Friday, 29 November 2013

Goodbye and Good Luck GFTU


After 10 years' work for the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) in a part-time role working on educational initiatives and European projects, I leave today and start full-time at Ruskin College on 1st December managing the MA in international labour and trade union studies (ILTUS).

Coincidentally, both institutions came into being in 1899 and although they were not linked on inception it has been a great experience to have worked with two labour movement institutions with more recent strong links between one another.

GFTU Annual Generation Meeting of Affiliates, Dublin 1903

It has been a fantastic period of my life working for and alongside some of the most inspirational labour movement organisations in the UK, Europe and internationally.

A perfect snapshot of this diversity and impact is shown over the last week of my employment which started with the delivery of a course for new local reps of the Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP) in Bristol working alongside the General Secretary, Kate Fallon, and Regional Officer for the South Morag Farley and then led me onto kicking off a course for experienced union learning representatives (ULR) of the Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) at Northern College.

The week has left me finishing off the final report for a large, multi-partner European project where the GFTU worked with partners in France, Netherlands, Bulgaria and Finland to devise and accredit new training opportunities for older workers in precarious employment.

Victory for BFAWU members in Wigan
Photo courtsey of John Harris/
As I end my time at the GFTU it is fitting that I can point to the work of the BFAWU as demonstrating the relevance and vitality of small, specialist unions in the UK, as it is this union which fought, and won, the first case of industrial action around zero hours' contracts.

As Ian Hodson, President of the BFAWU, has rightly said, the BFAWU dispute with Hovis in Wigan, proves that when workers fight together they can win together.


What a great victory and message to leave the GFTU with!

I shall retain my links with the GFTU, and a number of affiliates and hope to continue to report on the successful work/action of its affiliates.

In Solidarity


PS May I give a thanks to John Harris for the use of his photo for this item and strongly encourage you to visit the Report Digital website to buy images for your trade union (or related work):

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