Sunday, 17 July 2016

Reading Trades Union Council attends the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival

On 17 July, the 2016 Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival came to a finale with a march of trade unionists and political activists through the village followed by speeches from Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, Jeremy Corbyn MP, leader of the Labour Party, and others.

Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary, addresses the gathering
The Festival celebrates the national campaign of the 1830s which successfully achieved the liberty of six Dorset labourers who, in 1834, were tranported to Australia for the ‘crime’ of forming a trade union. The actions of the ‘Martyrs’ and the national campaign to free them marks the birth of trade unionism as we know it and the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival celebrates the courage it took to form a trade union in the 1830s and the solidarity shown by the people of Britain to have the six farm labourers liberated. Those nineteenth century deeds feel just as current today, with blacklisting of trade unionists still a real phenomenon, anti-trade union laws still sitting on the statute books – and solidarity among working people still the life blood of the labour movement.

Jeremy Corbyn MP, leader of the Labour Party, addresses
Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival to rapturous applause
The photos below show John Partington (RTUC and TSSA) and Keith Jerrome (RTUC and Unite) during the march through Tolpuddle.
John Partington, RTUC and TSSA, at Tolpuddle

Keith Jerrome, RTUC and Unite, at Tolpuddle

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