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A round-up of union news from across the South West

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Friday 20 September students are again taking to the streets across the UK to demand climate action at the Global Climate Strike

The TUC Congress voted to support the school students leading the way in calling for urgent action on climate change. You can read the full motion here. Trade unionists know the importance of standing up and taking action when change is necessary. The trade union movement will support the fight against climate change to help protect the planet for our children and grandchildren. And we’ll stand up for workers whose jobs are at risk if we don’t take action to make the transition to a greener economy a just one that puts working people at its heart.

These strikes will take place shortly before the UN emergency climate summit to build support for the ambitious agenda needed to tackle the climate crisis.

What you can do

Restrictive trade union laws make it very difficult for workers to go on strike but union members will be out and campaigning in their workplaces. Some employers will allow or encourage their workers to take part. Talk to your employer about allowing staff time to attend local rallies. A list of local actions is here.

  • Ask your employer to declare a climate emergency.
  • Follow this with a programme of action.
  • Arrange lunch-time events and activities such as open discussions over the climate emergency and what more can be done at your workplace.
  • Survey your workplace about what they think can be done to cut carbon use.
  • Volunteer to be a green rep or encourage others to do so.
  • Sign up to the TUC training for being a green rep
  • To show our government that workers everywhere want action now, take a photo on the day and share it with us
  • Get involved in your union’s climate actions:

UNISON Green Week UNISON Green Week film

Going Green at Work

Tuesday 12 November 10.30am-4pm

City Hall, Bristol

A conference aimed at workplace reps to provide practical ways to improve their workplace and share ideas.

More details and to register here


Our Common Cause

Trade unions speak up for the new working class of Britain.

In her address to the 2019 TUC Congress Frances O’Grady declared: “We're a working class family – and we should be proud of ourselves.” The TUC has launched a new mission to speak up for those who have been left out and left behind.

See more here

The call comes as a new TUC report reveals that graduates from wealthier backgrounds are more than twice as likely to be on a £30,000 starting salary than those from working-class backgrounds. 

The TUC wants the government to: 

  • Make discrimination on the basis of class unlawful, just like race, gender and disability 
  • Introduce a legal duty on public bodies to make tackling all forms of class and income inequality a priority 
  • Make it compulsory for employers to report their class pay gaps 

The TUC says that stronger workplace rights are needed to counter the class privilege that remains in Britain today. Every worker must have the freedom to meet with a union at their workplace. And there must be stronger rights for workers to speak up on pay and conditions through trade unions. 


South West Trade Union Courses

All the courses coming up are listed here

Somerset Socialist History Conference

Saturday 14 September 10am-4pm

GWRSA Club, Wellington Road, Bridgwater TA6 5HA

This year’s History Conference organised by Bridgwater Trades Union Council features a range of fascinating topics including:

A talk by Dave Chapple on the Bridgwater women garment workers’ strike of 1912; Ivor England, NUM, Porth, Rhondda Valley gives his memories of a coal-miner and Communist. John Fletcher, Unite, Pilton talks of Carnivals, Guy Fawkes Processions and popular protest in Georgian and Victorian Somerset; Amarjit Singh, CWU on A not-so glorious Empire: The Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 and Professor Lucy Bland on: Britain’s ‘Brown Babies’: The Holnicote House Story.

There will be a film from the revolution: Bom Povo Portugues 1981, with commentary from Carlos Guarita, Unite, Bridport, who was living in Portugal during 1974/5.

The event, with buffet lunch is free of charge, but please book your place early!

To book: contact Dave Chapple, 07707 869 144

Trade union organising in Tiverton and Honiton

Thursday 19 September 7.30pm

New Hall, Tiverton

Roger McKenzie, Assistant General Secretary of UNISON, will be putting forward the case for trade unions and working people. Event hosted by Tiverton and Honiton Labour Party

For more contact Terry Edwards 07955200369

Take the Pledge

Thursday 19 September 6pm

The Studio, M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol BS1 4RN 

The Temperance Movement was one of the most powerful and visible lobby groups in the country. It never realised its goal of abolishing the trade in alcohol, but it exerted a strong influence on national politics, particularly the Liberal Party, and on local magistrates whose job it was to approve drinks licences.

In Bristol, a city with strong links to brewing and the wine trade, there were over a hundred temperance societies by the end of the nineteenth century.

Alan Clarke is an independent researcher and was recently awarded a Masters degree in History for work on the temperance movement.

Regional History Centre/ Bristol M Shed seminar series 2019-20 

All Welcome! 

Regional Council to meet in Plymouth

Saturday 12 October 10.30am-1pm

Devonport Guildhall

The quarterly meeting of the South West TUC Regional Council shall be held at a time of national crisis over the constitution and Brexit. Luke Pollard MP who made his protest at the suspension of Parliament with his own personal ‘sit-in’ will speak.

For more contact

Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories

21 September – 17 November 10-5pm (last admission 4pm)

Shire Hall, Dorchester

Same-sex love and desire and gender diversity are integral to human experience. The way they have been expressed culturally has varied widely globally and over time. Based upon Professor Richard Parkinson’s award-winning book, ‘A Little Gay History’, this exhibition offers glimpses into LGBTQ experience through the British Museum’s collection.

More here


Tolpuddle drama

Walk-on Part theatre is bringing the Tolpuddle Martyrs' story to the stage in America, and educating a new generation about the importance of the union. There is an international contest for people to participate and write a song for the play.   

More here