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The RCM Joins TUC in the summer of 2015

Written by Jillian Ireland, Poole Branch Learning Representative
24 July, 2015

The RCM Joins TUC in the summer of 2015

The RCM officially joined the TUC (Trades Union Congress) in the summer of 2015. Last weekend the RCM was officially represented at the 2015 Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival by the combined efforts of its Bournemouth & Christchurch 

RCM Chief Executive, Cathy Warwick describes as: ‘…a significant, historical and positive decision by the RCM. Membership of the TUC will bring substantial benefits to our members from both an employment relations and professional perspective’.

As an affiliated union we can set up a stall at the annual Tolpuddle Martyr’s Festival in Dorset. This takes place over the third weekend in July every year.  Members from all over the country can enjoy stimulating discussions, music, comedy, drama and activities throughout the weekend. It is a great event, at low cost to attendees (Friday to Sunday £30.00 for adults, £5.00 for children, £15.00 for a tent). Example of artists include Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbot (formerly of ‘The Beautiful South’); Billy Bragg; Jonny and the Baptists.

The festival music is organised by Keith Hatch who is a TUC UnionLearn worker in the South West. He has been a great friend to the learning reps at Poole, helping us to manage our TUC learning fund and sending us information about events and funding. Our Trust is very supportive of union learning as it is valued as a means for staff to be able to access activities to enhance their wellbeing.  We have two midwife learning reps, one MSW with a possibility of a second MSW coming on board soon.

The story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs is that in 1834, farm workers formed a trade union. While this was lawful, six leaders were arrested for taking an oath of secrecy which was not. They were sentenced to seven years’ transportation to Australia. A massive protest swept the country with thousands of people marching through London just as RCM members took part in in 2014! Their demands were listened to and the men were released.

On the last day of the festival (Sunday) there are services, a wreath laying at the grave of one of the martyrs (John Hamnet) and a march through the village with Unions carrying their banner and more music. The photo shows the RCM Poole and Bournemouth banner being carried on the rally. 

Written by Jillian Ireland, Poole Branch Learning Representative

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