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LESE Trades Union Councils, EETUN and SETUN

A snapshot of activities from Trades Union Councils, East of England Trade Union Network and South East Trade Union Network.

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Hear about our latest activities, meetings, and how you can get involved in trade union activism across London, East & South East (LESE) region. 

Trades Union Councils

Trades union councils promote working-class solidarity in local communities.

What is a trades union council?

Trades union councils are local groups of trade unionists. They are elected from trade union branches whose members live and/ or work in the area. Trades union councils are often referred to simply as trades councils (TCs). TCs promote effective solidarity in disputes, joint campaigns on issues such as health, education, welfare and transport, and, in general, provide the vital link between the workplace and the wider working-class community. Trade union branches affiliate to their local TC on the basis of a small annual fee per member, which is usually between 10p and 25p. In turn, TCs support, and can themselves affiliate to, local and national union campaigns for social justice.

What do trades councils do?

TCs’ activities are guided by an annual programme of work, determined by their annual conference. This can include campaigns to defend the NHS, to promote public education, transport, the welfare state, and to support benefit claimants, women, black, ethnic minority, gay and transgender people, young people and people with disabilities.

Trades councils and the trade union movement

Trades councils are the local trade union movement! They can be called upon by any trade union branch to show strike or other dispute solidarity, which could be via a picket line, media publicity or a financial appeal. National trade unions can promote their priority issues more effectively when local trades councils assist with publicity, leaflet distribution, recruitment, and speakers at meetings. When trades councils respond to strong feeling in working-class communities, they can report this to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) at regional and national levels.

Trades councils at county and regional levels

Trades councils can combine within one or more local government areas to form a delegate-based county association (CA), which meets to co-ordinate campaign and solidarity work across that wider area. Trades councils can also send delegates to regional TUC meetings and conferences, either directly or via their CA, and may have seats on the Executive Committee of regional TUCs.

Trades councils at national level

There are about 150 trades councils in England and Wales, and about 25 county associations. These are represented nationally by the TUC Joint Consultative Committee (TUCJCC), which has nine elected trades council delegates and meets with members of the TUC General Council six times a year. There are also trades councils in Scotland and Ireland that have links with the TUC and their own national TUCs.

Trades councils conference

This is held annually and consists of delegates from local TCs and CAs. Conference discusses a report from the TUCJCC, motions relevant to the movement, current campaigns and new programme of work ideas via conference workshops. Conference selects a single motion for the TUC annual Congress, and elects a delegate to move that motion.

Is your trade union branch affiliated?

Just as all unions are affiliated to the TUC at regional or national level, all trade union branches should affiliate to, send delegates to and play their full part in their local trades council. For details of local meetings, current campaigns and affiliation fees please contact your local council.

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LESE Trade Union Councils

There are nearly 60 trades councils in the London, East & South East (LESE) region with new ones being formed. The relentless work offered by Trade Union Council members and supporters can never be underestimated.

TUC LESE themed Trades Council Conference is held annually and promotes the voice of workers and the value of trade unions.

SERTUC - Trades Union Congress

TUC LESE Trades Council Campaigning and Events   


TUC LESE Meeting Code of Conduct

The TUC is committed to organising activities at which everyone can participate in an inclusive, respectful and safe environment. The TUC has zero tolerance for any type of harassment, including sexual harassment. Aggressive, offensive, intimidatory, disrespectful or unacceptable behaviour or comments will not be tolerated. This supports the commitment set out in the TUC’s rules to promote equality for all and to eliminate all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination. This policy applies to all aspects of communication at or in connection with an event, including postings on social media.  

If you have any concerns about behaviour that you want to raise then please contact us by email

If you wish to attend any County Association / Trades Council online meeting please contact:   

East of England Trade Union Network (EETUN)

EETUN Officers

  • Kendra Cogman (NEU) - EETUN Coordinator 
  • Andrew Coburn (Essex CATC) - EETUN Chair 
  • Caroline Hennessy (UNISON) - EETUN Engagement Officer 

Re-established in 2021 (having been first set up in 1999) EETUN seeks to bring together affiliated unions and Trades Councils in the Eastern part of LESE’s region (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk) to exchange information, support activity and develop political links with appropriate bodies. EETUN meets quarterly a week or two before the LESE Regional Council, to which it reports. Currently it is meeting online but the AGM in 2022 may be in person or mixed (in-person and online.)

EETUN Meeting Calendar

Tuesday 16 January 2024   

More information:

South East Trade Union Network (SETUN)

SETUN Officers

  • Alan Durrant (Hampshire CATC) - SETUN Coordinator 
  • Richard White  -  Unite SETUN Chair 
  • Elaine Fullaway  -  (Hampshire CATC) SETUN Vice Chair 

Established over 12 years, SETUN aims to invite appropriate representatives in governance/decision making bodies e.g. Councillors, MPs, MEPs, but not necessarily to every meeting, to discuss issues in the region affecting trade unions and their members and communities. This includes public and private sectors, education, NHS, jobs in the region, transport, housing, environment, business, etc. Lobbying group to meet with MPs and highlight issues of concern.

SETUN Meeting Calendar

More information:


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