The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is holding a major conference on Monday to mark its 40th anniversary. Peter Coldrick, for many years an ETUC Confederal Secretary before returning to the TUC as our Brussels officer, will be part of the TUC delegation to Madrid as his father, Percy Coldrick, then TSSA General Secretary, was on the TUC delegation at the ETUC founding conference in Brussels. Here, Peter reflects on 40 years of European trades unionism:
When I joined the ETUC in Brussels in 1976 the staff was barely into double figures, and we rented the second floor from the international TUC. The offices were rather grubby but located on the beautifully named ‘street of the mountain soup herbs.’ Since the organisation had been founded three years earlier it hadn’t always been easy to bring trade union national centres – and people – with different traditions together – but that was what the ETUC was created to do.