Trades Union Congress. Education and Social Affairs DepartmentVariant names
The Trades Union Congress is a voluntary association of trade unions which was formed in Manchester in 1868. It forms the largest pressure group in the United Kingdom and works to improve the rights and conditions of working people. In achieving its aims the TUC has played a role both in many Government organisations and in the political wing of the Labour movement. Such a history has resulted in its archives being a rich source for the study of the political, economic and social history of the United Kingdom in the twentieth century.
The TUC is governed by an annual Congress at which representatives of affiliated trade unions meet to determine policy and to elect the executive body of the organisation. Between 1869 and 1921, the executive work of the Congress was carried out by the Parliamentary Committee. In 1920, the Committee was composed of sixteen members who dealt with a relatively narrow range of labour affairs. Changes in society during the First World War led to a widening of the TUC's functions and consequently the formation of the General Council in 1921, which was composed of a representative sample of trade unionists. The General Council is assisted by a number of committees, including Finance and General Purposes, Disputes, Education, Organisation, Social Insurance, International, Economic and Production. These in turn are served by departments, the number and nature of which varies according to the needs and priorities of the time. The responsibility for the everyday work of the General Council lies with the General Secretary who is assisted by a Deputy General Secretary and one or two Assistant General Secretaries.
In the regions, the TUC is organised into Regional Councils which cover England and Wales. Trade union activity in Scotland and Northern Ireland is co-ordinated by the Scottish TUC and the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, both of which are separate organisations with close working relationships with the TUC. At a local level branches of affiliated trade unions unite to form trades councils.
Reference: Ross M. Martin, TUC: The growth of a pressure group, 1868-1976 (Oxford, 1980).
From the guide to the Papers of the Trades Union Congress, 1920-1987, (Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick Library)
George Woodcock (1904-1979) was born at Bamber Bridge, Lancashire and was the son of a cotton weaver. When he was twelve he started spending half his time working in a cotton mill and the other half going to school and by the age of 13 he was working at the mill full-time. His original ambition was to be a professional footballer for Preston North End but serious illness ruled this out. He won a TUC scholarship to Ruskin College, Oxford in 1929, moving to New College, Oxford in 1931 where he earned a first in philosophy, politics and economics. He joined the TUC in 1936 as head of the research and economic department, being recruited by the General Secretary Walter Citrine. He was Assistant General Secretary, 1947-1960 and General Secretary, 1960-1969 taking over from Vincent Tewson. In 1967 he was made a member of the Privy Council and declined a peerage in 1970. He was a member of various commissions including the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations (the Donovan Commission) and the Commission on Legal Procedures to deal with Terrorist Activities in Northern Ireland (Diplock Commission). Woodcock was also chairman of the Commission on Industrial Relations, 1969-1971 resigning after the introduction of the Industrial Relations Act by the Heath government. Woodcock lived for many years in Epsom where his wife was a magistrate, councillor, alderman, and mayor.
Reference: Geoffrey Goodman, Woodcock, George (1904-1979)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31854, accessed 23 Sept 2005]
From the guide to the A Catalogue of the Papers of George Woodcock, 1919-1978, (Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick Library)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Strikes and lockouts Great Britain|
|Industrial relations Great Britain|
|Coal miners--Labor unions|
|Arbitration, Industrial Great Britain|
|Capitalism Great Britain|
|Labor unions Great Britain|
|Collective bargaining Great Britain|
|Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining|
|Working class Great Britain|
|Trade associations Great Britain|
|Economics Great Britain|
|Labor laws and legislation Great Britain|
|Work environment Great Britain|
|Finance, Public--Great Britain|
|International labor activities|