Day School, October 25, Press Report
An enjoyable and educational day was had by all those attending the Berwick & District Trades Union Council annual Day School on Saturday 25th October, which was held at The Granary on Bridge Street. We were pleased to welcome faces both familiar and new from around the country, with attendees travelling from Edinburgh, Durham and even Peterborough to attend, in addition to a gathering of locals.
The day was divided into two sessions, with the morning welcoming speaker Dave Lyddon to talk us through the history of Trade Unions, and in the afternoon John Stirling on the future of Trade Unions.
Dave Lyddon is a retired senior lecturer in industrial relations from Keele University, who had previously attended the Day School in 2003 to discuss Health and Safety in the workplace. This time he began by giving a short history on the consolidation of Trade Unions, before going on to discuss the three doctrines of Trade Unionism identified by the Webbs, namely mutual insurance, collective bargaining and legal enactment. He went on to outline how these doctrines have been employed by workers to achieve better pay and conditions in the workplace. After a short break for coffee, Dave returned to discuss the changing and enduring nature of Trade Unions, with specific reference to those Unions that encompass civil servants and educators. With a number of audience members involved in these fields, the topic was particularly engaging.
A break for lunch allowed further discussion of the morning’s topics, before we congregated once again for the afternoon session with John Stirling, an associate lecturer at Newcastle University and Ruskin College.
John began by asking the audience why we were here, before suggesting it was we wanted to engage with each other and change the world for the better. Whilst he noted that trade unions have suffered from falling membership, he remains positive that they are an effective method of achieving positive change, and in order to do so we need to campaign both locally and globally. John then went on to discuss three aspects of Trade Unionism, namely community unions, European Works Councils, and Trade Unionism in Sierra Leone.
The discussions on community unions were particularly relevant, with the afternoon session concluding with a brief presentation by Trevor Bark from Unite, who runs a community branch of the union in Durham. Much discussion was then generated on the possibilities of community unions, and it is hoped that this is something that can be set up in Berwick upon Tweed in the near future, providing support and assistance to members of the community for a nominal subscription fee.
Overall the day was heralded as another great success, and plans are already afoot for next year.