Category Archives: Events

Posts relating to events being organised, sponsored or supported by York TUC.

Trade Unionism at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research

York Trades Council member discusses paper at British Conference of Undergraduate Research.

The British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) is an annual conference taking place at different venues across the UK. This year the conference was hosted at Winchester University and displayed a wide variety of research topics.

It was good to see that amongst the discussions of Chemistry, English and Philosophy that I was not alone in approaching the topic of labour unions. Another delegate held an interesting presentation looking at the role of Chinese labour unions in the global economy. This is encouraging as it not only shows young people getting involved in labour politics, but highlights a shift in attitudes towards trade unionism in higher education.

The presentation I gave was titled Decline of Collectivism in the Labour movement?: Individualism, Neoliberalism and Collective Identification. The title and content was derived from an article published earlier this year in the FIELDS journal.

The presentation was mostly well received. Many delegates discussed the themes within the project as well as their own experiences of work. This included how much the workplace has changed, transformations in the labour movement and individual cases of workplace bullying and mistreatment.

Some delegates were also intrigued by the existence of trade unions in society, having previously being unaware of their existence. This prompted delegates to speak of part-time, precarious work experiences as well as agreeing with the need for trade unions to reinvent themselves for a new generation.

The project of course was not without its criticisms. The research I had conduct was based on the analysis of interview data where participants communicated lived experiences within the movement. Some felt that non-numerical data had no place within the economic statements I was making. I take objection to this as whilst something may make sense numerically its application can have adverse social effects. These social effects are best measured through the analysis of lived experiences.

Another criticism arose from the papers’ observation of increased wealth inequality. Some commentators felt that “a rising tide raises all ships” despite many contemporary researchers – including Piketty, Wilkinson and Pickett – presenting evidence to the contrary. Similarly a trickle down economic theory cannot work when the rich are not investing reflect in George Osbourne’s growth figures this week.

Over all it was fantastic to see trade unionism picking up interest amongst young researchers. It highlights the possibilities of a new and exciting future for the labour movement.

A free download of the original article is available from the link below:

http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/23084/1/1111.pdf

RG_Poster2

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2015 York TUC AGM

The 2015 York TUC AGM took place on Wednesday 11th March with representatives present from many of our affiliated branches.

At the meeting changes to some rules were voted on and an updated copy of the rules will be available via this website shortly. An updated affiliation form will also be made available soon.

The officers were elected for the coming year as follows:

  • Leigh Wilks was re-elected President.
  • Brian Clark was re-elected Vice-president.
  • Krzysztof Rockwell stood down as Secretary. Danny Myers was elected to the post.
  • Karen Millar was re-elected Treasurer.
  • Ian Craven was re-elected Campaigns Officer.
  • Sue Thomas was ineligible for re-election as Equality Officer. The post remains vacant.
  • Sophie Shaw stood down as International Officer. Pete Kilbane was elected to the post.
  • Reece Goscinski was re-elected Minute Secretary.
  • There remains 4 vacant executive committee positions (in addition to the officer posts).

Following the AGM, delegates heard from Labour’s PPC for the York Central constituency, Rachael Maskell, who explained to delegates what she was planning to do for working people and families in the constituency if she were elected, with particular focus on Rachael’s background in the health sector. She asked delegates to take the message back to branches and workplaces and despite needing to rush off for a train to London she stayed to answer quite a number of questions from delegates!

At the end of the delegates’ meeting, I was presented with an award for my services to the Trades Council as Secretary for the past two years. I have to say it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I have been privileged to work with a fantastic bunch of people both within and out-with the trades council. It’s bittersweet for me because I hate leaving, but I get to begin a new chapter of my life in London with my partner so that’s good too. I have agreed to stay on as webmaster for York TUC so you may see the occasional post on here from me still!

Krzysztof