The TUC was formed in 1868. It has 58 affiliated unions representing approximately 6,400,000 members from all walks of life. It is the UK’s largest voluntary organisation. There are approximately 136 trades union councils affiliated to the TUC and 24 County Associations.
The TUC’s basic role is to unite trade unions, and to draw up common policies on a range of issues such as employment law, ways of tackling unemployment, and workplace issues. It continually presses the Government to implement policies that will benefit people at work and campaigns on economic and social issues.
The TUC has professional officers in eight locations in England, Wales and Scotland who service Regional Councils and the Wales TUC. The TUCs regional staff represent the TUC by supporting its campaigns and objectives and by seeking the views of trade unions in their region.
The TUC has many links with trade unionists throughout the world and represents working people on public bodies within Britain and at the International Labour Organisation. It runs an extensive training and education programme for trade union representatives, and helps affiliated unions develop new services for their members. Should unions have difficulties with each other, the TUC will assist in resolving such problems.
One of the great strengths of the TUC and its affiliates is that we are campaigning organisations, constantly uniting working people and their families to improve society. You might like to see a list of the current campaigns.
In response to the changing nature of our communities the TUC has launched two websites with the Citizens Advice Service (CAB). One is for Polish workers which is run in partnership with Solidarnosc.
The other is for Portuguese workers. This has been developed in partnership with the union Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portugueses. Both explain the rights workers can expect at work, from the national minimum wage and working time, through to holiday entitlement and sick pay. They also have information about social issues such as housing and health, and guidance about what living and working in the UK is really like.
The TUC publishes an excellent range of books and pamphlets covering bullying at work, pensions, equal rights, balloting and industrial action, employment tribunals, health and safety matters, There are also pamphlets on Europe, New Unionism, the TUC, its history and affiliates, and there is a range of memorabilia. The TUC also publishes reports on the lesbian and gay conference, black workers’ issues, the low paid and the excluded. A selection of the range on offer can be seen under TUC Publications.
For schools there is a special TUC resource pack to help young people prepare for the world of work; for details of the pack, A Better Way to Work contact the Trades Union Congress.
For those interested in trade union history the TUC’s Library Collection is housed at the London Metropolitan University, Learning Centre North Campus, 236 Holloway Road, London N7 6PP. You might also like to have a look at The Union Makes Us Strong- - the TUC’s history online. It has a number of linked sites including "The Workers’ War", "Winning Equal Pay", Britain at Work 1945-1995".
There is also a Martyrs Museum at Tolpuddle, Dorchester, Dorset. The Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum tells the harrowing tale of their arrest, trial and punishment, leading to the foundation of modern day trade unionism.
The TUC also has an excellent conference venue. Situated in central London, the Congress Centre has all the assets that an event organiser could require. It regularly hosts conferences, conventions, seminars, exhibitions, product launches, cocktail receptions, awards dinners, fashion shows, parties and special events, wedding receptions and private functions. We would suggest that you look at its website for further information.
There is also a special website for Trades Councils - Unions in the Community.
If you are interested in being a pensions champion- then the TUC can help you.
You might like to find out what is happening at netroots UK.
For those who are campaigners, as many trades council delegates are, the TUC has published a Pocket Guide to Organising and Campaigning. it contains sections on the essential skills for organising, how to carry out effective research, building an organising team, putting together a campaign plan, campaigning with others beyond the workplace and evaluating your campaign activity. To download a copy visit the TUC website.