Issue date
12 Mar 2001

The invitation to the first Congress

The text of the invitation to the first Congress follows:




Manchester February 21st. 1868 .

Fellow unionists

The Manchester and Salford Trades Council having recently taken into their serious consideration the present aspect of Trades Unions, and the profound ignorance which prevails in the public mind with reference to their operations and principles, together with the probability of an attempt being made by the Legislature, during the present session of Parliament. to introduce a measure detrimental to the interests of such Societies, beg most respectfully to suggest the propriety of holding in Manchester, as the main centre of industry in the provinces, a Congress of the Representatives of Trades Councils and other similar Federations of Trades Societies. By confining the Congress to such bodies it conceived that a deal of expense will be saved, as Trades will thus be represented collectively : whilst there will be a better opportunity afforded of selecting the most intelligent and efficient exponents of our principles.

It is proposed that the Congress shall assume the character of the annual meetings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Social Science Association, in the transactions of which Societies the artizan (sic) class are almost entirely excluded; and that papers, previously carefully prepared, shall be laid before the Congress on the various subjects which at the present time affect Trades Societies, each paper to be followed by discussion upon the points, advanced, with a view of the merits and demerits of each question being thoroughly ventilated through the medium of the public press. It is further suggested that the subjects treated upon shall include the following:

1.-Trades Unions an absolute necessity.

2.-Trades Unions and Political Economy.

3.-The Effect of Trades Unions on Foreign Competition.

4.-Regulation of the Hours of Labour.

6.-Limitation of Apprentices.

6.-Technical Education.

7.-Arbitration and Courts of Conciliation.


9.-The present Inequality of the Law in regard to Conspiracy, Intimidation, Picketing, Coercion, &c.

10.-Factory Acts Extension Bill, 1867: the necessity of Compulsory Inspection, and its application to all places where Women and Children are employed.

11: The present Royal Commission on Trades Unions: how far worthy of the confidence of the Trades Union interest.

12.-The necessity of an Annual Congress of Trade Representatives from the various centres of industry.

All Trades Councils and other Federations of Trades are respectfully solicited to intimate their adhesion to this project on or before the 6th of April next, together with a notification of the subject of the paper that each body will undertake to prepare; after which date all information as to place of meeting, &c., will be supplied.

It is also proposed that the Congress be held on the 4th of May next, and that all liabilities in connection therewith shaft not extend beyond its sittings.

Communications to be addressed to MR. W. H. Wood, .Typographical Institute, 29, Water Street, Manchester,

By order of the Manchester and Salford Trades Council,


W. H. WOOD, Secretary.

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