Thursday, 19 May 2011

Something new in the British Labour Movement


It isn't often the case that you can always look forward to signs of renewal and change in the British labour movement, but I'm gearing up for the next few days which promises to deliver this in two, small, but significant ways.

First, I'll be working at the inaugural event to launch the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU, UK). The original US-based Coalition has proved particularly successful in driving up the numbers of black members and activists across the labour movement in the States, and in strategically positioning the interests of black workers as central to the mainstream interests of the broader labour movement (

The CBTU UK is a ( is promising that this inaugural event (to be held at Ruskin College) provides a strategic framework for the organisation based on the needs and interests of black workers, not least in the context of the ConDem's response to the economic crisis.

After this I am heading off to Manchester for the 99th Biennial General Council Meeting (BGCM) of the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) in my role as the Federation's Projects Officer.

Although we are a small organisation, we are unique in representing the interests of small, specialist trade unions and professional associations. The GFTU has a history central to the growth and development of the British trade union movement in the 20th Century. Historical background information, including that around our Walter Crane designed logo (pictured left) can be seen at:

For the labour movement anoraks amongst you details of the conference are available here:

The BGCM will witness the nearing of the end of the role of Mike Bradley as General Secretary of the GFTU and the election of a new President who will take the place of Joe Marino, who has also retired from his role as General Secretary of the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU). The conference is a pivotal moment in the history of the GFTU as it will vote on a new mechanism to elect the new GS.

From a personal perspective I would argue that small, specialist trade unions are vital to the health and vigour of labour movements globally, and so the future role of the GFTU is a key aspect of the debate around union revitalisation in the UK.

I am looking forward to being with a large, diverse range of trade union sisters and brothers over the next few days and any comments/questions about this work is, as ever, welcome.

In Solidarity



John Clements said...

Hi Ian,

Had hoped to see you in Manchester at the GFTU conference but had to change my plans at the last minute - hope we can catch up soon.

Take care.


Ian Manborde said...

Thanks John,

The best way to follow the US developments is either via AFL-CIO, SEIU web-sites or LabourStart.

I personally prefer LabourStart as the range of media links tends to give wider coverage.



Ian Manborde said...

Sorry I missed you John, keep in touch. Ian

Peter Chigana said...


I am still following the good news in your blog and was taken by the mention of the coalition of black trade unionists.

Is there any chance you could e-mail me direct some more information on the US and UK organisations please?

Many thanks


Pete Eden said...

Two TU jaunts in a row eh? Truly you are dipping your bread in the labour movemennt gravy boat! Only joking (partly :)) hope you had a good time. Speak soon. Pete