.
I studied at City University in London, and took a sabbatical year as President of the City University Students Union, as well as working for a year with VSO in Ghana. I’m a Non-Executive Director of the Court of the Bank of England, and have done turns as a member of the ACAS Council and of Sport England. The latter is close to my heart as I’m a keen supporter of Everton Football Club, though you’ll also find me occasionally at home games of Vauxhall Conference side Barnet, and when I get the chance I enjoy a round or three of golf.
I’m honoured to have been asked to give the annual Jack Jones lecture in Liverpool tonight, and wanted to use it to show three of the key lessons for today that we can find from Jack’s life. Here’s some of what I’ll be saying this evening:
Jack Jones was a true colossus of the labour movement. He was an ordinary working-class man who through the strength of his convictions and the courage of his actions changed the course of history – and in the process improved the lives of millions of working people.
Trade union representatives are the unsung heroes of Britain’s workplaces. There are over 200,000 of them in every sector of the economy, giving up their time and energy for free simply to help and support their work colleagues.
Unions are just as relevant, and necessary, today as they have ever been. Millions of workers have benefited from the work that union reps do. Every single day, in workplaces up and down the country, reps are dealing with the everyday problems that arise such as safety issues, cases of harassment, fears over redundancies and difficulties getting time off for childcare. Organised workplaces are safer, fairer and better because of the role that trade union representatives play.
To help support them in doing this the TUC have produced our first ever comprehensive manual for union reps.